Words with another dimension. The spoken word in its most beautiful form. A paragraph, without any other aide than it’s visual form on the page, has meaning. When spoken, those words can be intoned, spoken quickly or slowly, with force and volume or softly and quietly. Singing or hearing those same words as part of a song often means those words are etched into the memory for good.
Emotion can be laced through a phrase in its sung form like no other. You can hear the voice of Michael Ball quiver in the Les Miserables number Empty Chairs at Empty Tables as he emphasises the line ‘My friends, my friends don’t ask me, what your sacrifice was for’ in a way that the written word cannot. No punctuation mark is sufficient to capture what a particular word or phrase means to somebody.
A number of artists have caught my eye in the last few years for the connection they provide between situations common in everyday life and their music. Corner of the Sky, originally from the musical Pippin, discusses the struggle some people find in finding their place in life, Demi Lovato’s Father has lyrics which are so poignant to anybody experiencing loss that it’s difficult not to tear up and Charlie Puth’s One Call Away reaffirms the value and meaning of friendship. Without the music accompanying their poignant lyrics, I find it hard to believe that the words would be so powerful.
The language that a song is sung or spoken in may have an impact on its meaning to the hearer. German, as a language, is often cited as sounding harsh to the ears. Compare the German ‘Ich lieber dich’, the Spanish ‘Te amo’ and the English ‘I love you’. The English, at least to my English ears, sounds the most gentle of the three phrases, the most affectionate when said aloud, but then again I don’t speak Spanish or German as a native language so native speakers may have a different intuition.
I first had vocal training when I was in high school, I’ve always favoured a more classical side of music but singing has been one of my most useful outlets as I have grown up. When I left high school I stopped performing in festivals and my tuition. Five years have passed and it’s now time to start again. I have realised over time that there are very few people who I connect with musically, but who genuinely does share the exact same musical taste as you? Even if two people like the same song, it’s likely that the lyrics will mean something different to each person. Even if another persons journey is entirely different to your own, the song they sing may take on a different meaning when you hear it.
That is the beauty of music.
So when you next need a bit of motivation, elation or a song which will sympathise with you, hit play on your playlist, exercise your vocal chords and let those emotions flow…