Thursday, September 23, 2010

On Sound

Music is a quality organized in sound is a definition posited by Robert Fripp that works quite well for me. Sound, the energy caused by a voice, string, skin, reed, or other solid that has been vibrated & put into motion, forming the objective cause of our hearing. Every age, culture, & religion has their own methods of organizing sounds; with preferences for particular instruments, melodies, harmonies, & rhythms.

I take my guitar into my hands and invite a note to sound. Even with this limitation of a solo instrument many choices are available to me; the pitch, the of length time the pitch is sounded, the dynamics of the attack, vibrato, and other subtle factors. Why invite a particular note to sound in a particular way for a certain length of time? Why follow it with another note or the same note with these various choices of influencing the energy of the note; the choices of influencing all the notes that follow? Why play a collection of notes simultaneously? Why melodies and counter melodies? Arpeggios? Harmonies? These are questions of organization which are taught in many ways. And these organizations of sound serve the quality in the music.

Courting the quality expressed through organized sounds is the quest that stirs me to practice night after night. That energizes me to embrace my practice when my desire is waning. Sound shows me the way, teaches me how to be. Sound wakes me up when I am not present; invites others in when I am. Allows me to approach giving voice to that which is best expressed with music. Sound is my teacher, so let me listen with rapt attention to all the sounds that I make, tonight and always.

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