“I heard there was a secret chord
that David played and it pleased the lord
but you don’t really care for music, do you
well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth
the minor fall and the major lift
the baffled king composing hallelujah”
Listen – Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
I’ve always loved Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah, a deeply moving song that stays true to the emotions behind it.
I’ve also, long been fascinated by that first verse. A secret chord. One so powerful that it touched the very heart of God. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had that moment when listening to a song, when your chest literally aches as the part of you that is more than flesh and blood, recognises something and reacts.
Music has the power to reach us in ways many other things cannot.
I admire the songwriter – or any artist – who can capture an emotion in words and in melody without a single ounce of that emotion lost in translation. That a man can record and document feelings of a spiritual nature in such a way that all mankind immediately recognises what it is and where it came from.
I read an interesting article recently that said that the ‘Minor Third’ (two pitches separated by one full tone and one semi-tone) conveys sadness in music and speech. Sadness, it seems, has a very distinct sound.
Now, I consider myself an expert on sad music. Melancholic music is my favourite type of music – I even have a playlist. Despite the sadness, I ‘enjoy’ listening to music with pain behind it. There is nothing like the ‘high’ from a emotionally accurate sad song. I think as an INFP I am naturally drawn to sad things, and also as a writer, in much the same way as an actor, I am at my creative best when I draw from that place.
Exploration of dark and painful emotions is essentially the fuel for some of the most beautiful things that mankind has ever created.We give Oscars to actors who authentically play the broken, the mad and the bad, but not so much for the happy, the lucky or the blessed.
There is not enough paper in the world to list all the art and literary works that are born out of melancholy – and we often forget the personal suffering of those who create such works. The ‘tortured artist’ is a term we are all familiar with but we give little heed to what it means for the afflicted. Artists of all kinds self destruct all the time. Some are immortalised, others are forgotten, some are never even acknowledged at all.
There is something about sadness verses happiness that seems more complex. I won’t go as far as saying that it is a stronger emotion, but perhaps one that is a more powerful ‘driver’ of human behaviour. Happiness is what we strive for, but sadness is what we have to experience and overcome in order to fully appreciate happiness when it finally arrives.
Happiness can be born out of sadness but I’m not sure it works the other way around.
What do you think???