Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Music: For The Soul

The little electronic voice that emanates from this little blue dog toy, called a "Talking Babble Ball" is nothing like a real voice. The closest it comes is to make recognizable sounds that emulate a voice that sort of pronounces syllables to make you think you heard it a say words. Words like, "Good Doggy!" or, "Oh, you got me!" or "I'm gonna get you!" Kind of like the fake voice on the "pull the string" dolls my little sister used to have. Nothing like a real voice, right?

Admit it: you're a shower singer. Or a car singer. Or a living room conductor. We love music. We kind of need music, don't we? Can you imagine life without music? It's like trying to imagine life without trees. Picture the entire earth with no trees. Like the moon. Life without music would be airless and dry and suffocating.

Little Jonathan has music in his soul...not just accenting the fringes of his's in his gut. He gets it about music. This kid is really his own mind and hearing, he is conducting Beethoven's 5th. He clearly knows and loves every note. And it's hysterical how he has, shall we say, a little nose trouble part of the way through. I love his love for the music and his humor as well. Not taking himself too seriously: he is only four years old after all.

So, inspired by little Jonathan, I put aside my usual Switchfoot and John Mark McMillan and put in some Bach. The Toccata and Fugue in D Minor to be exact. It was the middle of my day off, the kids were in school and there were no neighbors at home. So I cranked it. And I have a decent enough system to rattle my windows....but probably not the neighbors'.

I wish the Toccata and Fugue had a more evocative name, like Holst's, "The Planets" or Wagner's "Siegfried Idyll." I wish it had a big name like that so you could catch a sense of the splendor and magnificence of this music. The Toccata and Fugue is a pipe organ masterpiece and from what I understand, Bach meant for it to convey to the listener a sense of dread and awe - as if transported into the very presence of God in all His Holiness. We fling around the term, "awesome" very lightly these days; Bach had in mind the "awesomeness" of God in the original meaning of the term: inspiring awe in the listener. The piece is supposed to rock you to your core. This is best done at rather high decibel level. Like the day I had the privilege to stand right in the middle of the pipes at Saint Cecilia's (the patron saint of music) Church in Leominster, Massachusetts, once. You lose your breath when they pull out all the stops. Makes you weep.

So I'm standing in the "sweet spot" in my living room, where the sound waves converge for the most perfect sound, and I'm overwhelmed by the majesty of Bach's perfect music. Almost to the point of tears, like at Saint Cecilia's.  As the final echos of of the final, awful, awesome chord reverberated around my living room cathedral, I stood there under the full weight of the music, very seriously enveloped in it all.

And I got a sweet gift from God that day. At that very moment, as the final vestiges of notes pattered away, I stood there breathlessly. And the little Talking Babble Ball chimed in it's opinion with it's blue, electronic voice: "Hot diggity dog!" Followed immediately by "Ba-da-bing, ba-da boom!"

I just threw my head back and laughed hard, all alone there in my audio sweet spot.

And I thanked God for not letting me take myself too seriously.

1 comment:

  1. I just laughed so hard! I've had those same empty house episodes before, but never with a talking dog toy! :D