The Power of a Song

April 21st, 2011

With a title like this, I have no option but to start the post off with a song:

Ever had a song put you into a trance before?  Me either, but this happened to a friend of mine.  Or so he says:

He was a sophomore in High School at the time, driving with his girlfriend.  He was behind the wheel and stopped at a red light.  He was listening to the radio and the 80’s tune Gyspy came on (by Fleetwood Mac).  My friend says he’d never heard Gypsy before, but apparently the melodious music made an impact, placing him into a trance.

Next thing he remembers, his girlfriend was shaking his arm and calling out at him to snap out of it.  He told me at first he could only hear her voice faintly, as if from down a long tunnel, then it became more and more distinct until he was conscious again.  He realized there were car horns blaring from behind and the light was red again because he had sat mesmerized through an entire green light, staring vacantly out the window.

Wierd.  By his own admission, nothing like this had happened before or since. 

Even if music doesn’t usually hypnotize us, it still has power.  If story is, “Data with a soul,” perhaps music is, "A soul with data."

Every time I hear movie soundtracks I want to become a movie director.  In my minds eye I get visions of what dramatic scenes the sweeping music would work great with. Like this one:

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My friend Keith is always giving me CD’s, he’s a music aficionado.  He gave me one recently labeled, "Music with Immediate Impact,"  consisting of climactic theme songs from various movies.  It did have impact, making me feel like I could jump over tall buildings in a single bound.  Unfortunately, our emotions can be deceiving – often not having much correspondence with reality.  I can barely jump high enough to reach a basketball goal.

But moving on…. several Sundays ago I had the privilege of hearing two concerts in one day.  The first was from Mike, a college friend I caught up with whom I hadn’t seen in six years.  Apparently, these days Mike is into guitars.  He demonstrated how his amplifiers can shake his house.  Impressive.  I covered my ears.  Then I asked him to give me a concert, and the ensuing fancy picking made me quite envious.  From Pink Floyd to Jimmi Hendrix to Led Zeppelin, the only song I recognized was an old Johnny Cash tune, Folsom River Blues (oddly enough).  His music made my emotions swing from joyful to melancholy.

Then that evening I went to hear the Calvary Baptist a Cappella choir.  I know several folks in that choir, including (incidentally) my younger brother Joe.  Quite the contrast from what I’d heard earlier.  From over-charged electric guitars to pure voices without even microphones.  This service was worshipful, majestic, uplifting.  The lyrics were sharp and distinct, the dynamics lofty and intentional.  The all-male renditions nearly spooky in their tight harmonies.  My thoughts were lifted to God and my emotions were calmed and refreshed.  All was well.  I even started feeling sleepy.

So, here’s my point in all this: The power of music is that it can affect the emotions of a soul. 

Ever notice how music can only affect the living, not the dead?  Cranking up the stereo in a car won’t get the car excited, just the driver.

Speaking of cars, today a co-worker showed me pictures of a friends’ antique vehicle that was in perfect condition, like brand new.  I figured it must have been restored, but no, apparently it had just been kept in a garage for 40 years! 

The thought immediately struck me, "I wonder what I’d look like if they locked me in a garage for 40 years?"  Like new?  Probably not.  But poor car, all its’ friends are probably dead now…

Maybe I should quit writing, this is getting zany.

5 Responses to “The Power of a Song”

  1. Mary Says:

    Wow. That was sort of all over the place…but in a good, funny way. :) Really? It sounds like your friend’s “trance” was a seizure that was timed perfectly with the playing of that song.

  2. nick Says:

    …..are you skeptical about the power of Gypsy, my dear sister……?

    little do you know I only told 1/3rd of the story. the other 2/3rds parts (the most intriguing parts, the parts which would give you chills, the parts too electrifying for print, and the parts that would convince and dumbfound you) I left out.

    remind me later. i’ll tell you sometime.

  3. Amanda Says:

    Hmmm… My first reaction to your friend’s “trance” was the same as Mary’s. But now your reply, about the other 2/3, has me curious.

    I find it… fascinating (even providential) that you posted about this topic.
    A friend and I were recently discussing this same basic thing. For me, music is a language, a way in which I communicate (especially with God).
    Ephesians 5:19 – “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…”

    I love music!! I can’t imagine life without it. :)

  4. Danny Says:

    I will hope that Keith continues to give you inspiring music in order that you will write me a decent script!

  5. Three Point Oh (Aka 3.0) Says:

    great song selection choice 😀

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