On made-up songs

Things are confusingly scary. From UPS’s intimidatingly efficient human and technological infrastructure to the underlying motivations for military operations in the Middle East, things are weird. For something closer to home, let’s just think about the fact that the majority of the music that you’ve ever listened to has most likely been filtered by lossy data compression. Bizarre, right? When was the last time your body and eardrums experienced the real-time creation of music? Even for you audiophiles, when was the last time you experienced the simultaneity of a mallet hitting a timpani and its thunderous vibration? What about the molar-piercing shriek of a live electric guitar? I know, friends, it’s been a while.

Our lives have been devoid of the joy of the experience of music!

In my eyes, this is where live performances play such a crucial role. Shows, recitals, and concerts are great, but to really get at the heart of the matter, why aren’t we singing every day? If you have a friend who likes to sing, let him sing about his trombone sandwiches. If your other friend likes to make up spontaneous songs and funny sounds as she walks to the supermarket, let her! In my mind, there is nothing more intimate than being in the presence of the creation of music. Even if it’s your friend trying to make weird noises with his throat out in the cold while he waits for the bus, it’s absolutely beautiful. As humans, these friends of yours are interpreting the rhythmic patterns and sounds of the musical and non-musical world around them. They’re claiming the essence of those worlds as their own.

My tip to you, friend? If you’ve only been a listener, I highly suggest you try to become a music maker. Pick up an instrument. Sing a made-up song in a new language. And hey, if being a music maker is too tough, just be a noisemaker. You’ll be the better for it, I promise.

-Juan Fernandez