Music and drama have many similarities and compliment each other. Unfortunately, with both of these arts, their real value is oftentimes neglected. In music, it is many times mistaken that robotic, machine-like playing is considered “good music” because it is “technical”. The same principle applies to acting. Oftentimes many actors become well-known not for their versatility in assuming a role but for other reasons such as looks, popularity in media, etc.
True, mastery in performing arts does require technical skill. However, that is not the only aspect to it. If there is no feeling, no emotion, in either acting or music, there is no life given to the piece and there is no real communication, which is the most important element of art.
In music, there are dynamics (variations in intensity) and nuances (subtle variations). Adhering to the dynamics and nuances of a piece, one must do this and stay faithful to the score. However, doing so isn’t necessarily the same as expressing feeling or emotion though.
The secret lies in entering into the composer’s universe and assuming his or her viewpoint when he or she originally composed or wrote that piece. In drama, it goes like this: An actor, after learning his part, decides how to portray his character. He embodies the role and becomes that character. His facial expressions, tone of voice, speed, gestures and postures, etc., are all carefully created. The actor pours his soul into the character to imbue with life and thus animate it. He has to assume the viewpoint of that character and become it.
The same principle applies to music. First, one should characterize the piece, which has been covered in a previous article. Next, one should really dive into the viewpoint of the composer for that particular piece. What does that piece really say? What feelings does it contain? Does it contain love, hate, desire, loss, joy, etc.? By embodying those feelings, one plays by communicating those emotions, which then creates an emotional impact upon the audience and now, art is actually taking place.
And each piece is different in its respective feeling. Unfortunately, some musicians have become somewhat homogeneous. My recommendation would be for a musician of any level to also learn dramatic arts to some degree. Also, actors should study music to some degree. Both would assist in broadening one’s breadth of understanding of his craft. Dedicating some time and practice, as a true professional would, the results are well worth it.
Music is a powerful tool for self-transformation. Humans listen to music and instinctively want to clap, tap or dance. Music has that power to create such an energy. It taps into hidden emotions, abilities and expressions. It is therapeutic. It helps improve one’s aesthetic appreciation. It’s a different energy altogether. Really embodying its feeling is an integral aspect.