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Creating music


        Most of us, in our heart of hearts, long to create. The creative drive takes many forms. Most of us do creative things all the time; but take no note. Planting a garden, arranging a household, planning a vacation, or even playing a game, are all creative to some extent. Then there are some who pursue the more overtly creative pastimes, like painting sculpture, writing, photography, or perhaps the playing of a musical instrument. Actually, anything from metal work, to cooking can be a creative art form, when pursued in a certain fashion and at a certain level of intensity. Traditionally, though, the stereotypical forms of expression, which we call "art" tend to be on the more abstract, or representative side.

        One of the more satisfying, and obsessively pursued artistic forms is that of creating music. It is also one of the more abstract. Few things so easily and directly touch the emotions. It may be that the expression, and thus reception, of sound is closely linked with our emotional selves, and that this is the first, and most basic form of communication, far predating spoken language. Certainly we exercise only marginal control over our automatic vocalizations. We laugh, cry, scream, shout, gasp, and sigh, almost automatically. Such vocalizations are as automatic as facial expression, and body language. They are also just as automatically, even subconsciously, decoded and interpreted. So we all know, without though, what a scream indicates, or the meanings of a moan, and a shout of joy. We can tell, without thinking, whether a person is angry, happy, bored, or frightened, by tone of voice. There is, thus, a direct link between sound and emotion.

        From time to time, either from training or natural proclivity, a person is able to decode and understand the grammar and vocabulary of this unspoken language, and to manipulate it, to a certain degree. Such a person is known as a composer or musician. It is amazing, what such people can do. By blowing into tubes, hitting keys, plucking strings, or pushing buttons, these people can make us cry, get us excited, relax us, or make us uneasy - all from just the sounds that such efforts produce. It is a remarkable thing, and just another example of what complex and unlikely things we humans are.

        Much of the power of music derives from its ability to touch us in a place which we can not access directly, don't really understand, and can not examine. Even knowing this, and knowing some music theory, can not change this. This is one of the few cases in which knowledge is not really power. No other art form affects us this way When we read a sad story, we know why we cry, when we listen to a sad or beautiful piece of music we do not.


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