How Good Music and Art Makes You Feel

Daily Prompt: Eye of the Beholder

Describe what it feels like to hear a beautiful piece of music or see a stunning piece of art.

No other piece of music moves me more than George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I know of no other piece of music like it.

Sections of it cause me to think deeply and serenely while others lift me and make me feel joy and hope.

Sometimes I wonder what thought process was Gershwin pursuing when he came across the haunting melody and theme that repeats itself throughout. To me it defies all conventional melodies. It stands alone. There is nothing else by which to compare it.

Good music must lift one higher. It must take you to meadows, mountain tops, and allow you to soar among the clouds and swoop into verdant valleys. Good music makes you see and feel the delicacy of a flower’s petal and the power of an ocean wave. It is a warm smile, a gentle touch, a soothing word.

Music and art should always take you to a good place.

Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue




  1. I certainly share your sentiments with respect to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”. Recently, I saw it performed live, in Toronto, with Herbie Hancock at the piano and it brought tears to my eyes.

    The piece was inspired by a train ride to Boston taken by Gershwin. He told his biographer the following:

    “It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise…. And there I suddenly heard, and even saw on paper – the complete construction of the Rhapsody, from beginning to end. No new themes came to me, but I worked on the thematic material already in my mind and tried to conceive the composition as a whole. I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness. By the time I reached Boston I had a definite plot of the piece, as distinguished from its actual substance.”

    “An American in Paris” does the same thing for me as does most of Gershwin’s ballads: “Embraceable You”, “The Man i Love”, and my particular Gershwin favourite, “Haunted Heart” (here sung impeccably by the great Jo Stafford with Paul Weston’s Orchestra) – all masterpieces.

    I’d have to say Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” is the piece that reaches most deeply into my heart and soul and the tears really start to flow whenever I hear it:

    However, I’m not sure that music “should always take you to a good place”. Battle songs and trumpet bleats are the music of war and most wars mean death and destruction. Yet, these simple melodies stir in us the complex emotions and courage to fulfill our patriotic responsibilities.

    I rather like the way Hans Christian Anderson put it: “Where words fail, music speaks.” .

    • Thanks so much for sharing the additional information. It amazes me how much people are willing to add and contribute to expand my own appreciation and others who read this post.
      Once again much thanks.

Blather away, if you like.

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