Sunday, July 25, 2010

A music theory teacher in college maintained that music is, above all, a social art. This seems obvious at first glance, but I wonder if it social in the way that we usually intend the word?

I am a performer in part because I need music to be social, not in the sense that I need a room full of people in order to perform. There is more to it.

My ear works idiosyncratically, it always has. I could never explain how it works; I didn't need to because I knew that the audience followed it the way they would follow a story read aloud to them. They didn't need to agree or disagree; simply by listening (as opposed to walking out) they affirmed that the way I hear is interesting. That affirmation has been important to me since I was very young.

Being listened to is vital to a performing musician or composer. That's the social part.