The Art of Hearing

Every time that I feel like I had a rough pipe organ Sunday, without fail, a very sweet elderly lady comes up after the church service and tells me how much she appreciated my playing. Different lady each time, but it happens without fail. Every time. This odd bit of trivia got me to thinking today – We all hear music differently.

My brother-in-law loves to quote lyrics as Facebook responses. Pretty universally, stuff I don’t know. Whatever he’s quoting is not part of my Internal Song Book. Let’s just say that our musical tastes differ wildly. I still kind of like that he leaves the quotes though. I figure music’s music, and I’m all for the thrill it brings people, no matter what the lyrics are. (Besides, I love a good rhyme.)

Whoops – almost passed it. There’s my point.

My Internal Song Book is made up of the poetry of Lorenz Hart, Ira Gershwin, Dorothy Fields, Frank Loesser, Cole Porter. Our great American tune poets of the 20th Century. Same deal, I figure. Much as I don’t live in the musical world that Brother-in-Law does, he’d need a map to navigate my musical landscape. I don’t reply in kind with my own lyrics, but it’s fun to think about the confusion I could create if I left a response in Porter-ese –

Brother-in-Law – Went to church today. I never sing the hymns.
Me – “I hate paradin’ my seranadin’ as I’ll probably miss a bar …”


Brother-in-Law – Poker game tonight with the boys.
Me – “I don’t like crap games with barons and earls …”

True, he’d probably ask what the hell I’m talking about. But he’d get it. That is, he wouldn’t know exactly why I love that music, but he’d know exactly how I love it.

Perhaps then, music is, if not the universal language, a universal understanding. It’s one of the few things we all get. It’s one of the few things that for all our differences in taste and experience, we understand the love of it.



Filed under adirondacks

3 responses to “The Art of Hearing

  1. Herbs

    I so get what you are saying Phill. My tastes in music are so eclectic and I like so many different types as long as its good. I would so love to be able to hear you play that pipe organ one day. If I can make it up to that part of the world sometime next year I’m definitely making the effort to come by and introduce myself.

  2. Very thoughtful post… I’ve always liked the idea that whether you have musical talent or not, or have a good singing voice or not, if you’re using whatever you’ve got to praise God, it’s all beautiful music to His ears. Luckily it seems God has an incredibly wide appreciation of music. However, I’m sure He especially enjoys the music of those He has especially blessed (like you!)! 😀 He must send you those old ladies with their compliments as your own special encouragement. 🙂

  3. Nice post. It’s often the music that very few people know about that’s the most enjoyable. Almost like a secluded area of the wilderness.

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