I have always been envious of my brother’s natural drumming and musicality talent. He learns any piece of music put in front of him almost instantly and can then play it back with so much confidence and enthusiasm that it makes what he does look easy, which really isn’t. Over the years his expansive love for music has trickled down and spawned mine. Through his influence, I have learned that the songs we listen to are much more intricate than just words and background noise. I believe that the soul of a song is its complexity of notes that weave in and out to form what I’m hearing.
After I started learning percussion in high school, I began to notice the vast scope of what music has to offer. Different notes are used to tell what pitch to play and how long to hold them. There are whole notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, and sixteenth notes that all work in conjunction with one another to create a rhythm. The harder a song is, the more involved the notes get. Everyday I would go home and apply these patterns to some of my favorite songs, and I realized the reason I bobbed my head or danced a certain way was because of the beats and rhythms that were being created. It’s so amazing to just sit in my room and let myself get totally enraptured by what I’m hearing.
The range that music is capable of is so astounding too. Rap and hip-hop songs have a distinctive thumping bass in the background that drives the song and makes it sound tough. Rock songs, however, usually take advantage of a full drum set to get not only the dynamic bass sound, but also the panging sound of cymbals, the rat-a-tat-tat of the snare drum, and the more tonal sounds of the toms. Drums aren’t the only things that can differentiate a genre; it can also be the use of certain guitars, a piano, brass instruments like a trombone or trumpet, or even a sitar, the stringed instrument of India, and the diversity of music doesn’t stop there because with each genre there are hundreds of subgenres that fit within it.
Beyond what you hear is what you actually feel. A song has the amazing ability to bring about almost every emotion you can think of, whether it is anger, revenge, sadness, or elation. Music brings me so much joy and happiness, but I don’t attribute it all to the fact that I like a song solely for it’s lyrics or because the artist is a chart topper; finding a band whose music is rich with rhythms that flow like a story, is like the thrill of the hunt. I like to think that music has many of the same characteristics that a person does; the heartbeat is the kick of the bass and the rhythm is the collaboration of all the organs, if one is faulty the whole thing won’t work.
My brother gave me that initial push I needed to really discover music in its entirety. Once I realized that each song had it’s own personality distinct from the rest, is when the world of music truly opened up. That is why I believe that the soul of a song is its complexity of notes that weave in and out to form what I’m hearing.
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