What is it about music that seems so much closer to the emotions than words?

This was a thought that occurred to me as I laid down the notebooks yesterday and cued-up my music-to-cook-dinner-by. An evocative piece, the right combination of notes and bam!, tears. Music does that.

Words  are not quite as hair-trigger in me, emotionally speaking. A fact that got me wondering why.

Is it because sound travels into the ear and goes straight to where it’s headed in the brain, with fewer intermediate station-stops than the eye-brain connection imposes?  Is it a product of my dyslexia, in which words take a little (sometimes a lot) more untangling? Does music by its nature take less thinking than words do? Is it the receptiveness of a more ancient sense? Is it that way for everybody?

Conversely, in the writing of words, I can start from the blank page and empty air, and fill the spaces with expected sounds and melodies, timbre and tempo. In the writing of music, I am helpless. I can recreate what I hear, can remember it flawlessly and reproduce it in voice. But I couldn’t write original music well to save my life. I’ve tried. A kid banging on pots and pans with a wooden spoon would sound more musical.

Why? What is the spark, the synapse, the chemistry that inclines us to one and not the other? Or that lets us appreciate but not re-create? What is it that responds so effortlessly to one than the other?

What, in the notes, makes it as evocative as words? What, in the dry music of language, is melody…and harder to reach?

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