I'm listening to Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Comman Man" right now. I think if there was a quintessential sound for America, this would be the song. Bold, brassy, just a powerful sound that hits you at the right moment.
I don't think I can explain just now much music effects me on an almost genetic level. I think that's half the reason my music collection looks like a schizophrenic's hallucination. I've got everything except rap. From Copland, to Thenonius Monk, to Disturbed, I've got CD's from almost every imaginable music style. And every CD I have is because at least one of the songs managed to produce an almost overpowering emotion in me. To laugh, cry, scream or relax, or sometimes all of the above.
Even though my parents weren't the most musically talented people, they managed to raise me surrounded by music from the time I was born. I took piano lessons at an early age, tried my hand at the violin for a year, and eventually settled on percussion. In highschool I found out I could sing, and so I was in two choirs as well as the Concert Band by my senior year. I was also singing in my church choir until I left my hometown. Hell, I'm the de-facto director of my church choir right now until someone with real experience takes over the job. I'm the kind of guy who will get a song stuck in his head and it'll stay there until I find it and play it on my stereo once or twice. I've bought a couple of CD's that way. "Oh, THAT'S the song! Honey, I'm buying this!"
I can hear you saying "Yo, Dave, what's with this heart-pouring-out thing? Shut the hell up and rage!" I'll get around to it. But this whole post was started when I was searching for a song I'd heard in a movie, and stumbled across this page. It's a tribute to a beautiful woman, and it has the song I was looking for. "A Welsh Lullaby". Why point it out? Hell, I don't know. Maybe because a song that good needs to be heard. You can listen from the page, or download it as an MP3. I guarantee, you've heard this song before, you just might not have known the name of it.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have "Panis Angelicus" running through my head, and I need to go find a recording of it.