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!



Sound Bite: Brad Mehldau Trio


The Brad Mehldau Trio stands out with its subtleties and intricacies.
The bassist lays warm grooves and chops things up in subtle ways
you'll catch when you pay real close attention.
The drummer has a keen sense of fills and accents, layering in over
Brad's soulful piano, and making every phrase that more unique.


Brad's piano is refreshing in the crowded and some times all too
familiar sounding world of Jazz. Each song is a groove that truly has its own feel with solos that blend in subtly.


What I like about this trio is that the musicianship
isn't extravagant. It seems like they've made an active effort not
to overcrowd songs with unnecessary notes... they each create their own dimension and give space between the notes for the music to be felt.


A few of my personal favorites:

"Aquelas Coisas Todas" (with the Latin vibes)

"Twiggy" (...the groove and the subtleties)

"Everything in its right place" (a damn good Radiohead cover)

"Days of Dilbert Delaney" (for the accents and subtleties)

"Hey Joe" (You can almost hear Hendrix' vocals, lamenting Joe's decision)


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