It was Noel Coward who said “Strange how potent cheap music is.” Someone else once commented that music is the soundtrack of your life.
At any given moment, hearing a familiar or favourite song can take you back to a particular time and place in your life. It could be the song that played the first time you danced with your spouse, or the classical piece your child rehearsed on the piano over and over again. In just seconds, hearing a piece of music can evoke the most powerful of memories.
Research shows that music is powerful medicine, with the ability to elevate mood, decrease anxiety, improve sleep quality and reduce pain. In short, it seems music has the power to help heal some of what ails you.
Recently studies have shown that even those whose brains are locked away with dementia and mental illness can be reached through music and the memories it invokes. It does not have to be complicated intricate music as Noel Coward affirms. The simplest series of notes can stir passion and also calm as the quote from William Congreve says “Music has charms to sooth a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”
Most of have had a special song with their partner, or a particular tune that reminds us of a happy time. ‘Our song’ was a very popular section on the Simon Bates radio show where sometimes tragic or harrowing events in the life of a listener were recalled, followed by a dedicated tune which encapsulated the moment.
This may have been considered to be over sentimental and mawkish, but it was a very popular feature. Who of us has not cried into their pillow in the past while listening to music wallowing in the self pity of nursing a broken heart?
I have been to a few funerals recently – an occupational hazard of getting older – and popular songs are now replacing traditional hymns, or church music in the service. Personally I feel this is a benefit making the ceremony more personal, but it does also make it intensely emotional.
Do you have a favourite song or piece of music that stirs your soul and brings a lump to your throat? What would you chose to be the soundtrack to your life?
by Charlotte Courthold