Two Thoughts – Decision and Song

I love watching videos from TED. It’d be such a gift to be in attendance at one of the conferences. Even greater would be the opportunity to speak there. Yet, those are dreams. In my circumstance, I bask in the entertaining lectures through the website. What TED is, is a conference for thinkers to share their ideas. I love the line from V for Vendetta: Behind this mask, Mr. So-and-so, is an idea; and ideas are bulletproof. Truth.

One of the recent lectures I watched was given by an economist, Dan Ariely, from MIT, I think. I’d like to recreate something he shared with TED.

You decide to purchase a subscription to a magazine. Of these choices, which would you choose?

  1. Web-only: $85
  2. Newspaper/Mail-only: $129
  3. Web and Newspaper/Mail: $129

Now suppose the choices were slightly altered. What would you choose now?

  1. Web-only: $85
  2. Web and Newspaper/Mail: $129

When Dr. Ariely presented these scenarios to the audience, he made the point that in the first scenario, no one chose the second option, and the most popular option was the 3rd option. Since no one chose the second option, Dr. Ariely made rid of it which then created the second scenario. In this scenario, the results changed: the most popular option was the first. He then made the point that the second option was useless in that no one wanted it; it was useful, in that it helped us make a decision. Dr. Ariely’s lecture centered on the topic of decisions and whether we are in control of them. I initially clicked on his link hoping to extract some wisdom that I could translate into the theological discussion regarding Calvinism. I don’t think that happened, but I must recommend Dr. Ariely — if anything, for his smashing accent. (Link)

His idea is fascinating, and I would love to expound further on it; but I don’t think I have the facilities to do so. I don’t know where I’d go, so I’ll leave this gem in my mind at the level of engagement.

The second thought I’d like to share concerns music and lyrics (which is a cute movie. Hugh Grant is phenomenal in those love comedies). I’ve always wanted to learn the piano — especially as of lately. I’d love to be able to cover songs, blending whatever the left hand does with the melody. It’s that mindset — the left hand in relation to the right and vice versa — that revealed to me what I want to share: The combination of music and lyrics

Victor Hugo said “that music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” What an incredible thought! I do certainly believe that music allows us to tap into another facet of explanation and expression. It’s another way to teach, and another way we can learn. Believing this, I knew there had to be some deeper and innate mystery; I think part of that mystery is the intimate relation between music and lyrics.

It’s very simple, I think. A song has music and lyrics, but a good song has music that is for specific lyrics. How can we identify good songs? It’s a radical move — outrageous, maybe even absurd — to bring a standard into what has always been a subjectively and opinion driven art. That is why I don’t think it’s necessary to identify what a good song is. I imagine it’s challenging enough just to try and write a song. A good song will be different for everyone. A good song will have music that partners with the lyrics to deliver something that only music can deliver. That will be different for everyone.

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1 comment
  1. Manda said:

    I love Music and Lyrics – the song Way Back Into Love is one of my favorites.

    What draws me to a song has always been lyrics. I’m a much more words-driven girl than I am a music one, and if a song has good lyrics, you can bet I like the song, regardless of how it sounds.

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