Do you have Musical Bones?

I met a guy recently who told me he didn’t have a musical bone in his body. This got me thinking – what are musical bones?

  • According to some they were the world’s first musical instrument. Bones from birds (the flying variety) were fashioned into primitive flutes.
  • To others they were the earliest forms of the horn or trumpet which were made from stags’ horns, conchs & shells.
  • Alternatively, our inner ears, where sound waves are turned into nerve impulses, are encased in the temporal bone which is the hardest bone in the body. Perhaps this is the musical bone.
  • …Musical Bones is an album by the Upsetters.

But what did this guy really mean?  I imagine he was talking about his own perceived musicality; he didn’t think he was musical; that he didn’t have a musical ear. Yet I bet you he could recognise the mood of his wife when she phoned him up, just by the tone of her voice. He could tell the difference between the engine note of a Ferrari and an Aston Martin (yes he was a banker!). He would be able to tell you which was Madonna and which was Kylie on the radio. He certainly can hear.

I don’t buy it when people say they are not musical. It is one of those generalised limiting statements which often come from some insecurity or the other. Perhaps he was told when he was a kid he couldn’t sing, or was tone deaf – and that has stayed with him ever since. This sweeping statement has limited him from a world of music, from the freedom it brings, from the understanding and growth we can individually derive from it.

Music is everywhere and it impacts everyone. Deeply. We just don’t realise it. Imagine the movie Starwars with no sound track. Imagine a soccer match with no singing. Imagine an Abercrombie & Fitch store with no beats. Imagine a world not touched by Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma.

If musical bones are a “musical ear” then the guy I met does have a musical bone in his body – in fact everyone does. It’s just he’s not been shown it. But when he is, he will be released into a whole new realm of musical appreciation and self-understanding. His life will be better for it.