the power of music
While listening to a couple of instrumental music CDs last evening, the thoughts for this essay came into my mind.
Listening to various instrumental selections can be, and is, very soothing, very relaxing. The mind can be quieted and worries put aside. It may be that regular listening and for a time freeing the mind of its worries can be healing spiritually and/or mentally.
Although most of our CDs and old vinyl LPs are of songs with singing in them, we have several albums of exclusively music without singing by various recording artists or musical groups. When there is no singing, no words to follow or to sing along to/with, the mind can be more relaxed.
There is a wide range of instruments made use of by the various artists to create rich sounds, textured sounds so to speak. One can hear piano, koto (traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument), flutes, drums, etc. Electronic synthesizers are used by some musical groups. Some instrumentals are fast moving while others have a slower tempo. And, since the sounds are universal in appeal, it does not matter if you are listening to Tangerine Dream (Germany), or Osamu Kitajima (Japan), or a musical group from India, or a Native American flute musician. With just instruments, there is no language barrier. As well, there is good instrumental music in most genres of music including rock and jazz.
You might want to try listening to some instrumental music for an hour or more some evening. Turn the lights low and turn off the cell phones to create a more peaceful atmosphere and then turn on your CD player or stereo and sit quietly and just listen. For those with children (or roommates), you may wish to listen after the children are in bed for the night. This can be done easily if you have a set of audio headphones. Plug them into your stereo and sit down on the floor by the stereo and listen in peace.
One does not need to purchase many CDs to be able to listen to good instrumental music. There are various compilations or anthologies on the market that feature selections from several musical groups. For example, the 2 CDs we listened to last evening were Miramar Collection 1 and Miramar Collection 2. Both are from the mid 1990s. #1 has 45 minutes of songs on it. #2 has about 74 minutes of music on it. Both collections feature several different groups. We also have a CD entitled Northern Lights on Finlandia Records (Warner Music Group) 1995. It has 17 selections by various Finnish musicians.
But even bands that are more widely known for their vocals also have done some good work with instrumentals. Santana comes to mind. Even on their earliest albums in the very early 1970s, moving instrumentals were featured. (Caravanserai, from 1972, was almost entirely an LP of instrumentals. I think only one song had a little singing in it.)
We purchased many of our CDs back in the 1990s through a discount CD club. Also, Amazon.com is a good source for new and used copies of many CDs. On Amazon, you can read customer reviews of many of the musical CDs offered for sale. (For years, I had been listening to Shadowfax’s instrumental album, The Odd Get Even, on cassette in my car. Belatedly, I decided to try to get it on CD for home listening. There were not many copies of this 1990 album on CD to be found in late 2009. On Amazon, was found an inexpensive, used copy that was in “like new” condition, and it plays great.) As well, one can search on YouTube for various songs and artists and sample some of their music before deciding what CDs to purchase later.
There are many groups/artists that produce instrumental music. You likely know of some. Here are a few, in addition to those already mentioned above. Jan Hammer, Zazen, Jonn Serrie, James Reynolds, Paul Speer, Michael Gettel. Shakatak has a few good instrumentals scattered across their many albums.
Here we include a link to Shadowfax’s song, Her Dress Hangs There, from the Odd Get Even album. (One of the best songs from this album, Changing of The Guard, could not be found on YouTube.)
As to the power of sound, let me add these remarks. Those who chant the Maha Mantra (the great mantra, the Hare Krishna mantra of 16 words), will speak of the transcendental nature and effects on us of certain sounds. Chanting the holy names of God awakens the soul’s innate love (longing) for God, and helps to purify and elevate one’s consciousness. All I can add is that when I chanted this mantra many times in the late 1980s, I was cured of my doubt as to the existence of God. Now, my periodic struggles with faith are along the lines of sometimes doubting that we humans really were created for a higher purpose, and that we will achieve a higher state (a better plane of existence than living in this miserable world). Sometimes, I think we were only created to suffer. But, I do not doubt the existence of God. (We addressed this mantra in one of our earliest essays in mid 2012.)
Atheists and skeptics may scoff at this. (We have confronted and challenged the atheist position in a few previous essays.) Atheists and skeptics need to stop being slothful (lazy) and start putting forth the necessary effort to build their faith. Atheism is a cop-out and a dead-end.
We wish all readers a safe and happy Christmas holiday/holy day.
We will be back blogging next weekend.