Re: Thoughts on music/sound
Fri, 18 Jul 1997 13:39:00 -0700

---------------------------- Forwarded with Changes ---------------------------
From: at @UCSD
Date: 7/18/97 11:43AM
*To: at @UCSD
Subject: Re: Thoughts on music/sound
Another forward from the Cage list "silence" -Peter

At 08:47 AM 7/18/97 EDT, John Saylor wrote:
>I'm as happy, but maybe that's because I often play piano with my children.
>But it seems wrong to me to think that there is no joy to be had with music as
>an adult- maybe you need a career change. I did the academic music thing and
>music was not nearly as joyful as it is now that I am out of it.
>I listen to what I want, I play what I want, I talk about the music I like. I
>don't have to correct harmony papers [yikes!], or listen to colleauges
>pontificate about their own importance under the guise of explaining some
>minutiae of Bartok [Schubert/Mussorskii- take your pick].
>So, go bang those pots and pans!

I'm not a musician, but I've been thinking about this process with music
ever since my daughter was born. As many parents do with their children,
I've been singing to her from day one. Now, my voice is not good, and I
don't think I've ever sung much in front of people since I was a teenager,
except for the occassional "Happy Birthday." Any time I quoted lyrics or
songs, I just spoke them. Now, my daughter is 2-1/2, and she and my wife
and I sing all the time. I think my voice has improved as a result, but I'm
still wary of onlookers when we're belting out "Home On the Range" or "Take
Me Out to the Ballgame" in the car because my daughter wants to sing it
*very loud*.

Nonetheless, I find myself making music all the time. Often, I'm just
making noises or spinning words or syllables or random notes. It's
permeating my life, and it sure is fun. I no longer care whether people
think I can't sing or if I miss a note. I haven't gone totally crazy, and
you won't find me humming at my desk among my co-workers, but the music is
right there, where I'm assuming it has always been, except now I've shoved
off the layers of concern which have buried that level of joy, which have
inhibited my mind, my voice.

Another aspect of music, which you musicians and composers may be more
constantly in touch with and which I'm just starting to really appreciate,
is the communal sense you get from performing together. Not only is it fun
to sing together, but the feeling of communication and sense of union
derived from it is unequalled in human experience.

It's funny that this topic popped up just now, because when I arrived to
pick up my daughter at daycare yesterday, she was sitting at a little
electronic organ, under the wing of an 11 year old, and simply banging away
on the keys. She looked at me with about as big a smile as you can imagine.

Maybe we'll get out those pots and pans over the weekend.

Steve Petermeier
"... but see, the point is that all music is practical. It's hands-on
stuff. It's things that you can do. It's stuff you can make happen. You
produce these sounds in your space and they wash against your body. The
thing that makes identity is partly the tunes and also the way that they
jerk your body around and make you jump and dance. So music is very
practical." -- Tony Conrad

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