If music be the food of love …

I don’t have a musical bone in my body. But I can be strangely moved, inspired and motivated by music. Not classical music I hasten to add. The well-meaning music teacher who tried to inspire us to appreciate classical music by playing it to us lesson after lesson failed miserably in my case. I know two classical pieces – the William Tell overture and everything else which isn’t. Not bad going.

Recently I came across a song which was extremely important to me at a difficult stage of my life. It saw me through my mid-life crisis when I realised beyond doubt that I couldn’t face staying in the job I was in for the rest of my life. That song helped me take the difficult step of walking away from the job without having a job to go to. Now how can a song have the power to do that? I guess it is because music stirs deep emotions in us. If you don’t believe me watch the faces of the Welsh rugby team during the singing of their national anthem before matches. Music has the ability to reach below the surfaces into the deep places of our humanity and innermost feelings. Some tunes are inextricably linked to significant times in our lives. For a long time I couldn’t listen to the hymn sung at my father’s funeral without wanting to cry.

Lots of people listen to music while they run and swear that it really helps them. I haven’t tried that yet – mainly because I lack the necessary equipment – my most modern possession is a camera that takes colour photos.

I’ve compiled a long list of songs that I want played at my funeral. So long in fact that my wife insists on having power of veto. As long as she keeps “Running Wild” by Roxy Music I don’t mind!


4 thoughts on “If music be the food of love …

  1. This is very true – music is so personal that every single song or composition affects everyone differently. It speaks to a very deep part of us – I guess this is why songs and ballads were so important to ancient peoples, too. Sounds as if you have been put off classical music needlessly, which is a real shame. Colin always has a CD on while working, and I’ve got to know a lot of lovely orchestral music in this way (although I probably couldn’t tell you what it was!) Perhaps you should treat yourself to an iPod and try running with it?

  2. How very true, music can soothe, excite, inspire, relax, even make you feel utterly content. I don’t listen to music as much now as I used to, because I find I need quiet to concentrate, but I’ve worked with people, particularly offshore, who listen to music non-stop and can’t function without it. (This can be a problem if they’re not wearing headphones and you’re sitting right next to them!)

    I think it’s amazing that a song helped you to turn your life around completely, but I’m sure lots of people could report similar experiences. There are songs that I used to enjoy but can’t listen to now because of the connection I make with them, but they served a purpose at the time and I’m grateful for that. It’s very difficult to understand what it is about music that gives it its power, it’s more a case of feeling it than explaining it, I think.

    You’re very well organised with your funeral, my sister’s done the same thing and from what I remember there was quite a mixture of stuff. I know someone who wants Disco Inferno (Burn Baby Burn) played at his (he wants to be cremated) but I haven’t given it any thought myself. I think I might like either silence or a bit of an organ dirge, but I suppose I should really let the mourners choose the music since I won’t be there to hear it.

    • Thanks Lorna. Disco Inferno sounds good. Hadn’t thought that I won’t be able to appreciate the funeral playlist. Perhaps I need to revisit that idea. Don’t want a long service anyway. Cheerful subject for a bright sunny day!


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