A transcendent quality of music is that though its melodies, structure, rhythm and other components may have an original author or authors, it can live on well past their lifetimes. Especially nowadays with so many songs recorded, music is not only ubiquitous it often lives forever. Though we usually chalk up these forever musicians to be the icons, we have people like Harry Smith who curated the Anthology of American Folk Music which represented early electronic recordings of American artists from 1927 – 1932. None of these artists would be known today except for the people who own this collection, yet their music lives on.
An inherent contrast to music’s foreverness is that it is ephemeral. While it plays, it fills up the environment and absorbs those in its presence. Then once the piece is over, it’s simply gone. The atmosphere allows music to live, to move and to dissipate – it is an invisible matrix which only music and sound inhabit it in this way. Music knows no bounds as it courses through the air hurling itself as far as its amplitude allows, filling up every nook, even vibrating solid elements with its lower frequencies. All things resonate to music.
Such a glorious feature of sound and how it brings things to life, and of music as it retains the legacy of so many talented and magical people who offered their sonic gifts while partaking in our constant orbits around the sun. I am very thankful for recorded music and that we now have immediate access to a near infinite catalog of the broad range of sonic abstractions we otherwise recognize as genres and the like. Though music is heard nearly everywhere and is commonly played all day and night, it remains unique and holds a special place in the human experience. We are truly entangled with this monumental socially evolved art form, one that without it we would not recognize the human race. I do hope that we can always keep close to our hearts the absolute awe that is music, such a rare thing that can provide endless solace and social bonding. Long live the greats and the smalls of music.
Prince at Capitol Theater, January 30, 1982