Jan 14

I went to Nashville over the weekend; and, of course, listened to quite a bit of music while I was there. It may seem obvious, but it is rarely stated, that human beings are musical creatures. There are others, of course: birds, whales, etc. One may say that many animals make sounds that are musical in nature-even if it’s something that human beings don’t readily recognize as such. I’ve heard coyotes howling, and it was like an orchestra-they were definitely working together to produce the sound being made.

Because we are a species that uses sound to communicate, and a complex vocabulary to convey a large body of different meanings, any conversation about the human use of sound usally falls into a discussion about speech itself, rather than music. However, at the show I attended, it was very apparent that music was something basal, instinctive, an aspect of our folk soul on a very deep and archetypal level. It exists at a strata of consciousness that is among the earliest, the most chthonic. It’s not without reason that so many songs are about violence and sex, about love and hate. It’s not without reason that we imbibe alcohol to lose our inhibitions and fully engage, perhaps loosening our minds so that the subconscious part of our selves can also participate and get its arms around what is happening. Music is an expression of the human condition in its rawest, purest, most unexpurgated form. To be involved in music (whether playing or listening) is to experience a primal component of what it means to be a human being. Because of its primordial nature, it hearkens back to the dawn of humanity, to the period where our species transitions from being timeless, animal participants in the natural universe, to conscious human beings that are aware of the cosmos about them….

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