So plagiarism aside, I’m back on post which (I hope) have more taste, class and thought provoking ideas. As I promised this is on musicals, in a way, mainly how a quote from a great composer can completely change your way of thinking:
The title refers to a quote from Yip Harburg about the difference between what words can do for a thought and what music can do – therefore how a song, a combination of both, can affect a person. The actual quote being:
“Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought”
For those of you that aren’t as musical-obsessed as others, Yip Harburg wrote, the incredibly famous song ‘Somewhere over the rainbow‘ way back in the day. Now, for those of you who know me, I’m not the musical-obsessed drama person you expect when you think drama degree – in fact, I’d say my favourite musical is either ‘The Sound of Music‘ or ‘The Lion King‘ – nothing too complicated, just whole and fun .
Though I do have a learnt in-depth knowledge of different musical and various actors. But I wouldn’t call myself a musical-nut – in fact, I detest many musical i.e. Joseph and His Technicolor Dreamcoat , mainly because I was in it, but I just don’t like some – and to the dismay to many at uni, I actually liked ‘Never Forget’ the Musical and disliked ‘We will Rock You’ – at which point many say “What is wrong with you?” – But I do enjoy it and chose it as a module for my final year at uni – well I suppose I should put years of singing practice to work!
Why that’s all relevant and not ramble is that quotes rarely “speak” to me – especially those that can be seen as cliché. But this quote I was told in my first day of module just gripped me. It had my little ADHD attention-span focused. I wanted to know more that would make me think like this quote did!
‘A song makes you feel a thought’ How wonderful is that? You can have so many thoughts spur from one word and so many emotions and feeling grow from the first bar of a stave (A line of music) but the combination is remarkable – why do you think so many of us hear a song and feel like it was written for us or from our own mind. Like really connect with a song! It’s the combination of the lyrics and the music – the score is what gives us the ability to ‘feel a thought’.
After thinking about this a great deal, I noticed it was true!
Take Yip’s epic piece “Somewhere over the rainbow” – alone the lyrics are inspiring to make you think about what could be. The music alone is also inspiring to make you feel hopeful. Together, when you hear Jud sing that first line along to the music, it gives you the ability to feel every conceivable thought. This was specifically relevant for when this musical first made an appearance in 1939 – it would’ve really spoken to people, the way it still does now, in my opinion.
Though there are more modern examples that are relative, I thought Yip’s was perfect to fit an examples.
I thought further about this and I just couldn’t think of anything else that does this quite like a song. Nothing can connect a feeling to a thought quite like a song. Song’s, music and musical’s have a social value. They connect people, as well as emotions and thoughts between them. It leaves people with the ability to grow in a sense, due to helping bond a connection between feeling a thought.
It all reminded me of a book I stumbled upon years ago called “This is Your Brain on Music” by Daniel J. Levitin. Levitin argues that music was a precursor to language development and the effects of songs i.e the forming connections between feeling and thought (going back to Yip’s quote), play an overall a vital role in our development and evolution.
I’m sorry if some of you may think this is terribly cliché, but to me, song’s are incredible things, and musicals are designed to make us feel emotions that connect to our thoughts. Thinking about this made me so much more aware when watching musicals or just listening to songs while driving – I think this quote spoke to me because it was an ability I needed to harness in myself… So let’s hope it helps me get a 1st!