Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What Makes "What Makes It Great" Great

I've inadvertently turned this week into Music Appreciation Week here at SHE BLOGGO. But I can't help it, and also I don't care. I love music. Unfortunately, I am kind of stuck in the "appreciation" camp because I don't have a great voice and also I'm pretty terrible at instruments. But, I got good rhythm and I can rock a mean harmony, so there's at least that.

Anywho. I'm getting off point.

After posting the three renditions of "Over the Rainbow" earlier today, I remembered a piece NPR aired a few years ago about why, musically, the song is so amazing. After some fairly basic Googling, I managed to find my way back to the link. Turns out NPR has a series called "What Makes It Great," in which a man by the name of Rob Kapilow analyzes and explains how a particular song uses its melodies to tell an emotional story.

In short, every segment blows my mind. Just listen:

I couldn't help but share. I harp, time and time again, that creativity is decision. Composing music is just a string of choices - the artist's craft. But do I have any idea how composers go about making their creative decisions? Heck no. As much as I can analyze the visual arts with author intention, I can only get starry-eyed at how beautiful some music is. Music theory was never my thing. But Kapilow breaks it down with such enthusiasm and clarity that understanding the beauty is doubly as rewarding as simply appreciating it. Each segment is a revelation.

"Words make you think thoughts. Music makes you feel a feeling. But a song makes you feel a thought." - E.Y. Harburg

Songs are stories, and the best songs use its notes to incite an emotion. It absolutely blows my mind that just by combining together what are essentially frequency vibrations, a melody can obliterate our heartstrings and make us feel the most sublime and complex of emotions. I'm convinced now that all composers are genius and all music belongs on a pedestal. Seriously.

Also, if anyone would like to follow me around on a piano and play the accompaniment to my life, I am currently accepting applications. Just sayin'.

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