I spend a lot of time with headphones on these days. I find it’s the easiest way to focus on a task and remain productive while working.
There are times where I feel like it doesn’t even matter what the music is. Occasionally, I’ll put the headphones on and completely forget to fire up any actual music. It’s almost like the simple act of wearing the headphones puts me in the zone psychologically.
Those times are pretty rare though – usually I snap out of it and get some music going. My list of Pandora stations is pretty diverse, but this week I’ve been focused mainly on the latest addition to the line up: All instrumental music, predominantly string instruments.
It started a few days ago, early in the week. I was tapping away on my keyboard, letting Pandora drown out the rest of the world when a song I hadn’t come across before came on. Well, I knew the song (although I forget what it was now) but not this particular cover, which was by Lindsey Stirling. I do remember it wasn’t a song I would normally have expected to hear played on a violin.
It was amazing, to be honest. The melody of the song stood out in a way it never had before, and the comparison between this alternate, instrumental version of the song to the original made the whole experience really interesting. Thinking back, I guess I’ve always liked artists who take alternative approaches to recognizable songs.
Seether covering Careless Whisper comes to mind. Or any of New Found Glory’s From The Screen To Your Stereo covers. I guess I love it when an artist takes a song – especially a well known and recognizable one, and makes it their own. Different voice, altered tempo, totally different set of instruments, changes that can move a piece into an entirely different genre – but under it all, the song remains the same.
After that instrumental piece waltzed into my ears earlier this week, I couldn’t help but start a new station based on it. Since then I’ve listened to nothing else. Lyrics have been virtually non existent in this week’s musical selections.
I’m still fine tuning the station, every now and then something with vocals pops in, which for this station I thumbs down immediately. It’s nice to not have words in my ears while I work. Just the notes. Just the strings. Just the melody.
Songs I know, that have been adapted to strings. Songs that sound like they came from a movie soundtrack. Songs that just sound free and powerful. I’ve never loved string instruments before – I didn’t ever dislike them either, they just didn’t excite me in the past. Lately though, I can’t get enough.
As I type, I’m remembering a thought I had a while back. Lynne and I were binge watching Downton Abbey. The opening theme for the show features pianos and strings. The piano would strike a note, and then that same note was instantly picked up by the strings in a way that seemed to just… stretch it out somehow. Draw it out and make it longer. They blended so well that I didn’t pick up on it right away, but once I heard it, I couldn’t unhear it.
So yeah. That’s kind of where it’s at for me right now. Dallas String Quartet. Two Cellos. Simply Three. Lots of strings, heavy on the melody, and hold the lyrics 🙂