Our friend, Vance Skidmore, posed this question on FaceBook: “What would life be without music for YOU?” I felt my response was going to be lengthy, so I decided to post here, instead of FaceBook. Here’s what I came up with over coffee… my life without music…
Well first of all, without music, life would have no rhythm. That means that the oceans would not wave, the birds would not migrate north and south, the snow would not melt in the spring because the seasons would not change, which means the rivers would not flow, and the earth would not spin. With no rhythm and the earth not spinning, we are not off to a good start in my life without music.
Secondly, without music, life would have no melody. Random noises would never be put together to form patterns of higher thought, nor would we, or could we, communicate these patterns of noise to one another. All sounds of the earth and of animals and of humans would be chaos, without form and without pattern. We might as well stop talking and stop listening and stop thinking because we could not make sense of the sounds without the existence of melody. Without melody, we could not distinguish between questions and answers, therefore we could not ask questions, nor could we obtain answers. Did you ever notice that you can identify a question asked in any language even when you do not know that language? We have melody to thank for that. If emotions existed in a world without melody, then I don’t think we could understand or articulate them.
Furthermore, without music, harmony would cease to exist. Without harmony we are in real trouble. I’m not even sure where to begin imagining my life without harmony. I’m verging on utter destruction envisioning a world without harmony. What does this even mean? Would the world and everything in it only be capable of producing one tone if there was no harmony? Or would all sounds blast at once in complete dissonance? Yikes. At one extreme, in a world of sonic unison, we would all lose our identity if we had to communicate with the same tone, in the same frequency, in the same mood, in the same rhythm as everyone else and everything else, not only around us in our immediate vicinity, but anything that ever existed for all history and future. In a one-tone world, we could not identify the voice of our mother, our father, our brother, our sister, our friend, our lover, or our enemy. None of us would be unique. We would all be the same sonically and aurally. At the other extreme, if sounds were in constant dissonance without resolving, then peace would be impossible. Peace would not exist in a world without harmony. We could never relate to anyone or anything if we could not harmonize with them because we could not simultaneously be different and in one accord. Without harmony, all life forms, big and small, young and old, would either have no identity or be in constant disagreement. I don’t think I can continue imagining a life without harmony. It was bad enough that rhythm and melody would be missing, but the absence of harmony has pushed me over the edge, Vance. 🙂
Perhaps, I am lacking in imagination, Mr. Skidmore, but life without music is not much of a life at all. In my imagination where music does not exist, then the earth is not spinning because there is no rhythm; we have no understanding or ability to comprehend complex patterns or emotions because we cannot form and recognize melodies; and we are unable to coexist with our neighbor because either we do not know them or we cannot agree with them because harmony does not exist in a world without music.
Luckily, we have music, so the world is spinning, we are able to reason and comprehend complex patterns and express our emotions, and peace is attainable where music exists. Long live music! 🙂