Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Communicating Feelings Through Music

As  a little girl I remember listening to soundtracks specifically from ABBA, Queen, and Aerosmith while piled into our minivan with my family road tripping across the states during summer break. These songs quickly resonated with me as they now hold a memory of my family vacations. One specific song that mostly reminds me of my dad is "Bicycle Race" by Queen. When I hear this song I think of my dad driving and me sitting in the passenger seat jamming out with him while everyone else slept in the back.

This song communicates to me individually as I am sure many have a different communication when listening to this song.  Music communicates for each of us individually. Specific songs, although it may be the same song, may mean something different to each of us. As I get older and older these songs mean more and more to me as I have moved away from my immediate family and only have memories and feelings to hold on to.

The difference between what music communicates to us individually and what the song is actually saying is different. What songs communicate rhetorically (what the words in the song are actually saying) is often not how we resonate with them. "Words communicate by representing conceptual content, music communicates by representing emotional content," (Sellnow, pg. 117). Most often times this is the case for me, thinking about my feelings when hearing the song rather than what it is actually saying.

A song I can think of specifically is "Fireflies" by Ron Pope, I danced to this with my drill team in high school. This is a powerful song and although we danced to it as a team, we each had our individual meanings of what the song meant to each of us. For me, this song brought up feelings of a hard break up with my boyfriend at the time. I can remember dancing to this every day with my team and communicating my feelings to this song through dance.

Dance also communicated emotions through intensity rhythms and patterns. Specifically my senior year military dance. I can still remember the intensity and heart pounding I felt at 2:26 when headstands were coming at one of the most intense upbeat parts of the song.

Lastly, music doesn't create feelings in our lives. It represents them. Recently my husband and I experienced our first deployment together and all the challenges that came with it. It was no surprise that my feelings were up and down and I felt uncomfortable at many times not knowing where my husband was and praying he was safe. Through this experience I listened to many songs that reminded me of him, that reminded him of me, our wedding song, and songs that did speak to me rhetorically. For example Carrie Underwood's "See You Again." This song was one I listened to time and time again throughout deployment as it communicated my feelings through the rhetorical message of the song.

Said goodbye, turned around
And you were gone, gone, gone
Faded into the setting sun,
Slipped away
But I won't cry
'Cause I know I'll never be lonely
For you are the stars to me,
You are the light I follow

I will see you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
'Till I see you again

Overall, music is powerful and creates messages that "pervade our lives," (Sellnow, pg. 116). 

Discussion Questions:
Is there a song you have feelings tied to individually?
Is there a song that you listen to because of the rhetorical message rather than your individual feelings to the song?

No comments:

Post a Comment