More Thoughts About Music

Why is the image I see in the mirror, so different from the image on the photograph?  Which is a more accurate portrait?  And why do I feel so connected to this physical self when I've accepted that we all are manifested from the same sauce of energy.  Sounds like crazy talk.  It's difficult not to be foolish and cheesy and egotistical.  I used to lament that I hadn't become a musician, that I had failed to develop the most passionate art.  I blamed it on classical flute, which ironically is what also opened the door to new music.  New music is old music, very old music, when music was nothing more than people getting together, ancient music that arose as spontaneously as conversation.  My parents didn’t like the Music from Ugandan Jews CD.  It wasn’t professional, they said.  Just some people getting together in the village to sing.  But how much better can it get than that, to be in the heart of the music making, not only in the moment that the notes are produced, but the moment the notes are conceived?  Often, it is not about notes at all.  Often it is about wave or color or story or dance or emotion.  Notes, an artery in the soul of sound.  What about Evelyn Glennie?  Watch Touching the Sound and get back to me.  What about Meredith Monk and Keith Jarrett?  What about Andy Goldsworthy?  (Another must see: Rivers and Tides.  Same director.)  The most beautiful things are revealed.  All improvised, created in the moment for the moment and nothing more.  It takes time to get reacquainted with these types of sounds, having become so attuned to music engineered by industry, we no longer consider village music an art form.  A single listening is not enough.  I must listen three or four or more times until I can allow myself to hear what it actually happening.  How to divorce our ears from the perfection of the recording studio?  How much spontaneous music does anyone ever get to hear these days?  Maybe if you live in a big city where there’s lots of street musicians.  But mostly, musicians are afraid to play what hasn’t been rehearsed many times before, because they are competing with the engineered sound, highly refined and intellectualized and commodified.  Thank goodness for this new music movement, appearing in house concerts from Appleton to Austin, our porch music revolution.  Thank you for sitting on your porch Wednesday evenings when the weather permits and playing live music.  And thank you for spreading the word.  

tad neuhaus, banjo
joanna dane, vocals
emily dickinson, words

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