Metaphors (stream of consciousness)
I thought about how one concept can contain worlds. I thought about how each concept is made up of infinite meanings, and how, in fact, according to our experience of life, everything is linked, memories, perceptions, sensations and emotions. I thought about how the notes and the words are an actual code. Even when we do not treat them as such, they immediately communicate to so much more, far more than our conscious minds can process.
I thought about Helen Keller, about how things related for her, without being able to see or hear: The words took on other meanings; the meanings themselves were captured through a different perception, and it just goes to show how rich and infinite our perception is. After all, the areas in which she could define concepts, are available to us all, to sense, process and feel. We ignore this wealth of information because it is impossible to relate to everything. But it exists. Somewhere.
Then I thought of this saying, on top of the Mountain of the Camel on the edge of the Ramon Crater in Israel: "Everywhere you look, see yourself." When I read it at first, I thought it referred to what I saw there at that time: The sand of the desert, the sky, the sun setting on the horizon, the sensation of the wind, my children... and felt how true it is. But since then I have realized, that this saying is true everywhere, at any given time. Every single thing we sense or feel or perceive is a part of us. Not one person will read the same sentence in the same way, or look at the same picture from the same angle in the same way, or hear the same music in the same way. Each one of us will have a unique understanding of every concept we encounter, that will communicate differently and encompasses an entire universe.
And yet some things are universally common, shared by all. Some absolute truths. And if we intend, if we aim, we can share our experience in much more than words and pass it on. Pass this force, energy, love, almost subconsciously. A sort of code in which mysterious and almost transcendental meanings are merged. A code so complex that we ourselves are not aware of how we create or decipher it, in music and in life. But at the same time, something inside us, in each and every one of us, no matter what age, or in what era, or where on earth we are, can create and decipher this code effortlessly and understand it, touch and be moved by it.
I think it happens because everything is connected. Everything connects.
I once had to write this paper at a seminar, and conducted a somewhat simplistic experiment, in which I tried to research the connection between sound and concepts that define touch, and why we sometimes define sounds in words related to touch. One of the possible explanations I offered was that certain sounds connect to groups of concepts of pleasant or unpleasant sensations, another explanation linked concepts and sounds in the sense of the energy level they relate to us, and another explanation discussed the configuration of sound waves, which are actually absorbed in a tactile manner by the tiny hairs on our eardrums, hairs that move to the vibrations of the sound waves that reach the ear as in a musical dance.. but each of these explanations only scratched the surface of the world of concepts, sounds, and perception, and of the infinite wealth that lies in it.
And then I ask myself how does this all help us as musicians? How can we improve our ability to reach a poetic understanding of music? Well, naturally, this is a basic ability that is instilled in all of us, just like the ability to understand a word. And that ability serves us when we hear music and become moved by it effortlessly, without any need to consciously analyse or understand the slightest thing (and that is its beauty :) ). But in order to transmit the music and move it on, we performers need to improve this ability and sharpen it.
When Cortot and Pnina suggested (or rather, demanded) to enter the composers' skin and assimilate into their world, to get to know the landscapes, the literature, the philosophy, the experiences they underwent, the music they wrote, their intention was to enrich the world of our experiences. As one understands how a close person speaks, and what he means when his words are said in a particular phrasing or tone, we may understand the music in the same way. The shade, the style, the intention. And this wealth of experiences makes us precise, accurate and convincing. It's no longer a vague concept, somewhere in the back of our subconsciousness. We live it in a much more tangible and present way.
And everything is connected, everything is linked, the harmony, the melody, the structure and the musical development, the movement of the hand, the tone of the sound, the emotion. The more we observe these elements in the poetic context of music, the better we shall understand it.
In the end, when we play, all of these realizations will go back to the form of the code. That mystical code. But when we breathe it back into the listeners, every element in it, without any effort, will contain the precise, sweeping essence that will motivate their hearts. Because the work we did stirred our own hearts in the precise direction. And then, all that is left for us is only to forget it all and allow ourselves to be swept into those worlds that we have created. We are simultaneously concentrating and directing, and releasing and drifting; giving into a part of ourselves, which is, at the same time much greater than ourselves, leading us, and then soaring off...