The Reading of a Song

Mine is a very visual mind.

Words fall on a page and are captured with near-perfect fidelity. For images, that goes triple.

Listening to spoken word in conversation or film or song, though, and I’m deaf of remembrance. I’m not tone deaf, nor is my ear of tin. In fact, just as I possess some talent for drawing and for narrative and for cognitive eloquence, modest though they may be there are some musical talents in me.

It’s just that I can see the music on the sheet better than I can listen to it: the pattern of oblong dots and the neat lines and circles and arcs is more musical to me than the hearing of it—on a cognitive level, anyway, because there’s nothing like music in its effects on my mood, my outlook, my own personal timbre (and make it in threes—a waltz or anything in 3/4 or 6/8 time or carry on in triplets even in standard time—and I am utterly captivated. There’s no explaining it).

But the unhearing memory, unless consciously exercised, does not so often bring the words of a song out of mood and into cognition.

Which is the sole reason that I’m such a huge fan of the wiki-lyrical sites that post the words to most of the songs out there. I have Dashboard Widgets that look to those sites to display the lyrics of whatever song iTunes happens to be playing at the time. I’ll hear a song either on the radio, on my iPod shuffle/mini/20GB or in my head (that happens a lot) and I’ll go google “My Heaven Mary Chapin Carpenter lyrics” or “Fantastic Delusion The Tubes Lyrics” and go read the words to the songs.

And in the reading there’s so much more than in the hearing, for me. It’s like I get to enjoy every song twice: for the listening and its attendant swoon; and for the reading and its attendant understanding.

Sounds like a gift, right? Well, twice given, twice taken, I say. Because one can also google “Take Me Home Tonight Eddie Money Lyrics” or “Toxic Britney Spears Lyrics”. Shudder. Re-shudder.

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