“Music is the art of thinking with sounds.” Jules Combarieu
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Victor Hugo
Welcome to my little music blog, I’m Alan Bryson, an American living in Europe. Music is a wonderful gift, a universal language that transforms feelings and emotions into sound.
It’s been called the language of God and the angels, or the language of the soul. Personally I suspect that like mathematics and the laws of physics, truly great music comes from those who manage to tap into a higher sphere, call it what you will.
Ludwig van Beethoven once said, “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” When asked about the source of his theory of relativity, Albert Einstein famously replied, “It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.” He also revealed, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.“
Here are quotes from three of the musicians I’ve interviewed:
“This is something that came naturally from my soul. I had an idea of how I would like to play and I just worked at improving and getting my abilities to a level so that I could play what I have in my mind.” Barbara Dennerlein
“I learned by listening to my Mom…The outcome was that she helped me to think of music in terms of feelings and emotions instead of just notes or chords or whatever. It was so much about dynamics—playing from the soul—and I was very fortunate that she gave me that. I’m trying to paint pictures.“ Chuck Leavell
Derek Trucks, responding to my question about his interaction with Eric Clapton at the end of the above video clip:
AB: I was really moved by the way you and Eric communicated when you started doing “Why Does Love Got to be so Sad” as the tour progressed.
DT: Yeah, yeah, those were some of my favorite moments of the tour.
AB: You could just see it, in those moments there was no age difference, no question of fame or icon status, you guys were just so intimate and in the moment. Even as someone in the audience, you could just feel the spirits talking. I’m curious what that’s like for the musician, do you get the sense you’re talking soul to soul in those moments, and does something like that forge a special bond between you?
DT: I think so, definitely, when you’re communicating on that level it’s total trust. And all of your senses are full on in those moments, you’re in a heightened sense of awareness and you’re being really sensitive to the other player. You’re trying to do your own thing and head down a certain path while also reacting. There were two or three nights when we played that and I felt it really happened. I felt good [laughing], it felt great!
AB: I wondered too, you toured extensively in Japan and China, were you ever struck by the sensation that music really is the universal language. You know, when the audience doesn’t speak your language and you suddenly realize, we’re communicating?
DT: Yes, completely. With The Allman Brothers it’s a very American band, and they never really traveled overseas much, maybe one or two tours, but with Eric’s thing, I think it has always been a world tour with him. So it was the first time I’d really seen that, almost the same size crowd in every city we went to. The whole world, it was shocking to me, to go to China, which is culturally a pretty clamped down spot, and you could feel the difference in every place we went, but yet there were certain moments in the night when it was pretty much the same across the board, the reaction to certain tunes—it would be the same in Detroit, Michigan as it would be in Stockholm, Sweden (laughs) – it’s fascinating, but yes it definitely hit me that there aren’t many things on this earth, if anything, that is as universal as music. Derek Trucks
When I’m not listening to music or messing around with my guitar, I love to read and talk about music. I hope you discover something you like here, and thanks for stopping by.
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