Music and words both express emotions. They both make you feel, as well. Together, in the form of lyrics to a song, you can build a stronger connection to a mood. Composing lyrics or music gives an artist the power to express their feelings, and if done well they can convey those ideas to the listener. It may be the closest thing we humans have to magic.
Authors have a harder job. We have to convey everything in written format, which in many alien tropes, is an archaic way to share thoughts with one another. We (and I’ll stick with the English language here) combine and recombine 26 shapes we’ve called letters, and fashion words. We then slave over the perfect order of these words until we have shared our point-of-view.
It’s complicated. It’s arbitrary and yet guided by complex rules. It’s inadequate – words can never fully convey the images in my mind. And yet us wordsmiths fiddle with these 26 little shapes, compelled to share the passion and wonder inside us. We need to express ourselves. We want to connect. We love to be understood.
Many authors write with a soundtrack that motivates or inspires us; others need silence to focus on the words within. I personally can do either, and it depends a great deal on my mood and the mood of the scene(s) I am writing. As I type this blog post, I am listening to Lest We Forget: The Best of Marilyn Manson. It’s fun and loud and I’m (mostly) not compelled to actually sing, so my thoughts can focus on the words I’m drafting.
Today, my mind is full of the book I just finished reading. I’m not ready to draft an official review, but in it, the author had the power to make me hear music and to feel the emotions brought on by those songs. It made a soundtrack in my brain as I read, and that power mesmerized me. I felt music with only words on a page. THAT was witchcraft. Magic. Power. Wonder.
I am in awe of that gift. I want something similar. I need to figure out how to rearrange these 26 symbols in such a way that I bewitch others. I love the idea that if I hone my skills properly, I can practice my own type of magic. I might reach out and touch strangers with my thoughts. I could fully share the images in my dreams and the emotions in my heart. I ache with the need.
Music is universal. Words aren’t as easily understood. As someone who has very little musical ability, I understand how rare it is to be able to craft a piece of music. I’m married to a gifted guitarist who also happens to be a talented lyricist. So I’m well aware that it isn’t easy, and it takes dedication to play something that touches a listener. I’m not saying music is easier than words. They’re two different mediums.
When they come together, though, it’s beautiful. They can exist separately, and they can work in harmony. They can inspire one another, too. If done well, the integration of music and words can transport you somewhere else, where outside emotions reverberate inside you.
Music & Words are Magical!