This is simple. It can be made complex and often is - infinitely so. We'll talk forever trying and failing to describe the experience of music, but the fix is in and always was. I'm about to write something that may sound ridiculous, but as a hypnotherapist I am sometimes granted the pleasure; music is music for many reasons, perhaps all of which are non-verbal and defined by their inability to be expressed with words.
I spent most of my 20s singing and playing music. I formed some of the greatest friendships in my life, had some of the most memorable experiences, and learned a multitude of skills during those years. Being in a band can sometimes sound like a lazy young person's idea of a job, but for me it was anything but. I learned multiple instruments, played shows all over the world, became efficient with multiple programs including Logic Pro, Protools, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Excel, I learned how to essentially produce and record music, (not that I'm Quincy Jones...) negotiate and choose battles as part of a creative team, when to be confident and when to listen, etc. And all with the non-existent budgets of young artists. Engaging in creative projects now with resources is a joy as a result of all that early struggle.
Those years of training also provided me with a terrific understanding of music beyond the listening or live experience. As a hypnotherapist, now when I listen to my favorite Ethnomusicologist in the world, Alexandre Tannous, speak lyrically about the magical qualities of semitones and the notes between notes unlocking our deeper states of awareness, I understand having slid my fingers up and down hundreds of fretboards thousands of times and/or fine tuning analog synthesizers.
Just consider the emotions you might experience during the course of your favorite music. In three minutes, what a pop song can do... When it's good, and when it's bad. Music is naturally entrancing, and for this we love it. We're mad for it.
This is on my mind constantly and is a relatively ever-present part of my collaborations. Just recently I concluded work with the artist Ben Thorp Brown. Ben is a brilliant guy who I first had the pleasure of connecting with a couple months ago. He had an idea to combine a guided meditative journey, with a memory palace, and a historical tour of the Fagus Factory designed and built by Walter Gropius, pioneer of the Bauhaus movement.
Someone once told me that geometry is "numbers in space" and music is "numbers in time". Sound is generally agreed upon between spiritual and scientific thinking and writing as the generative force in the universe. And no one human voice is the same as any other. A vocal signature is as unique and inimitable as a thumbprint. It's our aural thumbprint. I returned yesterday from Alabama where I was playing and recording with a few of my oldest friends. This week I'll be moving forward with a new platform designing sound experiences intended to genuinely, medically heal. There's no first or last word on our relationship to music. Degrading into strung-together thoughts on the subject is the most I can do to retain some semblance of a structure as I slide back into the primordial rhythms beyond linguistic concerns where we all started and dancing was all there was to do.