Reply To: My experience of music

  • Paul

    July 18, 2023 at 11:58 am

    Hi Anneloes,

    So sorry not to reply earlier. Life is a bit of a roller coaster at the moment everything seems a bit tangential but thanks for your reply. I really appreciate it.

    Yes, I am applying what Iain is proposing. But, I think like a lot of people, Iain’s work represents for me a distillation of many years of thought and consideration into which his ideas have ‘clicked’ like a key into a lock. There has been a longing in me to find something as coherent as this for much of my life. There is no word but ‘longing’. Nothing else comes close.

    I wonder, in your search for a new philosophy of music, how you are approaching this? I seems to me that the materialistic world has a way of migrating into everything over time, like sands into an ancient ruin. To mitigate against this I have been moving away from structured music into simple improvisation against a metronome or looped drum part.

    I’ll start anywhere on the fretboard (I’m currently playing electric bass) and pick out an arpeggio, then expand this to a few phrases, adding more looped phrases as they occur.

    It seems the experience of ‘getting out of the way’ is very much the aim. I incorporate everything as I expand what I’m doing to more phrases, accidents, mistakes, wild guesses… allowing the music to decide its own course. To navigate I only have my aesthetic sense to guide me, trying to find something beautiful by successive approximation rather than planning or thought.

    I am also applying this to life away from the instrument, considering all ‘things’ (-not-things) as continua… chairs, doorframes, everything… as connected processes happening now, unfolding now, everything in motion.

    Pets are amazing if you interact with them in this way. I try to feel them as continuous with me, non-separate but co-located in experience. Our dog then helps me to learn this state all the better… becomes my teacher, directs me to the sensory and away from the mental and synthetic.

    This goes beyond dissociation of language into something quite profound for me fairly quickly, where things seem to present with more meaning… they stop being ‘things’ and become forms or shapes; there’s an experience of connection.

    In music similarly… I’m not thinking of scales, chords or theory except in passing. I ignore it and go back to the experience finding something playful in the intersection of time and sound: something fundamental rather than developed, something unfolding rather than fixed.