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paulw
Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2003 - 04:48 am:   

After reading some of the posts in Lucius's dark movies thread, I thought I'd open a topic on the phenomenon I like to call songchronicity. Now that MP3 players are so convenient to carry around, the opportunities are greater than ever, ranging from the sublime to the inane.

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Bob
Posted on Friday, June 20, 2003 - 01:58 am:   

Songchronicity is defined as what, Paul?
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paulw
Posted on Friday, June 20, 2003 - 02:36 am:   

Songchronicity is a moment when whatever music happens to be playing -- whether muzak at a store, something at a restaurant or on the radio, or just a tune on your MP3 player -- coincides in an eeriely appropriate, often ironic, way with the circumstances of your life -- what you happen to be doing at that moment, or thinking about, or writing about, or your situation at work, with your girlfriend, etc.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, June 20, 2003 - 06:19 pm:   

Okay I got --and only one. I was in Nicaragua afrer the Sandinista revolution, in Managua, which had been more than half destroyed by war, an earthquake, and a volcanic eruption. There were all these little bars that had been erected, made of slabs of concrete that had been busted up from the streets by the earthquake. People had propped them, fashioned rough walls from them. So anyway, me and this guy from Bluefields name of Jimmy were drinking at the bar, which was one of the few that had a working tape player. . Jimmy was totally happy, because the Sandinistas had given him a pistol, and it was the best thing he'd ever owned. He was celebrating the gift and also the fact that the bulk of the Sandinista force was due to come into town the next day and then he could go home. We got really hammered, too drunk to get back to the part of town we were staying in (wasn't much transportation functioning. There were some houses that had burned down along the road and we found one close to the bar that had a basement sort of intact and lay down in it. We sat there and talked nd listened to the music and watched the full moon coming up over the ruins, and just as I was on the verge of passing out, I heard Neil Young singing, "I was lying in a burned-out basement, with the full moon in my eye/I was waiting for a replacement...etc."

I didn't see the spaceships, but I thought it was pretty damned funny and when I translated the song for Jimmy, so did he.
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DF Lewis
Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2003 - 01:34 am:   

I'm fascinated by this. I think I have known about this effect all my life but this is the first time I've seen it conceptualised as Songchronicity.

music is experience of the composer's notes, the performance and interpretation, the ambience (where it is heard), the reactions and interactions of the audience, the moods of all these parties ... giving birth to a single entity that lives in the music during that pure moment.

I think I know who 'Mozart' is, for example -- when I experience him as that temporary numinous entity that is brought into being by the Songchronicity of the occasion ... rather than by imagining an even more imaginary yet 'real' Mozart that many think they derive from mixed-message history and musicology books and from various hearsays about his transitory life and times.
Des
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paulw
Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2003 - 03:59 am:   

DF -- that's very interesting. A whole different level of songchronicity than the usual, lyric-based examples. It depends more on a personal, subjective relationship with a piece of music or a particular composer . . . and hence would be more difficult to explain to another person in a way that they could appreciate. Like, for example, the way Proust uses the melody from the Vanteuil composition in ROTP: a lietmotif.

Lucius's example is classic songchronicity -- one of the best I've heard, actually. From the sublime to the stupid: My most recent occurred as I searched out the men's room in a gym I was a guest at, and as I made my way to the promised land through the maze of the men's locker room, over my MP3 player came Patti Smith singing 25th Floor: "We explore the men's room . . ."
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Des
Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2003 - 07:24 am:   

"Like, for example, the way Proust uses the melody from the Vanteuil composition in ROTP: a lietmotif."

Exactly that, Paul! I hadn't related the two till you just did, though I should have done so, as I'm currently through a re-reading of Proust after 30 odd years since I first read it.
Is 'songchronicity' an accepted expression or one you have just invented? Whatever the case, it is great. So, thanks. Best, Des

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paulw
Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2003 - 09:00 am:   

As far as I know, I'm the "inventor" of the term, if a blatant pun can be said to have an inventor!

I envy you your re-reading of Proust! It made such a huge impression on me when I first read it ten or so years ago; for the past couple of years I've felt the need to reread it, but it's much harder now to find the time . . .
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Monday, August 11, 2003 - 02:17 am:   

Songchronicity happens to me aaaaaaall the time.. So often that I cannot even think of a good example. But it is amazingly wonderful when it happens. Sort of like life reinforcing itself around you. ;-)
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, August 11, 2003 - 05:30 am:   

Paul: Good term. Synchronicity, in general, is something that fascinates me. I was riding in the car with my son the other day. A song by the group Alien Ant Farm came on the radio. We discussed the video for this song and I knew that in it there was a kid who danced, imitating Michael Jackson in the Billie Jean video -- with the sidewalk lighting up, etc. My son, who is 15, did not remember the MJ video at all, but he was aware the song was on THriller. The Alien Any Farm song ended, he hit the radio button to change the channel. The very next song that came on on an entirely different channel was Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. What the fuck?
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Monday, August 11, 2003 - 05:55 am:   

Something similar happened to me recently. There was a Marilyn Monroe movie on the telly the other day, and it featured a tune I don't know the title of right now. I switch channels at that time, and land on a commercial that was using the exact same song as a jingle. Creepy.
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paulw
Posted on Monday, August 11, 2003 - 05:47 pm:   

And people say there is no God!
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, August 11, 2003 - 06:57 pm:   

Paul: At the risk of sounding nuts, what I've found is that if you give yourself over to this synchronicity, keep your ears and eyes open for it, more or less allow it to happen, the incidence of it grows rapidly until it can become quite maddening. Does anyone know what I mean by this, or should I start regretting having written it already? I think things like this happen all the time, but in a way we choose to ignore it because it leads to the understanding that reality is not entirely objective and that the subjective mind to some degree projects reality.

Best,

Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Monday, August 11, 2003 - 08:34 pm:   

Jeff, I know exactly what you mean as far as the phenomenon--the snowball effect of more and more "coincidental" events/happenstance but I try not to think about it too deeply. I just appreciate it.

Paul, I don't know if you're kidding or not but I don't see it as related to a "God" at all--at least not as any kind of entity one could comprehend. Perhaps a pattern that is constantly evolving.
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Des
Posted on Monday, August 11, 2003 - 10:40 pm:   

Not a 'God' but a Jungian Collective Unconscious?
Des
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Tuesday, August 12, 2003 - 10:24 am:   

Here's one from a couple of years ago.

I had just been out on a blind date that a friend of mine had set me up on. Normally, I HATE blind dates, but this one had been pretty good. We had a lot in common, same brand of humor, etc. Anyway, we had dinner and a movie, then came back to my house and watched TV for awhile. Things had been working out very well, and just as I was about to ask her if she would like to spend the night, a Nine Inch Nails video came on TV:

"I want to fuck you like an animal!"
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paulw
Posted on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 07:28 am:   

Chris, that's not songchronicity -- that's opportunity!

Ellen -- if ever in doubt as to whether or not I'm kidding -- I'm kidding! (Just kidding . . .)

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