Words are powerful.
Whether they be spoken, written or expressed in song, words evoke a range of emotions.
Happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, excitement, wanderlust, calmness, a sense of peace or even agitation and restlessness.
So many emotions, with just a few words.
But they need to be the right words, in order to evoke the desired emotion.
Words can call forth memories, reminding us of better times, or perhaps of sadness.
Yet the power of words is sometimes lost.
Lost in translation perhaps or beyond the understanding of the audience.
You see, in order for the words to be powerful enough to evoke the range of emotions, they first must be understood. If the words are too complex for the reader (or listener) then the power of them is lost. If the words are not in the language of the reader, then again, their power is lost.
Music however, is different. Music is a language all of its own, instinctively understood by all, no matter their age or language(s) spoken.
The notes, the key, the instruments used and so on, are the words, understood by those who can hear it.
Even the very young can understand and interpret the language of music. Some are more fluent in this language than others, for some this language comes naturally, for others it is something that is developed over time.
Even an infant can interpret and respond to the language of music, through the expression of emotion.
Don’t believe me?
Take this for example….
My youngest, who is now four, has always been particularly fluent in the language of music. Even as an infant baby he would cry when certain songs were played and express happiness or content when others were played. He would sob (not scream and cry, but sob) uncontrollably if someone was to sing to him “rock-a-bye baby”. He was the one-year old who would be listening to a Disney CD and would also sit sobbing quietly, tears streaking down his cheeks when the song “Baby mine” from Dumbo would play. As he got older he became more able to express the feelings evoked through music by saying Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” made him sad, but also like he wanted to cuddle and sleep.
Have you ever heard a piece of music that evoked such strong emotions that you just couldn’t handle it? A piece that hit you “right in the feels?”
For my youngest and I, that song is “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins.
There’s something about that song, it’s a combination of the music and the words, combined with the imagery of the old bird woman that gets me every time, no matter how many times I hear it. I can’t even sing along without getting choked up, which can be a little annoying when it is one of my favourite songs.
The beauty, the pain.
“Though her words are simple and few,
listen, listen, she’s calling to you”
“This song makes me cry,” he said from the backseat as we listened to the soundtrack in the car. All I could do was nod in agreement, because for some reason, it has the exact same effect on me., no matter how many times I hear it.
I’m also that person who chokes back tears during musicals, especially at the theatre. Sometimes they’re happy tears, sometimes not, but always they are an expression of thanks. Thanks that I can experience and interpret the language of music and words.
Words are powerful tools for evoking emotions.
Music with the notes, key and instruments are just as powerful, perhaps even more so, as they can be understood by many.
So when music and words are combined, either for an audience or perhaps to bring out the emotion in the words as you write, music is a great and powerful tool.
Feed the birds.
Feed your creativity.
Use music to find the right words.
Because music and the right words have a power that we can’t always explain.
© Katherine A. Kovàcs and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovàcs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Quoted lyrics © Songwriters: Richard M. Sherman / Robert B. Sherman