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Music - The Seventh Sense

Updated on May 26, 2009

The Power of Song

Musicians get it. So do artists, theologians, even physicists. The essence of music is at the core of our existence. Many say music is the soundtrack to our lives. Dick Clark himself coined that phrase many years ago, and many have pondered the thought since.

How many times have you found yourself stilled as a song begins, bringing to mind a certain experience? Then this experience is immediately linked to an emotion. It could be good, bad, happy or sad, but there it is, resonating - activating memories and feelings about past events, and bringing them into sharp focus. Just as seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, or feeling something familiar can have this affect, music contains the very same power.

Music is the seventh sense.

Music Is What Feelings Sound Like

Several years ago, I had a close friendship with a man that lived in the apartment below me. One autumn night, we went for a walk alongside the small lake in our complex, and eventually arrived back at my apartment on the second floor . The french doors and windows were open, allowing the crisp October air to enter the room through white sheer curtains. We sat on the floor with the stereo on, and talked through the entire night. We discovered new things about one another, each of us aware that we were entering into unchartered territory.This was back in the '80s when radio stations placed hit songs on heavy rotation, therefore subjecting you to a top ten song about two or three times an hour. The song that night was "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler. We both loved the song; and as we spent that night talking and drinking wine, we welcomed the dawn joking that it would have to be "our" song. Indeed it was. Not often do you discover a new song and a new love in one evening. Even though that love has since passed, I never forgot that wonderful night or the song that went with it. I now hear it every October without fail. Whether it's in a department store, on the radio in my car, at the dentist's office, or in an elevator, fate finds some way to deliver that song to me, along with its memory, on a brisk autumn day when the air is crisp and the leaves have turned once again.

When I lived in Orange County, California, I would frequently drive up to Los Angeles. As I journeyed up the coast, I used to listen to the soundtrack of "To Live and Die in L.A." by Wang Chung. The title song would invariably come on just as I reached Long Beach, the location for much of the film. It was so hot there that I could see the heat dancing on the blacktop, rising up to meet me and distorting the view ahead. As I drove along with the top down and the volume up, the smell of heat mixed with the salty ocean air produced a very distinctive aromatic cocktail... one you could easily get drunk on. Happy and carefree, with the mountains on my right and the water on my left, it was just me and Wang Chung rolling up the Pacific Coast Highway in my V.W. Beetle. Life was good. Almost as good as that song.

I have held my children during times of illness or sorrow and rocked them to the song "I'll Stand By You" by the Pretenders. We all end up teary eyed whenever it comes on. The music and lyrics are so powerful, they provoke an emotion words alone can't express.

I stood at a friend's funeral in high school who was tragically taken when her car veered off the road into a small river. She drowned when she couldn't get the door open to escape and swim to the surface. The irony was, she was the star of our swim team. About two weeks before her death, she said to me "If I ever died, I'd want them to play "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd at my funeral. Her wish was granted, far too soon. There are just some memories you don't want called back with such vivid accuracy, so that one's not on my playlist.

I have fallen in love to "Cross My Heart" by George Strait, and fallen out of love to "Talking In Your Sleep" by the Romantics. I've partied with Led Zeppelin and relaxed with Bob Dylan. I've cried with Country's best and lied with Rock n Roll's worst.

All part of my soundtrack...

Tuning in to your soundtrack

Each of us have those songs or pieces of music that have struck a cord synonymous with a specific life experience. It's intangible, much like our other senses, but still a gift we've been given to enhance our physical awareness.

That's the inspiration of the musician, songwriter, singer and composer. To inspire and unite us using a common element. Stevie Wonder's most acclaimed collection entitled "Songs in the Key of Life" did not happen without intention. Its compositions describe, define and comment on key areas of our lives. The theme that Jim Morrison of The Doors delivers in the song "When the Music's Over", is a message that lived on long after his own death - "music is the fire of life, and when the music stops, so does life's spirit."

Prolific American poet and writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said "Music is the universal language of mankind." This was reflected in his work, as his poetry was noted for its "musicality" and he predominantly wrote lyric poems. The famous French writer Victor Hugo observed: "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent".

Though neither of these writers were known for any direct musical contributions, each appreciated it's significance in the human experience. Albert Einstein has also offered his thoughts on the subject: "If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music...I get most joy in life out of music."

Einstein had the right idea. We are afterall, the conductors of our own symphony. We choose the instruments to be played, the musicians that play them, and the catalogue of songs to perform. How we choose to do this is what makes up the soundtrack of our lives. Play it back now and then. Store each melody on a very reliable memory disk, and take full advantage of this seventh sense called music.


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      Nicolas 2 years ago

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      Slothers 6 years ago

      My view on music is that it's the ability to release the feelings and basic wants of the hearts in a way that everyone can understand without a single word being spoken.

    • jennifer maurer profile image

      Jennifer Maurer 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Patty, what an interesting and diverse soundtrack you have! So glad I could add to your symphony in some small way. Thanks for your comments, and for the insightful fan mail. Play on.....

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      "Music is what feelings sound like" - true! As a child music and art were my only outlets and when art was taken away, I put all into music. It saved my life.

    • jennifer maurer profile image

      Jennifer Maurer 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      SEM Pro. My sincerest gratitude for your reflective insights about my Hub. Also for the kind words. It is why we writers do what we do. To inspire thought, provoke personal reflection, and to learn something about ourselves. I am deeply moved and eternally grateful that I have offered something of value to you. Thank you.

    • SEM Pro profile image

      SEM Pro 8 years ago from North America

      Another wonderfully written, captured essence to cherish Jennifer.

      Perhaps, before the rocking chair, you will honor your friend by letting her soul freely fly close to you, experiencing this plane through your senses, and guiding you from a place that makes our worldly tests less difficult to bear. Free Bird is a song of the soul, speaking of a freedom beyond what is possible when captured in our earthly vessels. As another song says, "only the good die young" - her 6th sense was completely in tune and it sounds as though she was already above the fears that keep us attached and caged.

      Moving for me, listening to that song will never be the same... deepest gratitude dear Lady - you have become part of my symphony

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 8 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      I love your lens, Total Eclipse of the heart also brings back good memories for me, for it was the song that we sang together, 3 of us bestfriends, and it was the last time we spend time together singging.

    • Profmaggy profile image

      Profmaggy 8 years ago from Boston MA

      A lovely hub on the power of sound and music to heal and also impact our memories.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      You have brought to mind many of the songs on my soundtrack. Thanks for the enjoyment!

    • jennifer maurer profile image

      Jennifer Maurer 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks so much, Jama. Means a lot!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Bravo for the Hubnuggets nomination! This hub is certainly more than worthy of that distinction. A wonderful piece of writing! I was right there with you on the coast highway with the top down and everything!

    • jennifer maurer profile image

      Jennifer Maurer 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks so much for the info, ripplemaker. I'll check it out right away. Thanks to you again Hawkesdream...for the nod!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hello jennifer! What Hawkesdream meant was the Hubnugget LOL Sorry I'm a bit late in dropping over to inform you the good news. I was caught in traffic with my hubmobile. :-) Yes, going back to the Hubnuggets...this hub is one of the 15 Hubnuggets Nominees! See for yourself by clicking this link:

      There you can vote (yes you can vote for your own hub) and then you can invite all your friends to vote for your hub too. The top 5 hubs with the most votes gets a chance to be on the Hubpages newsletter. Now isn't that cool? So hurry and read Patty's hub now. Good luck!

    • C.Ferreira profile image

      C.Ferreira 8 years ago from Rutland, VT

      Jenn...Thats what I was hoping you would say was the 6th sense, but I hadn't realized it was commonly referred to as that!

    • jennifer maurer profile image

      Jennifer Maurer 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks, Hawkesdream. Not sure what you voted for, though..? but thanks for the comment.

    • jennifer maurer profile image

      Jennifer Maurer 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Thanks, C....BTW, the 6th sense is commonly referred to as E.S.P. or intuitive perception, so I left that one alone and skipped to seventh sense....thanks for your comments - I really appreciate the feedback!

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Hawkesdream 8 years ago from Cornwall

      This is music, voted for you, Congratulations.

    • C.Ferreira profile image

      C.Ferreira 8 years ago from Rutland, VT

      Awesome Hub! Music is everywhere and in everything. This is right on...

      BUT....what is the 6th sense?