Musicians picking apart music

Musicians have a tendency to pick apart songs. You could say we dissect them but that is too clinical a word – as if we wait until it’s dead to slice up its cadaver. The attitude carried in the word “dissecting” is a sure way to kill a song and leave us cold. Defending the life of his beloved, composer Claude Debussy protested:

There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law. I love music
passionately. And because I love it, I try to free it from barren traditions that
stifle it. It is a free art gushing forth—an open-air art, boundless as the elements,
the wind, the sky, the sea. It must never be shut in and become an
academic art.

Claude Debussy

We love not a corpse but a living being. Removed from music’s life force we wither and die with it. Immersed and caught up in it we thrive. Even as we seek to hear it all and understand it we are moved by it for music is ever alive. We are motivated by love, not clinical curiosity. We desire intimate familiarity, not alienated detachment. In love we pay attention to every nuance and the more we notice, the more we fall in love. And the more we attend to what we love, the more we know our own hearts.

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