Metaphysical Monday: The Meaning of Music

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Hi, I’m Seth Hecox and I’m a new writer here at IVM.  Some of you are familiar with me from Becoming The Archetype as well as Anchors.

This is the first post of a weekly column I plan to do for IVM.  The plan is that every Monday, I’ll post a column that discusses the intersection of music and faith.  My aim is to generate an actual discussion, similar to what we get over at my blog on, only this column will have a more specific focus.
Music is a powerful medium that carries powerful messages.  Mankind connects to music in a way that is unique and often more potent than other artistic forms.  I’m thinking of that very real emotional punch I’ve felt from music and the effect I know many of you have felt as well.  I’m talking about those moments when you’re driving alone at night, listening to a CD and letting your spirit connect with the music.  Your feelings start to quiver inside you as they start tapping into real, raw emotion.  Suddenly a particular part of the song kicks in and that quiver has become a tremor that is controlling your body.  For me sometimes I swear a hand is reaching inside my chest and firmly grasping my heart and tweaking it.  Sometimes I break down and cry.  Sometimes those moments are caused by the music alone and sometimes it’s a mixture of the music with the lyrics.  I remember the first few times I heard Tom Waits’ “Come On Up to the House” and I couldn’t help myself.  The combination of his rough-as-sandpaper voice with the power of the lyrics mixed with the simple piano simply broke me down more than I could’ve done on my own.
I’ve seen people fall down and weep in worship at our shows.  It’s a funny thing, those moments.  It’s strange to catch a glimpse of yourself as such a small conduit of God’s power and revelation.  I take pride in what I do musically, but those moments really have nothing to do with me.  Can a hammer or saw take credit for building the house?  In the same way, the music I make in Becoming The Archetype or Anchors or at my church worship service is simply a tool that God sometimes uses to open a person’s eyes to His glory or His truth and I’m happy to just be present to witness it.
Music has meaning to all sorts of people, but I believe when the music is crafted with great care and excellence and when the lyrics speak truth and are told in a beautiful manner, the Creator of the universe sometimes chooses to step inside that music and speak to His children in a unique and powerful way.  When that happens, the results are often beautiful and transcend mere excitement or happiness.  It’s something unexplainably more.  You know what I mean.
Those moments mean something.  I’m guessing that’s why you’re here, reading this music news site.  Music means something to you that you can’t explain and you love listening to it, being around it, discussing it.  I’m glad you’re that way and I can’t wait to hear how God has used music to shape who you are and who He’s called you to be.
Welcome to Metaphysical Monday.