The most terrifying sound of all

So, in timely manner for Halloween, the Dark Mistresses, Jen and Kristi want to know
which songs are the scariest?
And herein, we shall see…yes folks; it’s Twisted Mixtape Tuesday
So now is the time when all over the hop, folks are brushing off their scariest songs – whether scary-bad (like the karaoke they attempted at the weekend), scary-menacing (the rise in intensity and vileness of the opposing team chants of the football hooligans, sung in time to the tapping of police batons on shields) or scary-jumpy (a la the ‘creepy movie soundtrack’ piece, as the doomed hero of the piece declares, taking a tighter grip on his flashlight, that he’ll “Just check around outside…”).
All validly horrifying in their own ways.
But nothing compared to this:
(Settle back in your chair, and prepare to just stop, mid-thought, as I ask you to contemplate, consider, and fully imagine the implications of the following)

A world without music.

Where in the dawns of time, tribesmen stood in front of the awe-inspiring lightening of the sky from the first crepuscular rays to creep up from the uptilt of Earth as it gave in to axis and sunshine, and nothing happened. Silent acceptance of such beauty, without the upwelling of untidy harmonisation and rhythm which is assumed to be the heritage of all music – can you comprehend it?
A world where stick knocked on stick, and the synapses didn’t fire to signal the noise-maker to repeat the sound again and again, in frenzied joy of the beat, movement following sound as it twisted, stacatto and alive, into the ears and enthusiasm of every nearby human – infectious, binding, identity-giving – hands and feet clapping and stamping in time with the laughter as they tried to keep up.
A past where instruments were never created, and the language we developed was stymied by never having understood the cadence and beauty of the ragtime piano of Joplin, the crescendoes of Rachmaninov, the mathematical perfection of Bach or the sheer exuberant joy of pairing Yo Yo Ma’s violin with the vocal talents of Bobby McFerrin.
A heritage blighted by silence. Our souls never versed in the pleasure of identifying the ‘perfect song for this moment’ and sharing it with others. Our hearts never raised, en masse in acts of worship in temples or stadiums, as we hold our lighters and sway, unified by the ebb and swell of sound; willing participants transported to another world, where all else is forgotten in lieu of the very ‘here and now’ of that sweet music.
A present where we could never whistle merrily to accompany our day, or to show false bravado.Ā 
Where we would be prevented from sending a song instead of a message, because the music says it better.Ā 
Where our emotions lay dessicated from un-use; no expressions of love sung soppily to another. No shouts of joy and participating when the day is happy enough to merit a tune. No way to self-medicate the deepest pains by listening to Al Green or Joni Mitchell, tears pouring with abandon as the hurt, composed and distilled by the notes, wells up out of the speakers and into our desperate ears.
What would we be in world where we could see into another’s eyes and know that something fundamental; something vital, was missing, for the soul appeared faded and endlessly sad, having had its tongue cut out.

42 thoughts on “The most terrifying sound of all

  1. Your son's so sweet! šŸ˜‰

    Keep singing – keep the music. It's intrinsic within us all, and to deny it is to deny our nature. Baffle him with science until he shuts up and lets you sing šŸ˜€


  2. I guess that you never really think of it not being there eh? Music is with me all of the time and even when my son tells me that I'm going to turn him into a serial killer if I sing one more time in the grocery store.


  3. In a world without music, my soul would bleed. It would gush until I stopped the flow by finding another way to find rhythm: through dance, and listening to my heart beat. Then I would drum and hum and force sound back into the songs of nature….


  4. I'm perfectly happy for you to reject the premise. I also reject it utterly – we are MADE with music in our souls. Animals too – there is a WONDERFUL passage in 'Lives of a Cell', by the eminent scientist, Lewis Thomas, which says the following (and I'll post the whole thing here because it's so glorious. I revel in it…):

    ” The need to make music, and to listen to it, is universally expressed by human beings. I cannot imagine, even in our most primitive times, the emergence of talented painters to make cave paintings without there having been, near at hand, equally creative people making song. It is, like speech, a dominant aspect of human biology.

    The individual parts played by other instrumentalists – crickets or earthworms, for instance – may not have the sound of music by themselves, but we hear them out of context. If we could hear them all at once, fully orchestrated, in their immense ensemble, we might become aware of the counterpoint, the balance of tones and timbres and harmonics, the sonorities. The recorded songs of the humpback whale, filled with tensions and resolutions, ambiguities and allusions, incomplete, can be listened to as a part of music, like an isolated section of an orchestra. If we had better hearing, and could discern the descants of sea birds, the rhythmic tympani of schools of molluscs, or even the distant harmonics of midges hanging over meadows in the sun, the combined sound might lift us off our feet.

    There are, of course, other ways to account for the songs of whales. They might be simple, down-to-earth statements about navigation, or sources of krill, or limits of territory. But the proof is not in, and until it is shown that these long, convoluted, insistent melodies, repeated by different singers with ornamentations of their own, are the means of sending through several miles of undersea such ordinary information as “whale here”, I shall believe otherwise. Now and again, in the intervals between songs, the whales have been seen to breach, leaping clear out of the sea and landing on their backs, awash in the turbulence of their beating flippers. Perhaps they are pleased by the way the piece went, or perhaps it is celebration at hearing one's own song return after circumnavigation; whatever, it has the look of jubilation. “


  5. I love how you write and I love how you wrote this. And I love how you used your talents so perfectly to bring such a scary thought forward for this week's scary theme. So well done!

    But I don't love the thought. Scary.

    That said – we had a cabinet minister up here about ten years ago who, when he didn't like a question asked of him – would say “I reject the premise of the question!” He'd then sit down and that would be the end of the debate.

    I think I'd like to respectfully reject the premise here.

    We are inherently musical – as humans and mammals. Even with many missed musical boats, we couldn't fail, altogether, to find the beat forever.

    I mean, even the kids in Footloose finally got their dance, right? šŸ˜‰


  6. I'm shaking.

    I can't imagine and refuse too. The only thing worse is a world with only GOP approved country music.

    great job

    Happy Candy Day


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