Curiously for all the years of logic and analysis of every last detail of existence, I never questioned musics effects on me. Music for me, like reading, was an inexpensive and nearly effortless way to get away, and yes, it is extremely cathartic in nature. No matter what I'm doing, or when I'm doing it, music always has a place in my life.
More than simply notes made from instruments, there is ALWAYS a vast and powerful amount of emotion poured into music from the artist. Regardless of what their instrument is, from Voice to woodwinds, strings, brass, keys whatever, it is almost impossible for music to lack feelings expressed. From the subtle nuances of how notes are struck, plucked, slid, blown or sung, to the power as well, there are as many ways to convey emotion in music as in any other form of expression.
For me, music IS emotion. Art is expression is life and the living of it!
I have found music to be, like any form of expression, devoid of gender until an artist takes it, shapes it and imparts his or her soul into the work. No two performances identical from event to event, artist to artist. Some songs are also expressions of the soul of a person, gender and all. There are two songs by two different artists that say quite literally exactly the same thing, in two completely different ways. One very male in thinking, expression and nuance, one very female. Regardless of what kind of music one likes, these two songs can be enjoyed by anyone and represent the same thing;
Clint Blacks "State of mind" refrain;
"Ain't it funny how a melody can bring back a memory
Take you to another place in time
Completely change your state of mind
It can make a right from a wrong, it can make you fall in love
It can get you singin' along
Chase the clouds away and make the sun shine above
A melody can bring back a memory
Take you to another place in time
Completely change your state of mind"
Trisha Yearwoods "The Song Remembers When" refrain;
I guess somethin' must have happened
And we must have said goodbye
And my heart must have been broken
Though I can't recall just why
The song remembers when
Well, for all the miles between us
And for all the time that's passed
You would think I haven't gotten very far
And I hope my hasty heart
Will forgive me just this once
If I stop to wonder how on earth you are
But that's just a lot of water
Underneath a bridge I burned
And there's no use in backtrackin'
Around corners I have turned
Still I guess some things we bury
Are just bound to rise again
For even if the whole world has forgotten
The song remembers when
Yeah, and even if the whole world has forgotten
The song remembers when . . .
Each of these songs are powerful, beautiful in their own way and very much gender oriented. Choice of words, the expression of nearly identical concepts, passion, feeling and the soul of the artist and his/her respective gender woven together to say something. Men can, and typically do, avoid direct connection to detailed concepts, saving them the pain attached to specific events. This tendency toward generalization, compression, avoidance, and a refusal to directly touch a feeling connected to a memory flavor Clints wonderful song. Trisha on the other hand, takes out entire memories, the feelings connected to them and shares, in great detail the depth, the power of the memories in a fashion that almost any feeling creature can relate to. Curiously though (big shock) what little demographics I've gathered on the two pieces indicate a decided preference for Clint's song by men, and Trisha's song by women. Mind this is from direct observation of both artists in a number of venues in different parts of the country at different times. So there is, in my humble opine a distinct gender to music and it's not always female.
I've happily seen many artists in concert many times over the years, many of them every chance I can. The Dead, Moody Blues, Peter, Paul and Mary, Trisha Yearwood, Clint Black, I could go on for days listing the artists and concerts I've seen time and again, each time a treat, each time different.
"What is she talking about and what does that have to do with Karyn's post" I can almost hear you thinking from here.
Women not only experience things differently in the way we sense the universe, but how it all get stored and put away in our head is different. Well, maybe not different, but expanded? We connect things, one to another, our memories are almost referencial, as in they refer to each other and themselves. A sight, sound, smell, taste, texture, everything is connected to everything else. Walk up behind me, cover my eyes, and hold some Fruit Loops under my nose and I'll start talking about the rescued Robin that stayed with us when I was a kid. Swear to god. Just the smell alone. Mind you to this day I love Fruit Loops, but there are so many memories "attached" to the them that take me to another place and time.
The smell of sweet and sour chicken takes me 40 years back in time to "Ho Yen" a great chinese restaurant in Danbury CT that I first went to as a newborn in a car seat. And to a date I had there may years later with Pat. To how red I turned when Jimmy, one of the guys who worked there, and remembered me from, well my whole life, told Pat all about how cute I was as a baby. To the new place in China Town, the China Town, in Manhattan he'd opened that I found by accident when I was living and working there. How I walked into the place I heard that voice, Jimmy's voice holler "I know you from car seat!" much to the shock of the colleagues I was there with. I was welcomed as family, treated like Royalty, given the grand tour, spent time catching up since I hadn't seen him in a bunch of years. The business lunch I was trying to have was totally blown, here I am in a suit trying tobe serious and my crazy, but much loved uncle Jimmy was doting over me and telling all these people I worked with about my whole life...
In the immortal words of Phil Hartman "Ah... Good times... Good times..."
Yup, all that from just the smell of decent sweet and sour chicken.
Forever changing senses? Oh yeah, and the memories to go with...