How many people dream of becoming famous, well rewarded and appreciated by others? A person who is talented in singing, composing and creating unique musical works, may harbor such ideas more than once. Why would such gifts, especially when developed, not flower into recognition by the many?
Today civilization is fortunate to have innumerable ways of recording, distributing and preserving music and song. One need only go online, get a small device that holds thousands of songs, or turn on the TV or radio. Even a cell-phone, which is quite ubiquitous these days, can record or play music. A person creating songs and compositions can easily broadcast them digitally without dealing with record companies or talent agents. There is no need for large financial outlays either. There is little that is not available to even the most challenged of listeners.
Does the numbers of listeners validate the musical offering? Is the amount of files purchased by or listened to others directly proportional to the value of the piece and the success of the artist? These are questions that few people seem to ponder very deeply. It is usually easy to see that a famous piece, one that is listened to and appreciated by many, must be good, perhaps even a classic. Many such pieces, if not all, touch a chord in the human heart that reverberates, something in the work that makes a difference, bringing a refreshing dimension to the daily grind.
This writer knows little about music. Some melodies awaken memories of years ago. Some are upsetting - too fast, too slow, to funky, too something. It also depends on the frame of mind and the time of life. While involved in a tempestuous relationship, very intense, booming music helped to soothe and relax the soul. At another time nostalgia was to be craved. Then there was a period when classical music was the very thing.
Often these phases came with the conviction that this would be it. No other music would do. Needless to say, these phases passed and are surely passing now.
Most people have thrilled in watching a famous performer do their thing on a giant stage, with thousands of adoring fans clapping, shouting and sometimes, lifting up a myriad of flickering cigarette lighters to show approval. Watching these mega-shows, whether in person or on the media, is a moving experience. Many will agree this performer or group or ensemble is the pinnacle of success.
But what about the talented musician who creates compositions and lyrics in his little room somewhere? The one who will break out into song in an alley on a dark night, when sleep eludes them? What about the soul who, though having faint dreams of what the world calls success, keeps on singing, composing and hungrily listening to others' works that touch the heart?
What if this musician never gets beyond a small circle of friends and lovers who appreciate these creations and performances, although most of the hundreds or perhaps thousands of works never get to be heard by them or anyone else? What if this musician is too enveloped in the muses to spend time on practical things such as recording, chronicling or thinking about what to do with the stuff?
Have you ever seen a person with a guitar that is not in the best of shape, but tuned perfectly, sitting on a curb and playing extra-ordinary music? Have you wondered why that person seems oblivious to whether someone is listening or not? If a compliment is offered, has that musician taken it with great gratitude and a little bit of a surprise?
One such person has moved on to a higher plane as this essay is being written. There may be perhaps a dozen pieces that remain on a worn cassette - the voice, the songs, the riffs, the flights touching the music of the spheres. Some few remember that person and the music. Most do not.
As you may note, the title of this essay is 'The Audience.' How can this person's success, failure, or meaning while walking this earth be measured. How great is the loss of no real permanent record in the world of music?
The answer came to this writer quite simply. The answer for this writer came in six words. They were pulled from a Psalm. "...singing to God, and with harp." In the mind of this writer there was no loss. There was no failure. There was, and always will be an audience, one that really counts.