Tag Archives: music

in the spirit

don’t say i didn’t warn you. once i get started on Moab, i simply can’t stop. here are 3% of the gems from Moab that resonate with me. some readers and reviewers complain that his writing style is too verbose. i can see why they think so – the word count alone is daunting to a casual reader. However, what is continuously astonishing to me (with each reread) is his remarkable ability to say precisely what i didn’t know about myself. I hate to say this, because it is untrue to some extent – but i relate to him. i say “untrue” because the context of his youth and mine are so astronomically different – and so our sets of worries and joys are also unidentical. but the feeling. Sigh.

i found these on the net (goodreads, etc – i rec that you buy the audiobook. nothing can beat fry’s own voice reading his own life. btw, his reading of the Fry Chronicles isn’t nearly as good. his voice thinned… because of the pipe smoking?)

“Life is sometimes novel-shaped, mocking the efforts of those authors who, in an effort to make their novels life-shaped, spurn the easy symmetry and cheap resonance of reality.”

“As I go clowning my sentimental way into eternity, wrestling with all my problems of estrangement and communion, sincerity and simulation, ambition and acquiescence, I shuttle between worrying whether I matter at all and whether anything else matters but me.”

“I used many times to touch my own chest and feel, under its asthmatic quiver, the engine of the heart and lungs and blood and feel amazed at what I sensed was the enormity of the power I possessed. Not magical power, but real power. The power simply to go on, the power to endure, that is power enough, but I felt I had also the power to create, to add, to delight, to amaze and to transform.”

“None of this is important in itself, but I feel somewhere that it has a lot to do with why I have always felt separate, why I have always felt unable to join in, to let go, to become part of the tribe, why I have always sniped or joked from the sidelines, why I have never, ever, lost my overwhelmingly self-conscious self-consciousness. It’s not all that bad. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing – they are not all bad. Those devils have also been my angels. Without them I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter and all the mad intensities that made and unmade me.”

“People who can change and change again are so much more reliable and happier than those who can’t”

“It is the useless things that make life worth living and that make life dangerous too: wine, love, art, beauty. Without them life is safe, but not worth bothering with.”

“And then I saw him and nothing was ever the same again.

The sky was never the same colour, the moon never the same shape: the air never smelt the same, food never tasted the same. Every word I knew changed its meaning, everything that once was stable and firm became as insubstantial as a puff of wind, and every puff of wind became a solid thing I could feel and touch.”

“Well I don’t know about you, but when I recall childhood pain, I don’t recall the pains of toothache, a thrashed backside, broken bones, stubbed toes, gashed knees or twisted ankles – I recall the pains of loneliness, boredom, abandonment, humiliation, rejection and fear. Those are the pains on which I might and, still sometimes do, dwell, and those pains, almost without exception, were inflicted on me by other children and by myself.”

“Choking with dry tears and raging, raging, raging at the absolute indifference of nature and the world to the death of love, the death of hope and the death of beauty, I remember sitting on the end of my bed, collecting these pills and capsules together and wondering why, why when I felt I had so much to offer, so much love, such outpourings of love and energy to spend on the world, I was incapable of being offered love, giving it or summoning the energy with which I knew I could transform myself and everything around me.”

“Music is everything and nothing. It is useless and no limit can be set on its use. Music takes me to places of illimitable sensual and insensate joy, accessing points of ecstasy that no angelic lover could ever locate, or plunging me into gibbering weeping hells of pain that no torturer could devise. Music makes me write this sort of maundering adolescent nonsense without embarrassment. Music is in fact the dog’s bollocks. Nothing else comes close.”

“Music was a kind of penetration. Perhaps absorption is a less freighted word. The penetration or absorption of everything into itself. I don’t know if you have ever taken LSD, but when you do so the doors of perception, as Aldous Huxley, Jim Morrison and their adherents ceaselessly remind us, swing wide open. That is actually the sort of phrase, unless you are William Blake, that only makes sense when there is some LSD actually swimming about inside you. In the cold light of the cup of coffee and banana sandwich that are beside me now it appears to be nonsense, but I expect you to know what it is taken to mean. LSD reveals the whatness of things, their quiddity, their essence. The wateriness of water is suddenly revealed to you, the carpetness of carpets, the woodness of wood, the yellowness of yellow, the fingernailness of fingernails, the allness of all, the nothingness of all, the allness of nothing. For me music gives access to everyone of these essences, but at a fraction of the social or financial cost of a drug and without the need to cry ‘Wow!’ all the time, which is LSD’s most distressing and least endearing side effects.

…Music in the precision of its form and the mathematical tyranny of its laws, escapes into an eternity of abstraction and an absurd sublime that is everywhere and nowhere at once. The grunt of rosin-rubbed catgut, the saliva-bubble blast of a brass tube, the sweaty-fingered squeak on a guitar fret, all that physicality, all that clumsy ‘music making’, all that grain of human performance…transcends itself at the moment of its happening, that moment when music actually becomes, as it makes the journey from the vibrating instrument, the vibrating hi-fi speaker, as it sends those vibrations across to the human tympanum and through to the inner ear and into the brain, where the mind is set to vibrate to frequencies of its own making.

The nothingness of music can be moulded by the mood of the listener into the most precise shapes or allowed to float as free as thought; music can follow the academic and theoretical pattern of its own modality or adhere to some narrative or dialectical programme imposed by a friend, a scholar or the composer himself. Music is everything and nothing. It is useless and no limit can be set to its use. Music takes me to places of illimitable sensual and insensate joy, accessing points of ecstasy that no angelic lover could ever locate, or plunging me into gibbering weeping hells of pain that no torturer could ever devise. Music makes me write this sort of maundering adolescent nonsense without embarrassment. Music is in fact the dog’s bollocks. Nothing else comes close.”

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it’s all semantics

I am in the habit of exchanging music, literature, and art with like-minded friends. A recent one to a music major went something like this (below). I’ve edited the emails a little for continuity and clarity. Heads up: these opinions are not meant to offend anybody. all opinions and views are solely mine and those of my friend’s.

ME:

http://suddenlyfalling.tumblr.com/post/19271153236/deareje-beautiful-piece-played-by

what do you think of this interpretation. it’s a bit sloppy, but i think i like it.
(ignore the wacky site, i can’t find a youtube version)
the reply (I’ve bolded the parts I take issue with):
The one thing this pianist does well, is bringing out the melodic voice.
Sometimes, maybe it’s too much that the chord qualities are not so clear.
For that reason, he should play more Bach..
 
Other than the melody line, I wasn’t so impressed,
I can’t feel much difference between duple and triple.
Also, when there are two notes between the hands, they don’t land quite together.
Of course Debussy writes the arpeggio sign all over the place, but you can’t really do arpeggios with just 2 notes— and I think that he is not intentionally doing it. Just lack of focus on those notes..
 
Well, Piano is hard and that’s why I’m not doing it.
And actually, I think that interpretations don’t really matter that much.
Unless it’s a disaster. Most people won’t even notice the subtle nuances..
Instead of nailing down every notes, playing the same music for 10 years, people need to move on and learn other things..
To me, a lot of Classical musicians don’t dig into new and less-known pieces.
Now, classical musicians are different from each other only because of subtle nuances in interpretations, which are not even that big of a deal. They lack of unique personality, and I don’t know if I should consider them as a part of the creative world—- compare these classical music performers to fine artists, actors, composers, writers and choreographers. How uncreative they are!
ME:
Well, he isn’t intensively trained as a classical musician-so I don’t expect him to have the chops. I didn’t much like the YouTube vids I found of him.
 
I am one of those people that REALLY care about the nuances. There are a lot of musicians that are technically competent, but I dislike their style of playing. I think that is y I like Joshua bell, he doesn’t have the best tech chops, but I like the way he lets his music breathe.
 
Although it is true that a lot of pieces are overdone by musicians, I don’t mind. There is a reason why some works are timeless. The guy prob got a lot of joy out of doing a beautiful piece of music, and that’s never wrong.
 
what a good Clair de lune I should listen to?
the reply:
Hmm. I thought Nuances meant very small details.
From the way you’re describing, the differences that you describe seem pretty big.
You mentioned about musicians who are technically competent and compared those to Bell, whom you admire for the music breathing.
This difference seemed to me pretty big deal.
Of course, these things should matter.
 
My definition of nuances is something very small- choices you make in nuances are neither right or wrong, it’s just a matter of taste. Well, somebody could say playing music purely with technical proficiency is also a matter of taste (because there are a lot of them and some are very successful), but I don’t really buy that, so no, not in my definition.
 
 
Although this one doesn’t say the name of the Pianist…. This one nailed down every note.
ME:
Ok, perhaps what I meant was INTERPRETATION, which, in a way, is the sum of all these nuances?
ALL RIGHT, so i took umbrage that my friend doesn’t place much importance on nuances, which, for me, is what makes a particular recording great. What is the purpose of covers, if not to make the piece your own? I’m not sure what he would say is the most importance “ingredient” in a successful, truthful cover.
In the email thread, we ran into a conflict over our usage of the words NUANCE and INTERPRETATION.
Here is what I got from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (i wanted the OED, but can’t). My understanding of the two words in context are in bold.

Definition of INTERPRETATION

1
: the act or the result of interpreting : explanation
2
: a particular adaptation or version of a work, method, or style
3
: a teaching technique that combines factual with stimulating explanatory information <natural history interpretation program>

Definition of NUANCE

1
: a subtle distinction or variation
2
: a subtle quality : nicety
3
: sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicateshadings (as of meaning, feeling, or value)
Thoughts??

mix and match

“I quote others only to better express myself.”

― Michel de MontaigneThe Complete Essays

I have a lot of things on my mind and they’re all a bit”up in the air” so my sleep has been fretful lately. I was falling asleep to Moab Is My Washpot and he was lamenting the fact that some folks willfully lead a life un-“illuminated by ideas”.

I’m not sure what sort of trajectory I am on. In a way, I want to defy classification, just to avoid being judged. People always smile tightly when I tell them I am a fiction writer. And the word poet sounds high-flung, for some absurd reason. I despise talking about myself (and by that I mean biographical details).

 

When I was in the States, I went to church twice. I am in no way religious. Spiritual, maaaybe, but I do not belong to any particular religious denomination. The church I went to serviced an astonishing number of people and I was swept up in the feeling on communion. I loved the feeling of singing hymns in a group 500 hundred strong. Everyone was peaceful, and open, and to be honest, going to the service did in fact relax me some what. Being an agnostic, I tuned out the more obvious worship sections of the service, but the rest was lovely. Is it weird that I feel this way? That church felt like meditation?


work bubble

 

 

I keep getting distracted, of course. I was watching the A&E doc on Elvis the other night and it reminded a question someone asked me after browsing my playlists.

“What’s so great about Elvis?”

YMMV, but I almost treat these questions as rhetorical ones. It’s like asking why MJ is the King of Pop. These titans of pop culture – either you like them or you don’t.* When I listen to or watch these kinds of people, I am overwhelmed not only by their talent, but by their charisma. I fall under a sort of spell that makes me even giddier and more intense (if possible) than I normally am.

* I’m a hypocrite, because for the past year, i have been educating myself on Beatles’ music. And you know what? It’s working.

 


I AM

a newcomer to Beyonce.

And I mean that in an intimate, more than glancing interest sort of way. I’d always admired her drive, her talent, and how she stays absolutely true to herself. I am in the midst of learning more about her music, her roots, and her influences.

I think now is an especially perfect time to immerse myself in her world. She’s made a incredible comeback after having her baby. I’m so excited to see how her style will evolve.

I may not be her biggest music fan (I have trouble loving some her belting ballads and hip-pop songs) but this woman is so strong and she’s definitely one of my heroes.

ETA: this post is incredible.


booked

it happens


she forgot to rewind the tape.

and again I weep with lady who. Lost the meatball and gained no means.
Where is father? And his camera?

Won’t there be a memory of this miserable shit?

there’s clapping during rehearsal

even some tears

some real people
Please welcome the real downer of the evening

wait for the firetruck

that’s the highlight.
of) a good night, I hope