Monday, December 04, 2006

. . . play a song for me . . .

Have you ever stopped to consider the beauty of listening to music through headphones? My parents made me a present of an mp3 player the other day, and I must confess that though I have been forceful in my condemnation of the use of headphones in society (and I still maintain that wearing them in public is rude and thoughtless, antisocial and inconsiderate, not to mention shallow and vain) I have found the undeniable attraction that they possess.

It isn’t just that the music is louder. They say that ipods and the like are going to produce an entire generation of deaf children. I’m all for loud music. If you’re going to listen to something, listen to it. But that is not what makes headphones amazing. I think it has more to do with the container of the music. I don’t mean the machine that’s playing it, I mean where the music is.

When Evan plays Les Miserables on the stereo at home, the music fills the boxes that are the rooms of this house, floating in the air so that you almost feel like you ought to be able to see it. When Emily puts on Dylan in her Camry, the melodious tones are enclosed in the container of her car, a secret world that the other people on the road have no idea of. (Unless we’ve got it going real good, stopped at a red light!) When you’re halfway out in the backyard and Eric has the porch speakers playing Tony Rice, you can just hear the strains of guitar swimming through the expanse of the evening darkness to your ears. (Music through fresh air has a charm all its own.)

Each one is wonderful in its own way. But when I put on my headphones, and the Brandenburg Concertos are playing inside the walls of my own head, behind my eyes and inside my thoughts . . . that is magic.


Blogger MullTrain said...

I totally agree, LN. Music is a different experience in each medium you hear it through. Headphones are great for putting on Joshua Bell and hearing every little nuance as you drop off to sleep at night.

Just as long as you don't start behaving like a certain Ipod owner we both know...

Not that you're in any danger.

BTW, your present was amazing!!!


7:45 AM

Blogger LN said...

I knew you'd love it!

8:29 PM

Blogger rachel tsunami said...

very, very insightful. i like the way you said all that about the container. and you're so right about both parts: the negative headphone stuff, and the positive.

11:44 AM

Anonymous Jesse L. said...

Very poetic way of saying it!

I have somewhat marveled how when I put headphones on when I'm listening to classical music, how it seems that I am in the front row in front of the orchestra.

7:37 PM


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