Siegfried Matthus on Music
Listen to the music of silence!
Have you ever given any thought as to how great a part music plays in your life? From early rising till you retire for the night, you are enveloped in music. Music awakens you. Music from the radio or the television accompanies your breakfast, on the car radio on the way to work or in the train with the inevitable MP3 player in your ear. I won’t ask about your listening to music at work, but it plays a large role there, too. Music is always heard accompanying manual and technical labors. Before picking up his trowel, the brick layer switches his radio on. And after work, listening to music becomes even more intense. Doing homework, reading a book, the housewife in the kitchen — it’s all and always immersed in music. In the evening, the painful decibels of the disco, music’s din at festive occasions (that precludes all semblance of conversation), background music in public areas, yes, even in the sport stadium music surrounds us. Radio and television are chockfull of music. What surprises me is that we don’t yet get a music CD when we buy our newspapers or periodicals to stimulate our reading. For God’s sake! I don’t dare make such a suggestion lest it be accepted. The day ends with the sleep button on the radio so that music can transport us into our first sleep.
It’s a fact: music for us humans is an existential necessity. Just like air to breathe and our daily bread. In this context, it is an inexplicable phenomenon. However, one needs to differentiate between music that one consciously hears and that other music that is randomly foisted on us and from which we cannot escape in certain places or occasions.
I am making a plea for conscious listening. A piece of music, a symphony or pop song should be actively heard. Getting to the bottom of its message, making a connection between its affective significance and one’s personal sensitivities, totally surrendering oneself to it. Please don’t “betray” it by drifting into idle thoughts and permitting the music to fall into a subliminal background.
Music from which one cannot escape in one’s daily routine, that is the problem. It deadens our auditory senses. It becomes acoustical pollution.
I’m always astonished, when I encounter people in nature, in a lovely forest or at a lonely beach, who are deaf to nature’s wondrous music owing to the MP3 player in their ear. Unspoiled nature is full of acoustical-musical marvels. Enjoy these wonderful offerings in our contemporary world of penetrating musical terrors. Listen to the music of silence. It will bring you the peace for which you yearn as well as great sensual adventure.
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