Sunday, September 5, 2010

Music hath charms to soothe the savage editor

Music holds the world together for you.  Music is the psychic glue that bonds you to the beings and places and things about you, the sweet plangent gravity that causes attraction between bodies, determines rate of fall and mediates the rules of inertia by which you move or remain in emotional place or indeed feel anything at all.  Every time you hear music in one or more of its forms so agreeable to you, you are brought face to face with the awareness of your near illiteracy of its written language.

True enough, you can tell the whole note from its component parts, all the way down to the sixty-fourth note.  You recognize the sign that signifies rest or pause, and your Italian helps you with such vitals as when to start back at the beginning or what the intended emotional register is of a particular movement.  Even if you did not know the words, adagio lamentoso carries the slow stately procession of funereal dirge.  Nevertheless you are as far from being able to interpret it in its written form as players of it are able to do nor to speak of it with any but the most subjective result as you are emotionally removed from a language such as Greek or Sanskrit.

Being vulnerable in your ignorance causes your frequent reflection on how your results with words, sentences, and paragraphs has such greater depth, humbling you while making you yearn for equal skill with music and being simultaneously grateful for the use of words you have as yet forged over the fires of your ignorance.

Music and words require of their devotees constant practice in the physical sense of playing and writing but also in the ingestion sense of listening and reading.  If the two become conflated or confused, so much the better for the appreciation and understanding of each because each craft is about the use of symbols representing tones, performed against the background of time.  There are symbols to demonstrate the time frame in both music and writing.

The rewards of constant practice in either process are greater awareness of your feelings, closer access to them, and the remarkable ability to assign at your whim notes and words evocative of them.

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