Saturday, July 20, 2013

New Beginning

During my work day on Thursday I was thinking about the history of one of our clients.  Both of his parents are Holocaust survivors.  I wonder at the stories they possess and the horrors they have lived through.  Was there a piece of music whispering to me?  How would I become available to receive this piece?

There I sat eating my lunch with a sense or sentiment of what to express.  For me at this point the work will be for solo guitar, so one limit is already established.  Where & how to begin?  A cliched thought of boot steps echoing down a hallway arises, but a bit more ambiquity seems apropos.  Do I have the musical language to express this?  Ah, there it is - that subtle thought of doubt, masking the face of fear.  Welcome home old friend.  Breathing in I smile to this doubt and know that I will wrestle with this during my evening practice.

How else to develop the language then to speak?  To probe and prod, experiment and fail; dwelling not on the moments of struggle but taking energy from the search and slowly moving forward. Deciding I needed a scale to begin from, I arrived at C Phrygian Dominant.  Now the stage was set for the evening's work.

As I sat down with my guitar, that moment arose of recognizing the unknown and wading in.  I'm generally comfortable within the confines of my practice space with being lost & clueless; hopefully with enough openness and attention to hear when music has whispered.  Embracing the uncertainty of my knowledge and the mild stress of my challenge; I trust that time with the process will bring order from the chaos of choices. At the very least I will learn & possibly produce a something of merit.  Exploring the relationships within the scale, allowing triads to form & dissolve, I listen as melodies arise & slip away.

One melody stands out and I have found my base to explore from.  Where does this melody wish to go next?  Gentle efforts find the next phrase, yet I feel this piece needs energy and darkness.  Still gentleness governs the evening's efforts.  So be it.  In a world full of suffering, and while contemplating this suffering a gentle practice is at the very least useful.

                                                             Photo by Barry Stock


  1. A few ago I read Elie Weisel's "Night." And as I read I was overwhelmed by the hopelessness his and so families faced each day. I have a sense that it might be relatively easy to convey feelings of happiness or sadness in a piece of music, but hopelessness.......