An article with Ben Caplan
I would not say that there is one specific thing that I
want to communicate to people who like to listen to music. There are
many things to say, and many ways to say them. For me, music is one of
the most diverse mediums that we can communicate with.
In poetry or prosaic writing, the artist can play with many styles, but usually must commit to one genre if the artist is to produce one coherent work. The poet must choose one language, and limit themselves to those who speak or understand that language (though there are some great exceptions, like T.S. Elliot). The same is true of theatre and film. In music, yes, we must pick one language for lyrics (though there are some great exceptions, like Regina Spektor) but there is a vast world of musical dialects and tonal languages that the composer can play with. The timbres of instruments, from vibraphones to zithers or any guitar imaginable, each provide a unique voice and story.
Melodies and rhythms from different cultures and times can be blended.
is so much space to be creative. There are so many stories to tell.
There are so many voices to tell them with, and the language of each
voice can be blended in harmony.
In my own writing, I try to communicate many things, but I suppose in the end, I lean heavily on what I consider the only two subjects of true universal significance: love and death. But there are many paths we make take to and from love. There are many roads we may travel to and from death. There are many stops along the way.
I encourage people who love listening to music to branch out beyond their normal boundaries. There are no excuses these days. The resources are unlimited. Go listen to music you don't understand.
Listen to music you don't like. If you don't like it, try to articulate why. Do you hate Hungarian zither music? Try to explain why. Do you hate Justin Bieber? Try to explain what it is about the music that you dislike. By developing the skill to articulate what you don't like, you can help to deepen your appreciation for the things you do like.
to me is like water. It sustains me. I need to sip from it every so
often or I feel faint. I need to bath in it to keep my soul clean.
It flows over me. It does not flow out of me like a constant river, but if I drink enough of it, it comes back out. I sweat it out.
I piss music. It often stinks, and I flush most of it away, but it's always a relief to get it out.
Canadian multi-instrumentalist (guitar, banjo, keyboards) and diverse singer-songwriter Ben Caplan performs with and without his band The Casuel Smokers. He has released the critically acclaimed album In The Time Of The Great Remembering. Find out more HERE.