Music moves the heart by sound only, unlike other art genres. This is captured in Walter Pater’s quote, "All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.” There is a story that depicts the power of music in Liezi, known as the Aesop Fables of China.
Qin Qi and Xue Tan were teacher and student. When the student reached a certain level of singing proficiency, he said goodbye to the teacher and left. The teacher did not hold him back and sang to him as he saw him off. The song was so sorrowful that the forests moved, and clouds stopped to listen. The student felt very ashamed when he saw this. He realized that he still had a long way to go and pleaded with his teacher to let him stay and study longer.
The teacher told him a story about a great singer called Han E. The singer sang for the home that offered him a meal. His singing was so powerful that the memory of the singing lingered in the house three days after he left. It was as if he was still present, singing. It felt like the singing was imprinted in the house. The situation was the same at other places he visited. He stopped at an inn on his way. When people made insulting remarks, he left, singing sorrowfully.
All the villagers that heard him sing fell into deep sorrow and could not eat for three days as they wept. Eventually, people found the singer, apologized, and brought him back. When he sang, people forgot their sadness, clapped their hands in joy, and danced. His voice had the power to move the hearts of the people.
The power to move forests, put flowing clouds to a stop, move hearts and leave the music lingering in the house. It is exaggerated, of course, but the finest music can do that. To express joy and sadness with sound only and offer console and healing – the miracle of music is aspired by all forms of art. It is that aspect of music we turn to for consolation and comfort.