songofcopper: (Purrodigy)
Last evening I was reading a fascinating article about the ANS - an unusual synthesiser developed in Russia in the 1930s. It was designed in 1938 by a certain Evgeny Murzin and was named after the composer and occultist Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin. The unusual thing with the ANS is that it is not operated in the conventional way of synthesisers - or of musical instruments in general - i.e., you do not instruct its pitch and tone by pressing or touching it. To quote the article linked above,

‘Instead you etch images onto glass sheets covered in black putty and feed them into a machine that shines light through the etchings, triggering a wide range of tones. Etchings made low on the sheets make low tones. High etchings make high tones. The sound is generated in real-time and the tempo depends on how fast you insert the sheets.’

Splitting the atom of the self )


Another friend started me on another, somewhat-relevant train of thought by discussing the propensity for psychological states to affect physical ones. This meandered towards an idea that it would be fun to have physical states affect musical forces (e.g. your blood pressure hooked up to guitar effects). Immediately my mind was full of hilarious possibilities.

Unwitting automata )


Human will has scant reach, I feel. The last thing I want is Power - or at least, I’m tolerably certain that I don’t have any. Rather, I’m an instrument awaiting a Composer.
songofcopper: (CAKEZ!!!)

"Music (of quality) provides nutriment - spiritual calories. We all need these and are actively, though often unconsciously, seeking them out."

That thought from the other day has not left me alone since. Food, I think, is the only useful metaphor (that I've yet encountered) for the Substance of Music.

(Yes... the Substance of Music. It can be present or not-present, it can be perceived, it can be made and it can be contained. It can only be destroyed in the way that anything can be 'destroyed' - by being broken down and remade into something else.)

I've always felt that the only helpful way to describe music is to invoke food-language. You can't get far by explaining that the Joe Bloggs Band sounds a bit like the Fred Jones Group crossed with the Mary Smith Quintet - this is of limited help to anyone who hasn't heard Fred Jones or Mary Smith... or indeed to anyone who dislikes Fred Jones or Mary Smith.

But if you say that the Joe Bloggs Band combines richness with astringency, or spiciness with a lick of salt, that gives an immediate, visceral notion of what it might be like. Most people eat food, let's face it.

So there's that.

But it struck me suddenly, powerfully, yesterday, that how we make, share and consume music - how we prepare it, how we give and receive it - is exactly like our behaviour around food. Going way beyond the dotty linguistic tropes favoured by yer hapless scribe (*waves!*), our music, culturally, exhibits the same tendencies as a cuisine.

It was the word 'hobby' that got me to this thought. I had read two people's remarks on 'music as a hobby', and somehow that word rankled - it felt incorrect from my perspective. When I'm making music, it's not something I do to pass the time or to give me something to talk about at parties. (I'm not suggesting that this is really the aim of many people who make music, by the way - just that the word 'hobby' is not quite apt.) There is also this idea of separation between 'work' and 'hobby', and a thought that for each participant, music is one or the other. We have, alongside that, this notion of 'turning one's hobby into a career' - which tends to be characterised either as The Ultimate Ideal or Utter Blinkin' Sacrilege.

When I put this dissatisfaction with the word 'hobby' next to thoughts on music-as-food, suddenly it became obvious.

What I am doing is not an optional entertainment activity - it's as necessary and automatic as cooking a meal.

Breaking Bread )
songofcopper: (pendigestatory interludicule ^_^)

Perhaps when we respond to a music it is filling up a space within us/going to meet an appetite/our appetite is going to meet It. Music (of quality) provides nutriment - spiritual calories. We all need these and are actively, though often unconsciously, seeking them out.

Grammatical Gravy )

Good old Universe. It's a bit like Staples: 'You want it, we got it!'

Permit me, gentle reader, to elaborate. (And, cheekily, to address you as 'gentle reader'.)

Thursday night, I Ooood the Tooob in search of the luminous Mr Fripp. A small urge to cup an ear around his well-received album 'Exposure' led me hither and yon.

Circular Encounters )


songofcopper: (Default)

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This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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