Music and life become so intertwined that it becomes difficult to differentiate the two. Music is life. Life is music, and if not, the two certainly teach lessons about one another. Take Jazz for example:

In Jazz music, we observe a steady bass line. Whether with bass drums, bass guitars, cellos, or more, the bass line provides the rhythm. Boom. Boom. Boom. The bass is the meter—the bass is the constant—the bass is the heartbeat, in the sense that so long as the bass continues, the song (our life, comparatively) continues on.

But much like a heartbeat signifies life as opposed to living, the bass signifies music, but on its own, it does not form a composition.

This is where instrumentation factors into the equation. For the sake of the metaphor, added instrumentation symbolizes the things and people that influence our lives. Just as a sax, a trumpet, or a flute must sync and compromise with a bass to create wholesome music, we as people make compromises with the factors influencing our lives—internal compromises that determine the extent to which these factors influence us.

The sax cannot play too loud, the flute cannot play too soft, the bass cannot play too stacatto, as to drown one another out.

Similarly, we cannot allow the influential factors in our lives to take on too much prominence, yet we cannot completely disregard them, either.

Life requires balance to remain musical, and music requires balance to remain lively.

Thus far, it has become evident that our lives have a steady bass, or constants that we know to be stable. Our lives have instrumentation, or a variety of factors that play the background, but ultimately make us who we are. For jazz to be jazz, though, it cannot lack its key element—that is, the embellishment.

Note some of the finest jazz musicians in history—the Thelonious Monks, the Mike Phillips, the Miles Davises. All of these men brought the act of jazz interpretation to new heights on their respective instruments. Thelonious, Phillips, Davis; each was known for his tendency to play notes that may not have sounded harmonious initially, but somehow—some way—contributed to the beauty of the piece.

This embellishment represents the dissonance we need in our lives. If we subscribe to the belief that music and life are one in the same, it begins to make sense why we need stability to keep us going, harmony to keep us happy, and a little dissonance—a little conflict—to keep us living.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s