Monthly Archives: February 2019

What happens when we listen?

We relate to the emotional elements of the music, its expressive nuances, through the tonal relationships we directly and emotionally perceive. In music these elements are ordered to some logical and structural whole, which may include contrasts, conflicts, or very different colorings, with the result that our own emotional responses are also being ordered by the music. This explains the uplifting effect of good classical music: we feel recognized and vindicated in our deepest, most intimate being – and at the same time, emotional ripples are organized, harmonized, put into the right places and into relationships where they interact positively, adding up to a whole which is more that the sum of its parts. Such music makes us experience how we would feel if we could live up to our potential, on a level deeper than the intellect, more profound than words or descriptions, because it reaches layers of being which existed earlier than the superstrata of consciousness and intellect which were developed from our childhood onwards. In other words, such music is the “language” of the soul before consciousness.

Article on ‘deep listening’ at the site of the Future Symphony Institute:

Deep Listening

Revival?

Given the state of contemporary culture, the idea of a revival of classical, tonal music may seem to be a rather cavalier idea, and without much perspective of succeeding. But often it is exactly the dissatisfaction with the times which inspires the search for a better alternative:

Someone then might say: “What is all this, my friend? Have you determined to revive a custom that is beset with inherent difficulty and has long since fallen into desuetude? And this in the face of a hostile and recalcitrant fortune? Whence do you draw such confidence that you would decorate the Roman Capitol with new and unaccustomed laurels? Do you not see what a task you have undertaken in attempting to attain the lonely steeps of Parnassus and the inaccessible grove of the Muses?” Yes, I do see, oh my dear sirs; I do indeed see this, oh Roman citizens. “Sed me Parnasi deserta per ardua dulcis raptat amor,” as I said at the outset. For the intensity of my longing is so great that it seems to me sufficient to enable me to overcome all the difficulties that are involved in my present task.

Words by the brilliant Italian poet Francesco Petrarca (1304 – 1374), one of the earliest humanists.