I've been doing some reading around, and it seems this site talks about a lot of serious stuff, which is totally fine with me. Music can be serious, but it doesn't have to be. So... I'm hoping to keep this light, and possibly fun. :)
I feel like I'm gonna open a can of worms with this, but hey. So be it.

I'm a classical music fan and musician. I play the violin, have been for 15 years. J.S. Bach is about as close to "god" as I can get. His musical genius is unsurpassed in my opinion, and there are moments in his music that I almost feel... connected to something bigger than myself. The ironic thing? He was such a hardcore Lutheran, it's ridiculous. His music was meant for god.

Now, herein lies a thought of mine: as atheists, do we admit to having a "spirit"? How does one define "spirit"? Do any of you admit to having one? Does anyone believe in spiritual well-being (like mental well-being, physical well-being)? I ask this because I'm not quite sure what I think of it all. This is a topic I haven't thought much about. Music has been my church, so to speak, and I wonder what y'all think of that. Does anyone else have personal "church"? Like painting, hiking, reading, etc. I can't be the only atheist who has had feelings of spirituality, of being connected to something beyond this little ol' life of mine (unless I am the only one...). Is it bizarre to anyone that I use the music of a man of god as my spiritual center? Should I revise my thinking? I guess I'll be an open book on this.

I really have no strong opinions on this, other than to say classical music is the best, the end. :)

P.S. Does anyone else have a favorite composer? Who is it? Favorite piece by them? :D


Tags: Bach, JS, music, spirituality

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I'm currently playing Mahler's Fourth with the local orchestra, and wow. What a RUSH. I think this is going to be the most challenging piece I've played yet!
Ha, you don't have to be familiar with classical music to have an intense experience with music in general. I've just found classical music to be far more satisfying than anything else in the music world, and I've always been like that. I would suggest you start listening to it. I can give you suggestions if you'd like.

I agree with you though about the beats and rhythms of life. Maybe that's why it can be so very satisfying to listen to!
I work to reach that sense of disappearing while playing. It doesn't come to me easily but when it does it's beyond words. I have that experience much more often when I simply listen to certain pieces.

I had such a powerful experience playing Beethoven's Ninth for the first time two years ago, that when we finally reached the end, the very last chord of the last movement, I couldn't stand for a good 15 seconds. When I finally could, I was shaking. It was that powerful. Wonderful! But very powerful.
As a musician (though not a professional) who grew up in a family of professional musicians, music has always been very important to me. Back in my Christian days, I did see listening to and performing music as a way to connect with God, and connect others with God. Though that part of it is gone, music is still profoundly spiritual to me. I won't go into the semantics of that word except to say I take the word "spirit" metaphorically rather than literally.

I believe that music is hard-wired into the human brain (I think there MAY be at least a little scientific evidence for this; I seem to remember reading an article to that effect, but I'm unable to recall specifics). However, on the anecdotal level, have you ever met anyone who doesn't like music? At all? I haven't, but I would love to hear of someone who doesn't (unless they were perhaps indoctrinated to see it as "evil" for religious reasons, or cannot hear). Other than life necessities such as food, water, and oxygen, music is the only thing in known existence that I can think of that literally EVERYONE on our little planet enjoys at least to some extent.

If you can think of at least one time that you heard a song and were unable to keep yourself from tapping your foot, or wiggling in your seat, or singing along, or thrashing about, or in any way "participating" in the music, then I think you know what I mean.

Also, consider this: unless you are completely tone deaf, or unable to use your voice, you can sing. You may not be able to sing WELL, but you can sustain a tone, and move from one tone to another. That, to me, is awe inspiring.

Music is the closet thing to a god that I can find in this universe: a powerful, possibly life changing force, that quite probably affects every human on the world in a positive way.

As far as favorite classical composers, I'm unable to give you one. I'm woefully undereducated in classical music. I could probably recognize many many many classical pieces having heard them throughout my life, but as far as being able to name who wrote them, probably not. However, I do have a favorite classical choral piece: Bogoroditse Devo by Rachmaninoff. It's my favorite to listen to, and given a trained choir to join, my favorite to perform.
I was also thinking about this yesterday. I was wondering why religious ceremonies all start with music and the congregation signing along together. The more I thought about it, the more sure I was that mass chanting (or singing or music playing) bring people together, puts them in the same mindset, and makes them feel more connected and more open to whatever the speaker says afterward. It puts the 'congregation' in a better mood.

As an atheist, I have experienced moments of 'profoundness', and connectivity within myself. However, I don't think I feel like I'm connected to anything bigger, persay, than myself. I simply feel completed and whole, and sometimes overflowing, with good feelings. After a good yoga session, I feel relaxed, serene, complete, alert, and introspective.

I also trained in classical music for ten + years (piano). It gives me about the same feelings as that good yoga session. It's a kind of mental fulfillment. Very satisfying.

Music is a method of communication and thought process that we have not mastered because of language and our current society. Music has been used since ancient times for almost any event, whether it's spiritual or otherwise - even when you're just trying to have fun! As you know words easily have the power to make you feel a certain way. If someone tells you that you look good, that creates a positive feeling and when someone yells at you, it creates a negative feeling. The same way when you listen to sad music you'll feel sad, when it's upbeat, you'll feel happy, etc. That's also why music links memories and feelings together so well. If you look into human behavior and the psychology of why we are who we are you'll understand this better. Today human use a lot of tools such as language, phones, email, ... twitter to communicate and that is the way we think - through language. What most people don't understand is that language is simply a tool and should not be tied in with the way you feel or think. The idea of meditation is to 'not think' but that means not think in language - in the way that you usually think. Since humans rely too much on today's tools to communicate, they never practice their other part of brain. Music activates another style of thinking and communication which I believe is what you are calling spirituality. And some other random thoughts: That's how you 'set the mood' with music, why you get energized when you're in a club or something, why music is used so much with drugs, and why classical music is said to make you smarter :)

 

Today the only kind of music that's being used globally for communication are the commercials that try to get you to buy something. Why do you think foreign - specially american rock - songs are illegal in most countries ;)

I like old fashion Rock n Roll the kind of Rock people used to dance to. I like to drive fast to old school Punk. I like to sing along to oldies, old school soul, power pop, and Indie Rock. I like to go on really long jogs and day dream while I listen Bach or Vivaldi. I could go on forever with this list because I live my life to a soundtrack always playing music for every activity in my life.

Music has connected with me on such a deep level, that it has become a part of me.
I still haven't given up the idea of a spirit, either, and I don't think I ever will. 

I approach what I feel is a state of spirituality when I contemplate our universe, be it as small as the workings of components within the individual cell (thank you Richard Dawkins for "The Ancestors Tale"), or as vast as the visible (and yet-to-be-envisioned) universe itself. These are guarenteed to bring out the "WOW" in me.

 

As for a favorite composer - well, my passion is woodturning. I have fitted my house with wireless speakers, so I can pump the iTunes down to the workshop. If I am roughing out a piece of hardwood, it's heavy metal.  Currently, I listen to Sabaton, from Sweden. Their music fits well into my chosen (military) profession, and the idea of metal music (to me) fits well when the chips are flying.

For putting on the final finishing cuts, it's always Mozart.  Nothing that I do (by myself) brings me a feeling of inner peace like running the cutting edge over the surface of a spinning piece of birds-eye maple, and watching the feathery shavings reveal the beauty within, while one of Mozarts' smaller pieces (no symphonies here, please) wraps itself throughout the shop.

 

Sheer freakin' bliss.

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