Rhythm is sacred.
Some of the more primitive structures of speech and society are based entirely in rhythm and tone. Plugged into the very lowest level of our programming is the constant and inconsistent thrum of our heart, pulsing waves of blood through our corporeal being. Set aside any emotional attachment you may have to your life, and you at least have this constant metronome ticking away your hours and minutes.
Each moment, no matter the emotional content, is backed by this pulse. To then express that pulse through intonation and instrumented rhythm? It speaks not to the higher functions entirely, instead relies on this very low level programming, our source code wrought in 4/4 with a backbeat. Put me on a scope and my entire being sings with variegated fractals of rhythm and polyrhythm, with under- and over-tones. Harmonics. Systems in balance with some key chord.
Music is important. It is in church, it is church, it is the basest form of expression for sublingual emotion. Even if it is Miley Cyrus, even if what speaks to your heart at twelve years old or forty years old is the same Steely Dan song, rendered through a lens with a patina of time and pain and joy. Even if all you like is what can be played in the background softly while you pursue more conscious efforts at turning time into money, I'm with you.
A few of us make music, but I like to think that everyone makes music, with varying degrees of discipline which can either enhance or detract from the emotional content. An autotune corrected pitchless teen bop star can't be held responsible for the marketing machine that locks into their Lego parts; they are merely a conduit for an unspoken need on the part of their fans, fans who create and associate in ways as unique as what makes people cry.
When I'm in the right mood, the right song does things to me that external chemistry cannot. No amount of narcotic deliriant can affect me at the level the Right Song can. Likewise, when I'm locked into a particular piece that I'm playing...and this happened far more with viola than it has since with guitar and various other instruments, including my voice...I can be so completely removed from reality that I re-enter without a sense of time or place; I take at least a few seconds to remember who and where I am.
Perfectly tuned into a piece like that, you're more in it than playing it, more part of it than spectating. I've always had a very hard time with meditation, with clearing my head of things that are not now, but when I'm deep into a piece that I am familiar with, I am entirely outside of the vagaries of being human, and am entirely filled with nothing outside of the previous measure, the next measure, the accents and fluidity of each partial note, the subtones and the overtones.
I miss that. When I see people in an ecstasy brought on by religion, or an expressionless joy brought on by surviving some terrible thing, I see what I felt in those moments, what I do sometimes still get in small, tiny pieces of in the day when just the right set of notes hits, when just the right rhythm fills in sympathetic vibration with the biological and emotional processes that define me. Watering eyes, voice caught in the back of the throat, heart filled, mind clear of things that are not that rhythmic moment, it disappears vaporous on realization, cannot withstand examination, but instead stands as a distinct marker echoing primal emotion too simple for this complex time.
Even if it's a bad German techno take on a William Blake poem, even if it's just the opening strains of some song that played in the backseat of a sun-baked vinyl interior on the edge of an evening in the desert, even if it's a simple lone voice with God alone holding court, even pop or rap or metal or whatever, if it evokes that moment? It is Good.
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