When the Son came home early in the semester and announced that he’d enrolled in an “Introduction to Music” course, I felt a mix of emotions.
The “mother” part of me felt great pride because this meant that my having exposed him to great musical composers would finally trigger a response other than “Can we switch the old dudes’ music to something more actual?”
However, the news affected another side of me; the “woman” side.
Allow me to explain.
I was in college when I succumbed to the spell of music from the Classical and Romantic Periods.
The first time I heard Brahms, it was as if Earth had stopped turning and I was enveloped in a cloud of fluff.
Brahms’ music had the power to transport me to a seventh heaven and while it was the most beautiful music I’d heard, it was also the saddest.
I didn’t know how to describe this new-found music style.
I likened it to a paradox; captivating yet haunting; uplifting yet depressive.
Wanting to discover how this paradox was possible, I set out to find some answers.
For months I listened to dozens of musical composers.
Some of them gave me headaches, others had the ability to induce sleep, and others lifted my mood significantly.
Yet the melodies of Chopin, Vivaldi, and Brahms always had the power to reduce me to tears.
Never having been a woman who succumbed to waterworks, I was terrified with this outcome.
Because after years of promoting female empowerment, advocating assertiveness, glorifying the term “bitch” and using the slogan “Bring it” to show I was fearless, I was not willing to accept that a simple melody was my kryptonite.
And yet it was.
One such example is Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 in F Major.
The minute I hear the cellos and the yearning main melody, I’m a goner.
The flutes, clarinets, and strings finish me off.
What can I say?
The Son is just a week shy of finishing the Romantic Style period and for that, I am grateful.
I have used up three tissue boxes in the last two weeks and my bloodshot eyes are proof of just how powerful this kryptonite can be.
Nevertheless, this time has allowed me to learn that while I welcome the occasional “mellowed-out-mood-floating-on-air-I’m-happy-I’m-sad” effect of this music, I can only be exposed to it short-term.
Fortunately, that’s just enough to make me human, but not enough to take away my super powers!
I leave you with Brahms’ haunting melody.