Saturday, March 31, 2007

For those about to rock

I love music. I love it so much that if I hear it I need to do nothing else. At least nothing that requires that I think about anything other than the song.

I listen to music while I clean my house, while I cook, while I drive, and while I lie around listening to music. I cannot listen to music while I write. Or work. Or carry a conversation. If someone invites me to a party or dinner and there is background music, I cannot pay attention (to what they’re saying. I pay attention to the lyrics of the song just fine.)

Luca claims he listens to music while he works, but if you turn it off and ask him what he was listening to, he can’t say. He tells me he loves a song but if I ask him what it’s about he doesn’t know (even when he’s been listening to said song for years.)

If a friend asks me to “listen to this” I feel the task has to be done with respect towards the request. I stop everything. I lean towards the speakers. I close my eyes.

I can relate to this compulsion to multitask, but why must we fragment pleasure? Why must we risk sensory overload? Why not give in to the full invitation that is a good tune?

Can you listen to music while you work or while you do any other task that requires concentration? If so, are you listening, or are you reducing it to white noise? Do you heed the lyrics, or just the notes?

When it’s a song you like, how soon after it starts do you recognize it? How often do you know who’s singing?

And, if you’re with me and I insist on belting out the entire lyrics, would you be irritated, or would you join in?


Carol Miller said...

I thoroughly agree. There is no such thing as "background music". Music is music. It requires full attention. Other activities also require full attention, therefore need no background.

Ben said...

Aaaah so many questions! Hehehe. I need to have music in the background all the time, but the music I play depends on what I am doing. If I am writing (and sometimes reading, that´s the only activity I enjoy better in complete silence) I listen to classical music, Mozart or Bach, and sometimes Enya. I can´t write listening to Spanish music or songs I know the lyrics to, I start writing them on whatever I am working on, LOL.

I agree with you when you say that music requires respect. MUSIC ROCKS!

Hugs from nowhereland.

Miguel Cane said...

Dear Dushka,

Ah, but then again... I can multitask. I don't know how it happened but I learned to do it at an early stage.

In fact, I do need music to write. I find it inspiring. It's a funny process. For example, a part of my brain is decidedly focused on my writing (and well it should, it's my livelihood!) but another listens and feeds from the music.

And obviously, I love music. So both come together to me, music and writing (but I can't have a TV on, though. I find it annoying). So I do not think I am being disrespectful by having it on all day long as I slave away with words.

As I said, I love all sorts of music. If you ever got ahold of my iPod, you'd find the oddest assortment: from Die Zaberflüte to The Muppets (doing DISCO!) and from Angélica María to Jefferson Airplane, adding healthy doses of Tori Amos and The Beatles (That is, all their discography).

I grew up with music, and even though I have a terrible voice (the thing neither my sister nor I inherited from our mom, whom has a lovely mezzo voice) I do tend to get carried away, specially if the song is particularly significant to me.

And to close: background music, for me, must be instrumental, otherwise, I find myself recognizing the song immediately and it causes a shift on my attention. I love background music -- in fact, I use it for dinner parties- from Henry Mancini's film scores. I recommend him wholeheartedly, specially his complete soundtrack for Two for the Road.

I tend to have a favorite song playing and playing all the time -- at least once or twice a day. It varies every forthnight or so. This week it was The Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan. I suggest you heart it, in a darkened room. Listen to it, and then tell me how it felt.

Fond regards,


PS: Hello Carol! Lovely to see you here.

Dushka said...

Miguel, right after reading your comment, while doing absolutely nothing else, I listened to The Hurdy Gurdy man (found it on You Tube).

In answer to your question, it feels religious.

Now you listen to Suddenly I see and tell me how it feels. But please - not as background music, eh? You don't have to darken the room, but you can certainly dance to it if it so inspires you.

Miguel Cane said...

Dear Dushka,

I did as you suggested. I already knew that song (from The Devil Wears Prada) and I loved it.

This time I listened to it without any other distraction, even visual, and I found myself frugging to it.

I've set out my day feeling giddy with optimism.

And those lyrics!

Thanks, Dushka!