Music is True

Nov 2, 2015 | Things I wish I'd written

The silence of the next few days must have been louder than the sound of all the music ever played since time began.

…from Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin, a short story, available here, in which music’s greatest and most ineffable truth…was translated into words:

All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours.