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Monday, September 25, 2023


by Klaus Döring

Music was not only my passion, but also that of my Filipino (later German) wife. 

Already as a youngster, I found that music is an important part of our life as it is a way of expressing our feelings as well as emotions. No matter where you are living on this globe.  Some people consider music as a way to escape from the pain of life. It gives you relief and allows you to reduce stress. … Music plays a more important role in our life than just being a source of entertainment.

Music affects our emotions. When we listen to sad songs, we tend to feel a decline in mood. When we listen to happy songs, we feel happier. Upbeat songs with energetic riffs and fast-paced rhythms (such as those we hear at sporting events) tend to make us excited and pumped up. 

Music means the world to me. It makes me think about how it relates to life and I love the beats. Music is a way to express yourself, keep you company while you’re alone, and always give you something to do. Music is a way of expressing me and being able to relate to other people.

It won’t be a surprise to most that music can affect the human brain emotionally. … Happy, upbeat music causes our brains to produce chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which evokes feelings of joy, whereas calming music relaxes the mind and the body.

Music is a form of art; an expression of emotions through harmonic frequencies. … Most music includes people singing with their voices or playing musical instruments, such as the piano, guitar, drums or violin. The word music comes from the Greek word (mousike), which means “(art) of the Muses.

Music is love. David Crosby sang this wonderful song already in 1971. “Everybody’s sayin’ music is loveEverybody’sayin’ it’s, you know it is…”

Music tells stories. Well, composers and musicians use music to tell stories. From all over the world.  Music can be used to depict characters, places, actions and even emotions. Music is often used to heighten a mood, or to express a thought or feeling when mere words are not enough.

“[Music] can propel narrative swiftly forward, or slow it down. It often lifts mere dialogue into the realm of poetry. It is the communicating link between the screen and the audience, reaching out and enveloping all into one single experience.” The best stories engage all of the senses.

One of the great things about music in general, and in particular concert music, is that playing it opens up a whole new world of experience that further enhances the mind, physical coordination, and expression. Music lovers, who are also amateur performers, may choose to play in community ensembles (orchestra, band, choir), take lessons, perform with others, compose, and nearly anything else a professional musician may do, while maintaining their regular lives. All of this involves intense physical coordination in performing an instrument alone or with others, while reading musical notation, and adding delicate or strong nuanced changes to the music that only a performer can bring. In general, to an amateur musician, music can provide an escape from everyday life or an alternative means of expressing one’s own capabilities. It is an important part of their lives and fills a need or an urge to create music.

I have been a music lover since my 4th birthday. Meanwhile, living as a German expat in the Philippines, I found out that Filipinos and Germans are music lovers. Among indigenous Filipinos, one important function of music is to celebrate or commemorate important events in the human life cycle. Fortunately, until today, these rich indigenous musical traditions live on. They serve as a reminder of the Filipinos’ long history of musical talent and ingenuity.

Such is the case of Philippine music which today is regarded as a unique blending of two great musical traditions – the East and the West. … The majority of Philippine Music revolves around cultural influences from the West, due primarily to the Spanish and American rule for over three centuries.

Becoming a German expatriate in the Philippines in 1999, I have attended many music events. I fell in love with Filipino classical music. So what does music really mean to Filipinos? It simply tells them where they’ve been and where they could go. It tells a story that everyone can appreciate and relate to, which is why it’s a big part of every Filipino culture. 

Music of the Philippines (Filipino: Himig ng Pilipinas) include musical performance arts in the Philippines or by Filipinos composed in various genres and styles. The compositions are often a mixture of different Asian, Spanish, Latin American, American, and indigenous influences.

Notable folk song composers include the National Artist for Music Lucio San Pedro, who composed the famous “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” that recalls the loving touch of a mother to her child. Another composer, the National Artist for Music Antonino Buenaventura, is notable for notating folk songs and dances. Buenaventura composed the music for “Pandanggo sa Ilaw”.

Music occupies an important place in my life. Definitely also in yours. This morning, I was sitting on my porch and realized that it’s kind of lonely around me. I really can’t live without music. I turned on my radio.

Well, people have different musical tastes depending on their age, education and even mood. Some people like classical music, others prefer rock, pop or jazz, but nobody is indifferent to it.

As for me, I used to sing in front of the mirror in my childhood. A pencil box served me as a microphone and I imitated a show on the stage. It was great fun! At the age of 9, I wanted to become a radio host. Not knowing then, that one day it will become true.

At present I can’t spend a day without music. In the morning I prefer fast rhythmic music. It’s like a cup of coffee or a cool shower that encourages you and freshens you up. So, since the early morning you are in a cheerful spirit and the forthcoming day seems to give many pleasant surprises. Isn’t it a great start to the day?

I am  in a bad mood, so I turn to music. Nothing can help me better to forget about my problems than a merry song. Listen to your favourite melody and your spleen will disappear, and you are in a good temper again. What’s my favorite melody? Well, I don’t have one. Or something between Beethoven and the Apo Hiking Society. 

After a hard working day I like to listen to some slow, beautiful melody. It helps me to relax and to forget about my tiredness.

My whole Filipino family cannot live without music. They listen to music, dance to music or learn to play musical instruments. There is music everywhere: at home, in the car,  in a concert hall, in the park, at the seaside, in the forest and even in the street.

Music is not only a combination of pleasant sounds. It is an art which reflects life. Music reflects people’s ideas and emotions. My ideas and emotions. In this world of ours, filled with conflicts, tragedies, joys and hopes, music strives to speak to people of what is most important.

Music in the lives of different people is different: some compose music, others play music, and others only listen to it. A lot of people who cannot play any musical instrument love to listen to music either at home or at a concert. Different people like different kinds of music. I tried to “compose” my first pieces on the grand piano, when I was 11. Something between Beethoven’s “Für Elise” and Freddy Aguilar’s “Mindanao”. 

At the age of 7, I started collecting records. The then vinyl long plays. Later I got a lot of CDs. I downloaded music whenever I got the chance to.  I tried to watch all the programmes dealing with it on TV and went to the concerts as often as possible. 

Different people like different music. The scientists say that they can define your character if they know what music you like. For example, they suppose that people who listen to rock music are very clever and reasonable. British scientists confirm that most young people listen to aggressive music such as metal and rock. Scientists say that these people are good students, because of their character and assiduousness. I agree with this statement, because I think that music shows your soul and nature.

I always adored people who compose music and write poems. I think that such people are very talented. Also I believe that they can draw pictures and show their feelings by their music or poems. They can make you cry or laugh. Moreover they make you think about global problems or you may lie soft and just dream while you are listening to the music.

Nowadays we have relaxing music, which we use in medicine. More helpful than all kinds of music is classical music by such famous composers as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Vivaldy. I didn’t expect that Filipinos would like (or even love!) this kind of classical music. Up to the day, I started hosting classical music radio shows.

The music I hate is heavy metal. I find it noisy and dreadful. When I listen to this style of music it presents to my mind pictures of dark days. Though some young people are fond of this style of music, it is not to everyone’s taste. To my mind, too loud music can do damage to our ears. I am indifferent to other styles of music. For example, I don’t mind listening to jazz. Improvisation is an important part of this style, that’s why a jazz song may sound a little different each time it is played. I think that jazz is a mixture of many different kinds of music, but I consider it a bit complicated.

My mother and father approved of my tastes in music. Though they prefer to listen to classical and “bard music”, they think that, on the whole, modern music is not too bad. My parents agree that each generation has its own tastes.

It goes without saying that music plays a very important role in people’s lives. It reflects our moods and emotions. Music appeals to our hearts and transforms our feelings. It conquers our souls and enriches our minds. Besides, listening to music is the perfect way to spend free time and not to feel bored. You can hardly find a person who doesn’t like or need music and who never sings or dances. Music is beauty in sounds; it is our magic source of inspiration.

Well, and then, one day during 2001,  I was  introduced to Philippine (Classical) Music. I was invited to several performances. And, living as an expat in the Philippines means more than  enjoying music. Culture shock knocked at my door. Life doesn’t consist of music alone. Or sunny weather or days at the beach.

(To be continued)

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