Music Made By Human Hands


hand1 hand2 hand3 hand4

When I was a little discouraged after a recent handbell workshop, my sister posted wrote that I should stay in the handbell choir because “music is good for the soul.” I’m sure she’s right and I’m pretty certain to keep ringing.

Anyway, the MMU spring concert was Wednesday night. The handbell ensemble got to perform two songs, the choir sang, the band played and there were a number of solo performances.

I enjoyed myself. As I sat there listening to others perform, I was also thinking about hands.

Singers used their voices and many of the instruments were powered by human breath, but kept in time with a conductor’s hands. The piano was in frequent use, a percussion instrument that is played hands down. I rang bells and chimes in my hands.

I don’t totally understand music—in fact, to be honest, it’s an area of human endeavor where I am woefully undereducated. But music is like language. Although it exists in nature, in the songs of whales or birds, it is still a singularly human activity—with our hands we’ve made it an interesting non-verbal way of communication, which somehow makes it fascinating for a language guy.

The dexterity of hands, their rhythmic timing, the sounds they make—they filled the Chapel of Mercy with beautiful noise Wednesday night. Granted, voices were engaged too. But for some reason I was caught up in the hands.

I don’t know why. It’s, a music thing, I suppose. Which to me makes it part of a delicious mystery. Is that part of the reason why it’s good for my soul?

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