Why do we feel the death of a musician like Neil Peart, even though we have never met him? I hearken back to Ludwig Von Beethoven’s funeral for the answer. When he died in 1827, it’s estimated that anywhere from 10,000 to as many as 30,000 attended his funeral. Of course, most of these mourners had never met the man personally, or if they did they merely tipped their hats to him on the street (and perhaps got a grumbling insult from him in reply!). But they knew his music. They were so affected by it that they felt compelled to come and mourn his passing. In a way, they felt they did know him. Because they knew his mind and his heart as expressed in those beautiful sounds he left the world as his passing gift.
Music is unique in the arts in that it above all others has the eerie power to alter one’s mood and force