The morgenseiten of Katharsisdrill 24 - Swinging bodies

in morgenseiten •  8 days ago

Music, music, music. I have been buried in thoughts about music lately. Music was always artistically my control group - the place where meaning - jokes, irony, paraphrasing, social commentary, politics was sifted through a fine filter, leaving everything but pure form, pure pattern, pure communication out. Very early I had the idea that art was made of three parts:

  1. Literature, spoken and written
  2. Images
  3. Music

I saw this as a gradient - from the square meaning of words to the pure abstraction of music. In the middle I had images - a media that was able of both.

I have never really found any flaws in the thought. It is still true in some way, but I have stopped giving one or the other precedence. After reading Wittgenstein I started to consider it all language, aspects of the way we can communicate and aspects of the limitations we have in our cognition of the world.

I tried to play the Bach Fugue and my body still remembers it. The quirky fingering that is necessary came to me without thinking and twisting my hand in weird ways was not at all as strenuous as I remembered it (I am not longer sure it is more difficult than some of the Chopin nocturnes I have played by the way). Somehow we always forget that our body is the most important part of art. We see it as something spiritual, but an artist has to work with his body. I never really thought about it until my own body started to malfunction, but these days I have the heightened awareness of the hypochondriac. So something obvious, something I always knew without knowing, has become obvious to me.

I am not sure how to fit the body into the system above. There is something strange about the idea that we have of spirituality. I think that it has to do with the limitations of our language. I thought of it after hearing this fantastic clip that @roused posted in a comment.

I get tears in my eyes when I hear it, something spiritual is sent to me, but the images shows me another thing. This is simple bodies, playing simple music, bodily music - listen to the instructions Mr. Taj Mahal gives the bass player "... fiddle it like that... " and then some humming, some body language. Nothing fancy just swing. At the same time incredibly complex, hard to explain with words, and just plain obvious to anybody that listens with their bodies.

Funny thing is that the same thing exists in both literature, painting, sculpturing, and a lot of other thing we do in our lives.


My friend @shortcut has started to write some posts every morning - #morgenseiten he calls it - morning-pages. Here is his explanation of the project:

It goes like this: you shall each morning write from the soul, anything going through your head.

He writes a lot more, but this is the essence :) (Read his first morgenseiten post here)

I have decided to try the same. I write from the top of my head every morning or late morning if I have been sleeping late. I only correct typos and make a headline afterwards. Else everything is left as written. Expect some of it to sound like stage directions.

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I never get tired of thinking about the magic of art, the three categories and the muscle memory aspect are useful ways to approach it.

I'm so glad you are spreading that Taj/Trucks/Douglas clip! It's been on my mind too for the past week too. I had a Taj Mahal album cranked up in the car and I was pointing out to my wife how he left nothing to chance in his vocals. I always really dug him, but over this past week my appreciation of his vocals has really grown.

The dobro player is Jerry Douglas, a master musician, I think a 4 time winner of the Musician of the Year in Nashville. He's known for bluegrass and bluegass/jazz fusion, but it is fun to see him doing the blues. This clip is from the same backstage rehearsal.

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What I was thinking of was something more than muscle memory. It is a kind of presence that is connected to being the one you are... hard to express. It is being in the world in a special way that just catch time and space. In classical music you have it too. Apart from technical perfection you simply have to put this thing on top, else you will not be a star. Some, like Pablo Casals, weren't even the greatest technician, but he is revered among classical musicians.

I love these clips you find. Here is another example where there is something left to chance - I found it because I had a PVC shakuhachi as a Christmas present some years ago, and started to be interested in flutes.

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What a great clip, Otha Turner is absolutely the real deal, in touch with himself.

I think we might be thinking along the same lines, but expressing it differently. I would call musical chops the mechanics of language. A language that you learn as a child is second nature to you, you don't need to think too much in order to convey feelings and emotions. But it's different with an acquired language, expression is more limited and more difficult.

So when I mention muscle memory, it is in terms of musical chops. It's that natural state you can easily fall back into. If you have that "language ability" and you are connected to your inner essence, then you can speak the language of the soul -- real music, regardless of genre.

For me the inner essence is the soul, and music is the language of the soul, the language of the universe, the creator, God, the Spirit, or a "A Love Supreme" (however one describes it) -- and truly great artists not only speak it, they are able to channel the inspiration of higher spirit and it flows through them.

That's how I've come to think of it.


PS I was impressed with the guitarist playing slide on that clip. I should have known about Luther Dickinson, but I didn't.

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Yes, we might be nearing the same thing from different angles. My Nordic temperament does not give me easy access to the spiritual plane, or rather surrendering to it, that has to be a rocky road for us Northlings it seems.

But we hear the same when we hear these strangely flowing flute sounds I am sure :)

And yes, I thought Dickinson accompanied Turner beautifully.

That Taj Mahal guy has some voice, very bluesy and the harmonica goes well with the song.

Believe it or not I used to play the keyboard, and at one time could recite Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata part 1 in its entirety from memory, such were the days.

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I believe you! Why did you stop?

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I emigrated to the US, sold my keyboard and somewhere along the way forgot how to play. It's quite distressing when I see a piano and remember what I could do and now can't.

I still have an ancient Roland XP-50 right above me still in its box, but have no room to set it up anymore.

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It is like bicycling. Once you have learned it it just takes 6 hours of practice every day for two years to get back into it.

I love music, but not all kinds, jazz music one of my favorite bikes, the strains make my mind very comfortable ,,

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I love jazz - if all else fail, a jazz record always works.

when I heard the music I always imagine my friends when high school first, we learn to dance together ,, we always laugh ,,

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Sounds wonderful :)