Music

The Meaning of Music

The easiest way to understand (and therefore appreciate) the meaning of a piece of music is through lyrics. Which is why I felt that lyrics are more important in a song than the melody. And though sometimes you would enjoy the instrumental version of a song, you enjoy with a prior understanding of the song through the original lyrics. So say you were listening to “Unchained Melody” in the instrumental version. As you listen, you inadvertently sang the lyrics inside you. Without the presence of a set of heartrending lyrics, this melody would never be as popular as it is now.

Therefore, the only way to make the melody more important in a piece of music is to write a song without lyrics. Which is why I love to compose piano music. It is rare for me to find a song with lyrics that touches me (most songs have crappy lyrics). But recently I found one. And through the lyrics, I could feel the dis appointment that the person feels for her loved one. What I like is how the songwriter reveals the “plot” at the end of the song, much like a novel.

The official English name for this song title (printed on the CD cover) is “Travel Is Meaningful”, but I think a more apt translation should be “The Purpose of Travel”.

旅行的意義
陳綺貞 Cheer Chen

曲︰陳綺貞
詞︰陳綺貞

你看過了許多美景 你看過了許多美女
你迷失在地圖上每一道短暫的光陰
你品嚐了夜的巴黎 你踏過下雪的北京
你熟記書本裡每一句你最愛的真理

卻說不出你愛我的原因
卻說不出你欣賞我哪一種表情
卻說不出在什麼場合曾讓你動心
說不出 離開的原因

你累積了許多飛行 你用心挑選紀念品
你蒐集了地圖上每一次的風和日麗
你擁抱熱情的島嶼 你埋葬記憶的土耳其
你流連電影裡美麗的不真實的場景

卻說不出你愛我的原因
卻說不出你欣賞我哪一種表情
卻說不出在什麼場合曾讓你分心
說不出 旅行的意義

你勉強說出你愛我的原因
卻說不出你欣賞我哪一種表情
卻說不出在什麼場合曾讓你動心
說不出 離開的原因

勉強說出 你為我寄出的每一封信
都是你 離開的原因
你離開我 就是旅行的意義

“Travel Is Meaningful”
Cheer Chen

You have seen many beautiful sceneries
You have seen many beautiful ladies
You get lost in all the briefly beautiful moments that occurs around the map
You have tasted the nights of Paris
You have stepped on the snows of Beijing
You are familiar with all your favourite phrases of truth

But you are unable to tell me the reason why you love me
But you are unable to tell me what kind of expression you like of me
But you are unable to tell me how I could distract you in what occasions
Unable to tell me the reason for leaving

You have accumulated a lot of flight travels
You spent time and effort selecting souvenirs
You collected all the best picturesque moments that you encounter around the world
You embraced the warmth of the islands
You buried your memories of Turkey
You reminisces the fictitiously romantic scenes in the movies

But you are unable to tell me the reason why you love me
But you are unable to tell me what kind of expression you like of me
But you are unable to tell me how I could distract you in what occasions
Unable to tell me the purpose of your travels

You managed to tell me the reason why you love me
But you are unable to tell me what kind of expression you like of me
But you are unable to tell me how I could distract you in what occasions
Unable to tell me the purpose of your travels

You managed to tell me
That every letter you have sent out to me
Are the reasons for your leaving
To leave me
Is the purpose of your travels

Listen to my piano interpretation by selecting the song at the IMEEM playlist (top right of the blog).

Update: Due to popular demand and to support Cheer on her successful concert in Singapore, I’ve provided the MP3 for the piano arrangement for download. Click here.

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