Pandemic, Quarantine, And Hope In Music

Music can be defined as “the pleasure of the mind produced from factors endless unfolding in sound” according to St. Thomas Aquinas. Confronted with the challenges and complications of the coronavirus spread, it is not surprising that many have found comfort in music. And music could be perfect gifts for boys and girls during this time of health crisis. We may be doing the most responsible things by staying at home, yet our thoughts are not locked so easily. Somehow there are somethings eternal in us that need to burst out one way or another, and in midst of the battle fighting the Covid-19 virus, it is music that has grown to be one of humanity’s mass claims that life needs to remain in tranquility.

Musical expression has never been stronger and more inspiring in Italy. Many Italians open their windows and play music in their balconies. Neighbors joined in by opening their shutters and sing with the melody. They sang Italian national anthems, local folk songs, and famous tunes. A few neighbors (who happen to be musicians) joined with instruments. Live renditions of Verdi and Puccini echoed throughout the empty pavements.

The Italians Making Music on Balconies Under Coronavirus Quarantine | The New Yorker

Not all European countries are as musically inclined as Italy. Not all countries have narrow streets surrounded by homes with balconies. However, Italy is not alone in shifting to music in the midst of stress and challenges. Songs and live music have been said all over Europe. Bono in Ireland has released on social media for his first new music since 2017. Concerts were halted just about everywhere but with it, music of all types went out via live streaming across the European borders in all countries. It seems like music instantly became the expression of cure and treatment even in the midst of lockdown from all parts of the world.

When people look back on the pandemic of 2020, they will remember many things. One of them ought to be the speed with which human beings, their freedom to associate constrained, turned towards music in what may almost be described as a global prisoners’ chorus. In music, supply has been quick to respond to demand. The Berlin-based concert pianist Igor Levit plays a sonata live on Twitter each evening from his living room. Singers including Pink and Miley Cyrus have done the same on Instagram. Meanwhile many opera houses and orchestras have responded to shutdowns by putting their performance archives online for free.

This 2020 pandemic will be a remembrance of humanity. We will remember the heroes who risked their lives and the people who turned to music to survived the silent attack of microbes not visible to the eye and as deadly as a nuclear bomb. We will remember how music gave us hope and redemption.