I’ve heard it said that only human beings have been given the gift of music; that only people create songs, sing and serenade their souls with this most magical and uplifting form of communication and communion. Yet, should we not consider the song of the lark? The haunting ballads of the whales? The mournful call of the wolf? The robin’s lyrical laugh at dawn and dusk? The crickets that serenade the nighttide? The burbles of monkeys swaying in the trees? The laughing of the hyena?
Who is to say that in their melodic tunes, caterwauls, howls, wails, and other worldly vocalizations there is not some measure of music. Why should we be the only ones to sing praise, to croon our love, and to bewail our distress? How can we know, in truth, in honesty, that the deliberate scree of the hawk, the piercing bugle of the elk, the chattering of raccoon and ferret, and the murmurings of infrasonic elephant calls is not music to their ears?
Music is a form of communication that lifts the soul, expresses emotion, and brings one being into contact with another being. If this is, indeed, the definition of music (of which it is a form) then can that being not be one other than human? Does not one wolf join another when it sings? Does not the whale song change season to season and year to year, picked up by another whale to be carried on? Does not one roaring lion inspire the entire pride by its lusty cry?
Consider what the morning would sound like without the sweet music of the birds. Contemplate what the summer night might be when not a single chirrup, trill, drone or buzz lilted through the air. Ponder how deep and lonely the oceans would be without the drifting, breathtaking songs of the whales. Can you even imagine a mountain landscape without hearing the echoing howl of a wolf or the bubbling laugh of the loon?
If these sounds, that can captivate us and uplift our thoughts, our hearts and even our souls, are not music and do not do the same for all those who hear them, regardless of race, than perhaps, we must follow that course of logic and say that cave paintings are not art, tap is not dance, improvisation is not acting and free verse is not poetry.
Or perhaps, Music Teaches the Soul what the Heart Feels and Guides the Heart with what only the Soul can Truly Know.