In previous posts of this series I’ve outlined evidence that non-physical guides are helping musicians to bring music into the physical world. Much of this evidence came from the work of mediums such as Rosemary Brown and Leslie Flint, who used their gifts to contact and channel the spirits of departed composers. But what about today’s musicians and composers? Surely if there are unseen forces helping them to write music, they would have a sense that this was happening and would have openly talked about it?
Considering the ridicule that Rosemary Brown had to endure from a sceptical public and a savage media after making her claim that she channelled music from the great classical composers, it should perhaps be expected that any musician who had a sense of ‘receiving’ music from a source beyond the mind would have kept this feeling to themselves. I was therefore both surprised to discover that amongst the many composers who have over the years talked about the process of writing music, there are several who clearly believe that they are being guided by some unseen influence.
Here are just a few of their observations:
“I never fully took credit for any of the songs I wrote, because I knew a higher force was with me when I was writing it.”
Brian Wilson, talking about the Beach Boys’ album ‘Pet Sounds’.
“When I am at my best while composing, I feel that a higher power is working through me.”
“When I composed that passage, I was conscious of being inspired by God Almighty. Do you think I can consider your puny fiddle when He speaks to me?”
Beethoven to the violinist Schuppanzigh, who complained
about the difficult fingering required to play one of his works.
“The music to ‘Yesterday’ came in a dream. The tune just came complete. You have to believe in magic. I can’t read or write music.”
“I felt like a hollow temple filled with many spirits, each one passing through me, each inhabiting me for a little time and then leaving to be replaced by another.”
“They were like mediums.”
Yoko Ono talking about the Beatles
“The composer must sit in silence and wait for the direction from a force that is superior to the intellect.”
“I have something where music just comes to me and the best music… just suddenly, it’s there; it just slips out of your fingertips onto the instrument easily. You worry about it afterwards and think ‘Where did that come from; who did I steal it from?’ because it’s so easy….and those are the best bits.”
“The music of the opera was dictated to me by God. I was only the instrument to bring it to paper.”
Puccini, talking about his opera ‘Madame Butterfly’.
“Pagey had written the chords and played them for me. I was holding the paper and pencil….. then all of a sudden my hand was writing out words. I just sat there and looked at the words and then I almost leaped out of my seat.”
Robert Plant, talking about writing the song “Stairway to Heaven”.
“I’m going to commune with God and I must be appropriately dressed!”
Joseph Haydn, explaining why he put on his best clothes before composing.
“One night we were playing and suddenly the spirit entered into me, and I was playing, but it was no longer me playing.”
John McLaughlin, leader of the Mahavishnu Orchestra
“I believe inspiration comes through me and that I channel it.”
Jim Kerr, Simple Minds
“I wake up from dreams and go ‘Wow, put this down on paper,’ the whole thing is strange. You hear the words, everything is right there in front of your face. I feel that somewhere, someplace it’s been done and I’m just a courier bringing it into the world.”
“I don’t choose what I compose. It chooses me.”
“In the end you have to look at a song and not know exactly where it came from.”
If you would like more information on this fascinating topic, go to the Channelling Music page of this website.