Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Modeling Music

Theorists everywhere seem to be fascinated with the problem of modeling music.  This is not what I do, except insofar as music is a deeply personal, subjective experience and, as such, wondrously difficult to share except in the act of making it happen together with others - like singing hymns, or listening together as some extraordinary music is unfolding -  good jazz in an intimate club setting, for example.

By giving visual form to subjective aspects of listening, Tonal Refraction invites dialogue between two people looking at the same subjectively-generated visual object.  This, in turn, may lead to an otherwise unreachable level of communication about the deeply private act of hearing.  At any rate, dialogue or no, it opens the possibility that one is not alone with what one hears, the way one hears it.

The model too often becomes a substitute for paying real attention.  As I have pointed out before there is an element of disbelief in every moment of true listening:  Did I really hear that?  I have a whole theory of the repeat sign:  It exists so that you, the player, must be sure that the listener is always hearing something for the first time, therefore, the "repeat" sign actually means the opposite of "Repeat!"  It means:  "Whatever you do, do not play these notes the way you did the first time!"