The language of Music

People differ in the depth and clarity of their perception of music. Some perceive its humanity, some perceive its magic, some perceive its freedom. You may notice that when you hear music you detect different moments. Some moments are tentious, others are relaxed. Some notes feel as if they hang in the air, others as if they’ve come home. Some places in the song you clearly feel that the song isn’t finished, and you sometimes clearly hear when it’s finished. You may lose a heartbeat when it’s left hanging and sigh in relief when it’s resolved. The reason you may feel that is because music does work with a language. A language which poses questions and answers, problems and resolutions. Music has a very deep logic, one which in way we experience as more real and direct than language. Perhaps it’s more primal in its essence and is perceived by us more directly. It’s definitely not as specific as language, and speaks to us where language can’t. 

Some people perceive music as clearly to detect the exact words it’s using. By words I don’t mean specific expressions such as I want this or I want that. I mean musical words which make up musical sentences. In making music some humans become more capable than others, and so composers developed. Composers discovered evermore that nature of music. What they eventually discovered was that notes in music are inherently connected to each other in attraction. Some notes are pulled to each other as if by magnetic attraction. Eventually they discovered even further that there’s an interconnected system of notes in which each note has a specific place and function – a unique attraction to the other notes in that system. This system contains 7 notes out of which all music is created. From folk tunes, klezmer, pop, jazz to classical music.  These 7 notes are the words I referred to earlier. Some people have the clarity in their perception of music to perceive in a melody at any point which of the 7 notes they’re hearing. 

In that system of notes, when we play with them, we indeed create questions and answers, journeys away from and back to home. Interesting suggestions and discoveries. Explorations and playfulness. Cheekiness as well. And teasing, a lot of teasing. 

I think that’s why you perceive music as meaningful at all because you perceive that there’s something it’s really doing, it goes somewhere. It’s really speaking. 

Published by David Frankel

David Frankel, from Antwerp, Belgium, living in Jerusalem, Israel. Performing in concerts, teaching music. Classical and Chassidic music on classical guitar.

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