You know, it’s impossible to lie when you are playing a piece of music. No, I don’t think you quite understand what I’m talking about. I know you can certainly play the Minute Waltz while shouting “The sky is green! And my name is Hiffleplushi!” In fact, I just did so in order to prove it. But that’s speaking in two different languages, quite a different matter. I mean it’s impossible to lie through a piece of music.
If you play it the way you are supposed to, music is a language. It is the language of the soul. It’s impossible to tell a lie while you are speaking it, and I was reminded of this fact today. Lately I’ve been thinking about a friend of mine whom I’m worried about. As I was practicing this one Intermezzo by Brahms today, and putting expression into it, I did not choose what feelings went into it. The thoughts, concerns, prayers, and wishes I have for this friend all poured into the music. I noticed it, because I didn’t play it the same way I played it last week. Though the difference may not be the same, I’m sure I played it differently last week from the way I played it the week before that. And this is what’s so amazing about music. Even though the piece does not change, your interpretation is always changing, for the very reason that your outlook on life is always changing. Your soul grows like your body does.
And music is the language of the soul.
What’s interesting is that you are, in a way, speaking the language of two people: yours, and the composer’s. The composer was in some way inspired to write this piece, much as a writer writes a script for a play. The performer is the actor, not just someone to repeat the notes on the page, but to give them life and embodiment. The composer provides the body, and the performer gives life to it.
These last few insights I’ve recounted are as new to me as they are to you. I only noticed them after I started writing. It’s amazing what writing can do to unlock truth. But the point of all this is that music is a language. It’s as important as speaking. Sometimes, it is more important, in those times when you feel there is no one you can talk to, but you have secrets you cannot keep silent. It allows you to get them off your chest, and to do so in a beautiful way.
And if you are afraid someone will hear them, don’t be. No one had no idea what I was saying when I was playing that intermezzo. We humans understand words, but we do not have the ability to translate music into words. It’s impossible. It’s like trying to fit infinity into our minds. We cannot imagine the size of it. But I think in heaven, we will speak in music. Even here on earth, we can still tell how beautiful it is.
“Where words leave off, music begins.”
– Heinrich Heine
There are many more awesome quotes about music on this page.
I wish you all a good night.