Tonal Center

Michael - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Entered on November 5, 2008

Tonal Center

I believe in spirituality through music and sound. It is in our nature as human beings to try to connect our existence to something with greater depth and a more profound meaning than with what we understand on a day to day basis. In our process of doing so, we are consistently searching for something that will transcend us from the mundane experience of our everyday lives, something that will essentially connect us to something greater than ourselves. Some people turn to drugs, some religion, and some are simply too caught up in the issues of their daily lives to even care. I have turned to music and sound.

As a child, I was raised Catholic. For most of my life, I had always looked towards Catholicism to quench the thirst of my spiritual curiosity. As I got older, the answers that Catholicism provided for me just didn’t seem legitimate anymore. I started to question in depth the foundations from which I had based my whole life. I started going to different kinds of churches to see if they offered anything different that would work for me. I never found what I was looking for. I just didn’t feel comfortable with taking what a preacher or a book said as fact, and just blindly following what was being presented to me. I found that there are far too many different interpretations on what “God” is for any one interpretation to be right. I wanted to search for the deeper meanings of existence by myself without any outside interpretations to brainwash me. Eventually, through being involved in music, I would stumble upon certain realizations about existence that would deeply affect my personal views on life.

I have been a musician since the age of eleven. I started out playing trumpet in the middle school band, and then quickly put down the trumpet for the guitar. Music started out as a small hobby and then eventually grew into something much deeper. As I obtained more knowledge musically, I felt like I had gained a greater sense of awareness about life itself. My musical taste grew with time as well. I went from listening just to the simple tunes of classic rock to every thing under the sun, including all kinds of metal, jazz, classical, folk, ambient, twentieth-century, progressive, and experimental. As I was learning more about all these various musical styles, I was contemplating in depth the meaning that was held within each and every piece that I had ever put my ears to. Music is nothing but vibrations, and it boggled my mind that a bunch of vibrations had the capability to mentally warp me into a completely different state of experience. Each and every artist offered his or her own unique experience and outlook towards life, and expressed it through sound. The way I came to see it was this: every time I listened and experienced a new piece, it was like seeing and feeling the world through the mind of the artist that created it. This realization offered a glimpse to a certain truth. Every human being’s life is different and unveils a greater truth to the overall consciousness of humanity. Music gave me a small insight to this overall consciousness. It helped me to see human beings in a sagacious new way.

Theoretically, music also gave me some personal insight to why we, as humans, even exist at all. Music is completely harmonious, and every single little overtone in a composition is intimately linked with the piece as a whole. Every single part fits together perfectly and plays off another part. I compare this to the universe because it works in the absolute same way. It is sculpted together so perfectly. Every single property in existence serves a purpose, has a harmonious relation to everything else, and shapes the universe as a whole. Whether you are an atom or a galaxy, you are all part of the complexity of the universe. It is all intimately linked. Music is a representation of the deep rooted interconnectedness and symbiotic relationship that dictates and unifies the cosmos. Another realization that I found to be comforting was that no composition can exist without a composer to bring it into existence. Music is created out of a conscious idea and is turned into sound by the manifestation of thought and of energy. I compared this concept to the creation of the universe. Just as sound is brought into existence through energy, the same rule applies to everything else. Something or someone has to generate the energy for anything to be brought into being at all.

Music and sound has intensely molded my view of life. It has put something in me spiritually that the confines of organized religion could not. It wasn’t someone telling me something to be real to mislead me. It gave me a direct personal experience that I could feel to be real for myself. Nothing compares to getting lost in the soundscapes of a piece that you enjoy, feeling the intensity of every tension, melting with every release, experiencing the dimensional interplay between harmonies and rhythms, and traveling with the melodies as they weave in and out of the tonal center. I can’t get that feeling anywhere else. It makes me feel connected to something much greater than myself and helps me to realize that there is more to life than the petty little tasks of the every day existence. I know most people don’t take music as seriously as I do, but almost everyone has some kind of personal connection to the music that they choose to listen to. Music provides an escape and a certain level of enjoyment to just about every human on the planet, regardless of race, nationality, or belief system. To me, music goes a little deeper. It provides me with lucid clarity, a much deeper understanding of who I am, and offers me new ways to looking at life. Music has really given me this kind of tonal center that I can go to when I need an answer to something in life. I believe in spirituality through music and sound.