In my college days, a talented cellist lived next door. He used to practice excerpts from a Rachmaninoff symphony, over and over. Beautiful.
Years ago Bruce and I lived in a subdivision in Crystal Lake, Illinois. The friendly neighbors next to us had hung wind chimes in their back porch. During breezy days, the chimes made their mysterious music. To this day, whenever I hear wind chimes I think of those early days when my kids were babies, and smile.
In Longmont, when the children were in grade school, a large cottonwood shed shade and leaves in our backyard. In the fall, while its leaves still clung to the branches, the sound of the foliage in the wind resembled a kind of rhythmic applause.
In Paradise, California, a pair of owls hoo-hooed to each other across our backyard in a nightly love song.
Living in Estes Park,the community chorus of coyotes serenaded us almost every midnight.
Now we live close to interstates and major traffic arteries. The other night a truck zoomed down a nearby highway. Its speed seemed to send shockwaves of undulating pitches. My husband said, “Do I hear music?”
“No, it’s just a truck.”
But it did indeed sound like music. My brain and my husband’s brain both recognized the alternating sounds as an unwavering drone pitch surrounded by two higher pitches which seemed to hide, then emerge, then hide again within the drone.
I marveled that God has so ingrained music into the human brain that even random pitches or rhythms are collected, comprehended and arranged into some kind of musical order. Wind chimes, coyotes, applauding leaves, musical trucks.
The other day a friend on Facebook sent me a link to listen to the sounds of crickets. Whoever had recorded the crickets had slowed down the the speed of the sound waves. The result sounded like a heavenly choir. Now, granted, the “choir” was a bit repetitious, but my mind immediately comprehended the sounds in an orderly, rhythmic sense.
Why do we humans do that? I can only speculate that our ability for making and enjoying music is somehow connected with our brains’ hardwiring for language.
Both require a capacity to hear sounds while placing beats in categorized and anticipated sequence, translating sounds into meaning, responding physically to the rhythm, and responding emotionally to the meanings we construct from the sounds.
It’s amazing that we can do that.
Thank You, Lord, for the sounds of music!
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before Him with thanksgiving
and extol Him with music and song. ” (Psalm 95: 1,2 NIV Bible)