Monday, September 23, 2013

Thinking About Time

Vibrations are not the smallest possible units of time but they will do as concrete experiences of the very small, since we have 16,000 vibrating hair cells in each cochlea with which to perceive them.  Eternity is somewhere on the opposite side of the spectrum.  Music inhabits both extremes at once.

The time in between -- what musicians call tempo / rhythm -- may be confusing if the time of vibration interferes with objective measurements of actual time.  The best analogy for this is the bedside heart monitor in the hospital: Marked off in seconds, the regular pulsating heartbeat is no problem to track.  Ring a doorbell and all hell breaks loose.  You are not going to tell me that one can possibly equate the seconds of regular ticking with that level of chaos!  

And so it is with musical vibrations.  Children perceive them in precisely that detail unless it is brainwashed out of them at an early age.

As for eternity, back to the Messe de Tournai.