Connecting Music with the Elements

We love (or don't) music because of the way it makes us feel.

While a lot of people focus on the lyrics, the instruments drive most of the feeling we get. The instruments involved in the song, the rhythm of it, and the keys as well as the modes of those keys drive much of the feeling.

Typically, the feeling we describe to one another is kinda binary... I like it or I don't... happy or sad.

We can expand on that; we can associate a song's energy with the elements: Wind, Fire, Water, Earth. We can also include love, anger, dark energy, and anything else you perceive. It's a fun thing to notice about the music you like.


My friend Jason initially tuned me to the idea.

I figured this would be a good build up to describe how I perceive The Contortionist's "Absolve"

To me, "Absolve" feels like earth with a lot of water. The droning of the bass (or maybe it's tone) and the song's overall rhythmic drive give it an earthy feeling. The initial melodic, up and down crawling of the lead guitar reminds me of waves washing ashore. The ocean churns with waves crashing against rocks during the chorus. The last part of the song is an all out storm. The polyrhythmic crashes of the drums feel like the irregularities of bad ocean weather.

How do you feel about this song? do you like it? what elements are you feeling?


Feel this out with your favorite song and let me know what you find in the comments!


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