The Effects of Music

When I listen to really good music, I get this…feeling. It’s very difficult to explain, but I’m sure there are others who can relate, so…those people will get it. It’s not just the lyrics…in fact it usually has nothing to do with the vocals or words (though this is not always the case). It’s the music. When I hear a song that was very well written (musically), I feel it deep in my chest. Like my heart is swelling with awe and is about to burst through my ribcage. Does that sound painful? I don’t mean for it to sound painful. In fact, the feeling often puts a smile on my face. As I read over this, I realize that this all sounds very strange and possibly far-fetched. I think this is because I don’t know how to adequately describe this phenomenon. But I think I’ve seen others experiencing similar things when they observe other beautiful things in the world. I have a friend who just about explodes with excitement when she sees a sunset, and another who gasps at the sight of a beautifully lit photograph, and still another who somehow finds beauty in mathematics (I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand that one, haha). Sometimes, I also get this feeling when I read really good literature or poetry. I think it’s because we are reacting to the complexity and creativity of the One who created it all. And I’ve noticed something with music, regardless of whether or not the artist is aiming to glorify God, he still can, despite his motives. It is the creative ability that God has given him that brings the glory. So, I may be listening to music that was not made by a Christian, but it still can cause me to look upward. I love this. God can take our self-serving deeds and make them into something that we never intended. Also, the fact that we are imitating God, by creating something is quite interesting. The creation reflects the Creator.

So anyway, I was wondering if there are any others out there who know what I’m talking about. Are there particular songs that have this effect on you?
Some songs that always seem to do this to me are:
1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky,
The Crane Wife 1 & 2 by the Decemberists,
The Call Of Ktulu by Metallica (got to love metal instrumentals),
The Dress Looks Nice On You by Sufjan Stevens,
Cologne by Ben Folds,
…and pretty much anything that is sung by a Chorus, especially the one at my church šŸ˜‰

There are also some songs whose lyrics can get to me in this way. For me, these songs are usually Christian songs. The one I can think of off the top of my head is Building A Sorrowful Loveliness by Telecast (the music of this song gets to me too, but I like the lyrics even more). I especially like the chorus of this song: “Nothing is certain, but I’m certain of You / Pull back this curtain, let your light in this room / And all that’s true, I find in You / The more I drink of Your word / The more I thirst for You”
Various hymns have this effect too, like Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Especially this verse: “O to grace how great a debtor / Daily I’m constrained to be! / Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, / Bind my wandering heart to Thee. / Prone to wanter, Lord, I feel it, / Prone to leave the God I love; / Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, / Seal it for Thy courts above.”

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One thought on “The Effects of Music

  1. I have a good verse for what you are describing as appreciating the gifts from God and not the motives of artists, as it pertains to those that are secular in nature. First off, leading up to Gen 50:20, Joseph, son of Jacob, is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers after letting them know of the blessing that God would bestow upon his life, that would be higher than his brothers and parents. He goes through a lot of misery along the way despite the prosperity God had promised before his enslavement. Despite the evil acts of his brothers and the many trials he faced along the way; the Lord worked through the sinful acts on all their part towards His glory and the plan he had set before them. Towards the end Joseph says to his brothers, ” As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” The meaning i extracted in context (probably with little more detail than i felt jotting down), shows how God was able to glorify Himself despite of the evil acts of man. Man may mean something for evil, but God can use it for good. I liked reading this because it seams to be a truth that you have stumbled upon in regards to music. Realizing the sovereignty the Lord has over his world and how we can find his many blessings and manifestations even now in the evilness of the world that surrounds us.

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