Alice in Texas

Not writing here anymore- see top post for details of my new blogs.

Monday, June 27, 2005

sounds of the spheres


Music is the divine language. It speaks to our emotions, which are our physical sense of the universe, and tells us of humanity. It is beautiful, because the world is beautiful.

Obviously I'm not talking about heavy metal here. Some "music" is designed not to express truth but to block it out by making your ears hurt so much that if anything else ever mattered you can't remember it. Perhaps there is good heavy metal music, I wouldn't know. Where one person hears embarrassing sentimentality another person identifies with simple feeling. But people can and do use music to obliterate reality and affirm their worst ideas, which is a terrible way to treat the wonders of the world, and yourself.

Of course, harmonomelodical abuse crosses all genres. There are classical afficianados who wallow in Beethoven and Verdi for all the wrong reasons too. Music can be used like an addictive drug, for perpetuating the avoidance of unsolved problems and a troubled conscience.
It provides an illusory kind of emotional experience when a person is in retreat from their inner reality. It gives them the impression of having lived, integrated and resolved feelings they were merely observing from a comfortable distance. It's not appreciation, it's appropriation.

The calming effect does not last long, so they go back and repeat as needed. A person who is totally emotionless, insensitive and uninterested in intimacy in their real life, but who listens regularly to heart-wrenching great music at one end of the scale, or thumpingly simplistic and repetitive sentimental nonsense at the other, is probably a serial killer. If they can listen to Mozart's requiem and not be inspired to live better afterwards, or play the same 80s power-ballad sixteen times in a row and not actually smash up both the record and the record player by the end, then there is definitely something very wrong and potentially dangerous going on. Stay away from them.

I am enjoying my new piano more than I can say, but I fear that my piano teacher of yore, Miss Kitchin, may have been right when she said that the secret to lifelong pianistic fulfilment was keeping up one's Hanon exercises. Whereas my violin playing improved just from a change in mental approach, my piano playing is stuck because my hands won't move as fast as my brain is telling them. This seems to be a much bigger issue on the piano; because each individual note is easier to play, you have to do far more of them and quicker.

A lot of people trained as children give up music later on because they don't see the point in playing at all unless for professional performance. You're not being paid and you're not contributing anything new to the world's musical culture- it's too much hard work to be enjoyable just for one's own ears, and/or there are just more important things to put one's creativity into. For me, it is an opportunity to experience the divine one step closer than by listening. I said "opportunity" because it's not enough to bash out the notes- you have to make them into the real music they should be, which is very difficult. But as far as I'm concerned, there is vastly more spiritual truth and beauty in Beethoven, Bach and Mozart than most things one is likely to hear on the average religious music TV show. Like I said (and I had to make this word up because there isn't one in English for the physical nature of what music is, so, sorry) harmonomelodical abuse crosses all genres.


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