Monday, December 13, 2010

The Possibilities of One Note

Christmas #5

What are the possibilities of a single note?  The Berio exercise of playing the same note 11 different ways has certainly opened up the possibilities of one note to me.  But then what about the possibilities of the next note that follows in a melody?  Or the possibilities of a note used in harmony?  This can easily become overwhelming, unless I am listening.  When I am listening, I am present to what I am doing. Being present is powerful and open to the possible and the practical.

Driving to work today, I wondered how many pieces of music have begun with the note "C?"  How many symphonies, concerti, string quartets, dances, and popular songs begin with this particular note?  I am certainly not going to spend a lot of time researching the answer, but I did enjoy the questions.  The point is that a piece of music has to begin with at least one note, or a dyad, or a chord, or a cluster.  Begin where you are.  Where am I?

I was listening to Aybdos on Fingering the Devil by Sir Richard Bishop on my evening commute tonight and was reminded of a piece I began months ago that has a similar feel.   Enjoying his music,  I decided I should play with this idea again.  Ironically this idea began with a C, C5 to be accurate, the scale is C Hijaz.  These two limits, a first note and a scale are enough to begin.  Throw in a rhythmic feel for the piece and I am well on my way.  To quote Robert Henri from the Art Spirit "Those who cannot begin, do not finish."  What are you waiting for?

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