“Music expresses my soul in a way that words never could.”
I’ve heard that before, but it is not true. I guess it is human nature to look for greater purpose and meaning into what we do, but it makes no sense when it comes to music. (Not lyrics, I am talking about music here.)
It makes even less sense when we are talking about a performer doing another composer’s works.
Add to that the whole veneer of stage persona, and there is no possible expression of soul there.
There have been university studies and books written about this very subject. I took a class in university about it. And the conclusion in all cases was always the same:
Music expresses nothing.
To express, music would need some form of language, grammar that people can understand, and there is nothing like that in music. No set of notes that can express thoughts and meaning.
But why do we associate stories, picture, moods and thoughts to music?
The answer lies in physiognomic perception: the human tendency to apply human-like characteristics to what we experience.
For example, a weeping-willow is not truly weeping. It appears so to us because it shares physical attributes that we associate with weeping.
Music is the same and finding examples of this are easy. High notes = fairies. Low notes= elephants. Fast notes=wind or running water. You get the idea.
Physiognomic perception is not the same as meaning.
So then, what is the purpose of music? Why is it so important to so many people, including myself?
The answer is simple…
Music is Beauty. (Beautiful is not the same as “pretty”…)
The quest to seek out and surround ourselves with beauty is a basic human desire. And in all of the manifestations of beauty, music is unique.
Music is intangible, ethereal, without the extraneous burden of “meaning” or “expression”, and thus, it is pure beauty.
Few things are more important than that.