Music has always been different to me than to other people, I think. Not to say that I have a one-up on anyone or anything. Everyone experiences, through all five senses, life in different ways. And Hearing is, I think, the most relative of the senses and very personal. But not very many people that I have talked to can 'see' music and sounds. I mean, completely sober--involuntary visions in their mind's eye. Some people that have this call it Synesthesia (sin-e-stay-sia). It's different for some than others, but basically it's a condition that when one hears a tone or music, or something of that nature, they see a color, a shape, or many shapes and colors in their head. What I see depends on what I'm hearing. I remember listening to Pet Sounds (Beach Boys) for the first time, on headphones, when I was 13. It literally blew my mind. The colors and shapes are usually dictated by the music going on. I've had this as long as I can remember. It took me until I was 16 years old to realize that not everyone was like this.
Of course being able to 'see' music has some benefit in the creative process. The way I write music is to let the music write itself. Usually I 'find' a riff, a theme, a scale, or maybe just a concept floating around, waiting to be pollinated. I take that and work with it until I have a nice cornerstone to rest a song on. Then I listen (and watch) to it about a million times and try to visualize where it goes next. Each song is like a story. I only get a piece at the start; maybe a beginning, or break down. If I can see that part for what it is, just a piece of the whole, I can start to conceive the world that exists around this one mountain, so to speak. So for the rest of the creative process I have a 'visual' map to refer to when I get lost in the woods after the second chorus and I don't know where to go. It also makes it a little hard, sometimes, to be pleased about the product that I am left with in the end; if the final product doesn't look like what I had in mind, It is really hard for me to just let it be, even though there may be nothing really wrong with it musically. If that happens I either have to start over or accept it and give it a new name. I've been in this situation many times in the past. I have five songs that were written for my self titled disk, but none of them made it. They all looked different at the end than what I intended. Some of the songs on the alum, however, are songs that were originally going to be something completely different. Animated Captivity is one of those. But I kept it because I like the chords.
Music is a substance that is floating all around us. Even when there are no human ears there to hear, there is music. The songs I 'write' come from somewhere else than myself. I can only watch and listen and try to regurgitate what I see and hear the best I can. Music is a free never-lacking renewable resource. Most everyone has the ability to participate, if not playing an instrument, listening can be just as rewarding. I enjoy seeing people that haven't played an instrument ever in their lives pick one and learn. After five or six years of practice, ALL of them are good now. If you enjoy listening to music, why not try to play music. Pick an instrument. Any instrument. . .