June 21, 2010

Do Not Turn Off the Foreign Song

When I was a kid, I used to listen to music from around the world. It did not matter to me whether I could understand the words or not. Actually, it seemed even better to me when I could not grasp the meaning of the foreign language because then, the voice would become a musical instrument of its own. A voice that I could not understand and the accompaniment to it sounded awesome and exotic.

I thought other people would enjoy the world music as much as I did, however, I found out that there were quite a few of them who thought it silly to be listening to songs whose lyrics were incomprehensible to them. Many even thought of it as a sort of an insult to their intelligence. Whenever I would put on a song in, say, German, they would turn away or start looking around nervously as if something seriously bad was happening.
In other words, they did not enjoy that experience at all.

Pity! There are so many musical treasures out there and they should not be just enjoyed by those who can have the comprehension of the language of the singer. A song is not exactly like a poem which needs to be translated for you to appreciate it. A song does not have to be translated to be enjoyed. Song is part of our musical heritage, not the literary one.

So, next time you hear a “foreign” song, do not turn it off. The voice may be telling you something even deeper than the actual meaning of the foreign language would be if you had it translated. There is a mysterious semantic undercurrent that runs deep beneath the singer’s consciousness. By not knowing what the words mean, you may be able to understand the song subconsciously, catching the profound significance that only those not familiar with the language could catch.

No comments: