Music, language of the soul: melody and harmony

The arts, including music, are the soul’s languages. Music connects with us (and connects us) because it speaks the soul’s language, whose very syntax embodies its source. In melody and harmony we find image and incarnation of the soul.

Melody is the story line of a song. The melodic line is a thread that holds the song together and takes us from here to there. Melody grabs us because we are ever weaving the threads of our lives into stories that make sense of who we are, what’s important to us, where we come from and where we are headed. Melody embodies the living soul’s pulse, contours, phrasing, punctuation, intention and its desire to soar or plummet, to move or rest, to sow discord or peace and to journey out and return home.

For all this, it is the undercurrent of harmony that contextualizes the melody–that gives it its value, its depth, its feeling. Remove the harmony and the melody loses its way, its heart, its roots. Change the harmony and the melody affects us differently. Without changing a note, the tenor, value, meaning and impact of the notes are altered. If melody is our story, harmony is the undercurrent of our story–its living, moving depths, its emotion, its deeper meaning. A story told of a person born in adversity, if told of a person born into advantage, is not the same story.

Music embodies the soul’s ability to weave life into a story with depth.

With the soul, “I” is the tip of a great iceberg surfacing above the water while the great mass that gives rise to it remains hidden below. Yet even if the tip is all we see the character of its movements hint at what is below. Melody is the song of “I” that, even standing alone, in its movements hints at the depths below. Harmony is the song of the great mass that gives rise to “I.” Harmony is melody’s depth, its gravity, its greater substance.

Tip and iceberg are of the same stuff; melody is harmonic and harmony is melodic. As we see in myth, the complex depths of the soul sing their own songs that run as the undercurrent and raw material for the composing (and decomposing) of conscious life. We create music with the whole of who we are and “I” and the depths sing as one and many.

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