Music is the theme of my most recent novel, Concerto. Composer Umberto has lost his way after an accident robbed him of his sight. Convinced he can no longer play the piano or compose as he once did, he has given up on music; he won’t even try to play. Therapist Catriona has her work cut out trying to guide Umberto back to his music.
For Umberto, losing music is a source of great despair. Soon after his accident, he even attempted suicide, but then he realised that was going against his very nature and he was ashamed. Since then he has done his best to battle the dark moods, but still they overwhelm him. And no wonder: for music is his great passion, his raison d’être, and without it, he is lost.
Concerto: available to buy from my shop
Music, as Umberto will discover on his journey with Catriona, is healing. It is cathartic and comforting and transformative and powerful. And essential: as Confucius said, ‘Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.’
When life is hard, we can always turn to music. There, we will find solace, a refuge. ‘Art thou troubled?’ wrote lyricist W.G. Rothery. ‘Music will calm thee.’
Music strengthens us, emboldens us, quashes our fears. ‘When I hear music,’ said Thoreau, ‘I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.’
Music is also the perfect antidote to loneliness. As the poet Robert Browning wrote, ‘Who hears music feels his solitude peopled at once.’
So whatever your musical preference, be it opera or jazz, pop or rock, make it a part of your day. Cook with the radio on, take a walk with your iPod, sit by the window and listen to a favourite song. Give yourself to the music, and your soul will soar.