A Bridge Called Music

Published 5:37 pm Saturday, January 13, 2024

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With my eyes on the weather radar this Tuesday morning, I am praying for all. Be safe!

            On another and much more pleasant subject, I am thinking about music and songs that I have been listening to on the YouTube channel on my computer. I’m thankful that, if you are so inclined, there is almost no limit to the old and new songs, all different genres that can be found on that channel.

            Just think of an old country song or artist that you have enjoyed long ago and type their name in the search area. Mash the enter button and it only takes a few seconds and you can listen to an old favorite. You may have to endure a short, five second commercial, but it’s free! I like to do that, but there is also something else that I have seen.

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            Music, songs, and God-given talent can be a bridge from one culture to another. I’ll give you an example.

            The styles of music with which I am familiar are pop, rock, and country. I appreciate the words or story of a song as much as the music itself. That’s probably why I have not listened to rap music or hip hop. I understand how popular that genre is, but, either the words are spoken so fast I can’t understand them or the lyrics are crass and offensive to me. To each their own.

            I love it when the music is melodic, the words are meaningful, and the singer is truly gifted. That’s why I am touched in my emotions by a great song and singer like Coal Miner’s Daughter by the late and great Loretta Lynn. I also found that particular song to be a bridge between cultures.

            The YouTube channel has what is called “Reaction videos” from people who have never heard a country artist like Loretta Lynn or a song like Coal Miner’s Daughter. These reaction videos are called “First Time Hearing.”

            These listeners might have grown up in urban areas. Perhaps their only exposure to music has been the rap or hip hop genre, but they are open to expanding that exposure by listening to a very popular country song or, maybe, some of the old-time crooners like Frank Sinatra. They create a channel for the purpose of making money; that’s okay.

            The pleasant surprise is that when they hear a beautiful and well-constructed song or hear a voice that is iconic, like a Bing Crosby or Merle Haggard, they are truly touched and their horizons are expanded. Great music can be a beautiful bridge between what they have grown up hearing and other possibilities that are “out there.”

            It happened to me, too. As I mentioned the kinds of music that I have chosen to listen to, I can acknowledge that there is much I have missed. For instance, I have never been exposed to opera. I like lyrics, but I don’t understand Italian or German.

            But I don’t have to understand the words to appreciate the gift of the voices. Luciana Pavarotti died many years ago, but is, generally, regarded as the greatest operatic tenor in the current era. I watched him for many hours recently and was mesmerized by his tremendous, God-given talent. I didn’t understand a word of what he sang, but I didn’t have to.

            The emotions that he exhibited as he sang and the awe with which I listened were magnetic. Others were reacting to the same aria I was and, they too, were affected positively. It just goes to show what a broad bridge good music can be. It can be an operatic Nessun Dorme or the country Coal Miner’s Daughter