Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Do you realise?

The effect music has on how we feel is on my mind a lot, lately. I went to a lecture on humanism and the arts at the weekend, which talked about how, in the absence of faith in gods, we seek to find an equivalent spiritual nourishment in the arts. To highlight this point quite perfectly a choir came on and sang this song. I have to say, it almost took me out. I've seen this song sung at a wedding before and if you look at the comments to this clip you can see people saying they would want it played at their funeral, that it reminds them of lost loved ones, and so on. What makes this song, and the other pieces of music that are personal to you, so powerful? It's something I'm trying to work out.


  1. I really don't know why music has such an effect upon us. I do know that my love of Mozart has got me through many a sticky patch in life. Much of his most beautiful music was written when he was experiencing terrible personal times and some of his most uplifting and happy music was written during his last illness, in his early thirties. Lecture over!

  2. pretty ropey and depressing lyics sang nicely, that's what i always think of this one. love the 'lips though!

    don't use jelly is my fav

  3. Talk sounds very interesting - I remember hearing Will Self talk about this on radio 4 for one of his Lent talks. He was speaking about how the arts have replaced religion as a sort of aesthetic humanism, but ended up concluding that it might be a good idea to give these things up, for lent. I wasn't sure about the conclusion but the talk was very interesting - also published in the New Statesman:


    I agree with you about music though- really gets into one's veins. As for what makes a song great, both in general or to someone in particular...not sure, I'd like to think it's maybe something so intuitive and visceral perhaps we'll never really figure it out!

  4. Haha, Mat! Funny how we react to things differently.

    Thanks Jane, I'll read that now. That conclusion does sound a bit of a cop out.

  5. I think "Do You Realize??" strikes the same chord with people as the Divine Comedy's "Tonight We Fly" does for me or George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" does for my boyfriend (not coincidentally, we each want our respective songs played at our funerals) -- the combination of the contemplation of final things with beautiful music, a touching performance, etc ... I don't think the question is so much "how do these combine to be so powerful?" but more "how can they fail to be so powerful?".

  6. I like The Flaming Lips. I have a brilliant picture of the lead singer going across the crowd at Glasto in a giant one of those plastic balls you put your hamster in! Must post it. I'm totally anti religion but I couldn't do without music xx