Saturday, March 06, 2010

There's Music In The Air...

When I was a third grader at J. L. Giles Elementary School in Beaumont, something happened that has stayed with me all my life. I had just gone to bed one night and began hearing music. The song I heard was “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg. I had become aware of this song some months earlier at the Jefferson Theater when my family took me to see The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland. The song was beautiful and today at age 74 still is one of my all time favorites.

But the unusual thing about hearing the song in bed that night is there was no radio or record playing. I was trying to sleep. When the song began playing in my head I got up and double-checked that we had turned the radio off. Ever since that night in 1943, I have enjoyed hearing music in my head almost anytime.

Some people who hear music have been treated by specialists for mental disorders. Not me. I have always liked the music. In fact I consider it a gift from my Maker.

My musical mind can tune in whatever kind of music I want to hear. A good march by a great band is special. Particularly when the band is in your imagination.

Sometimes I prefer listening to classical music so I tune my mind to an unseen orchestra. Other times I can flip my mental tuner over to country music. Also I love to listen to the old church songs that my mind retained from when I was a kid. Another of my favorites is jazz because it allows for improvisation. I can listen to old popular tunes or new original ones. In fact my mind’s ear can bring in original compositions with all forms of music. Many times while driving down a highway I will not turn on the radio because the tires on the pavement play such beautiful music.

There is an interesting aspect of this activity that shows up when I want to write a song. First I write a poem. Then I share that poem with the grand chorus that resides somewhere in my brain. The chorus sings the poem. I notate the melody that the chorus gives to me. Many times I can write the harmony from the same source. In other words, all I have to do to come up with a song is to write the lyrics (poem) and call on my chorus to do the rest.

One day I explained to my sister, Ann, that I can hear two tones simultaneously. One tone is a melody and the second tone harmonizes with the first one. Ann then explained to me that she can hear three harmonizing tones and currently is working on a fourth tone. I teased her that a fourth tone might be the final stage.

Ann said she always has heard music in her head. She never mentioned it because she assumed that everyone could hear imaginary music. I researched this and learned that many people hear music when there is none. Run a computer search engine on “hearing music that is not there.” You will find an abundance of really fascinating information on this phenomenon.

An interesting side note to this story is that the other day, Jenna, my five-year old granddaughter said, “Paw Paw, I hear music in the air.” I said, “That’s wonderful Jenna. Learn to write it down and someday you may become a famous composer.” So I know that my “mind music” will live for at least another generation.

I can hear it now. “Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh why can’t I?”

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Winston Hamby


Blogger Traveling Woman  said...

Hey, I hear music too! Wish I had cultivated like you have. But, after all, I am not a musician and can't carry a tune; so I guess I should just keep listening. :)
Pat Chandler

Sun Mar 14, 02:35:00 PM 2010  
Anonymous Winston Hamby  said...

Hey Traveling Woman...I believe music is a gift whatever way it comes about...keep enjoying was made for you...

Sun Mar 14, 11:40:00 PM 2010  

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