Monday, June 13, 2016

My Musical Kingdom

There are all sorts of things in life that I can't control. Some of the things I can't control affect me directly, and some of them affect me indirectly. There are tyrants in the form of government officials, media moguls, and people with whom I have direct contact.

Within the larger musical world there are gatekeepers (both near and far away) and people who have to operate while carrying around excessive ego baggage (which must be fed). I am largely ignored by most gatekeepers, but I try not to let it get me down because when I am practicing I am the complete master of my own musical kingdom.

I choose what music I want to play, and I choose what I want to do with it musically, phrase by phrase. I often have control of the "when" I choose to play, and can decide on what instrument I wish to play. It is then that I get to visit musical kingdoms (many from long ago) that open up their wonders as I expand my possibilities of expression and gain a gradual mastery of technique. I also have, through the IMSLP, an enormous library of music to explore, much that hasn't seen publication since the 18th century.

When I write music I enter into the inner sanctum of my own musical kingdom where I play around with the pitches, rhythms, and textures of music itself. When I am "there," it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks is right or wrong because I am the only person of authority. In the instances when I encounter something "right" it feels truly "right." Nobody can take that feeling of "rightness" away from me, and that "rightness" is the fiber of the music that I write. Or have written. Unlike playing, which vanishes into the ether, the pitches, rhythms, and textures of written music remain to be experienced again and again, and to be interpreted by people with entirely different musical personalities.

The traditional image of a kingdom, with a castle fortress (to be defended), and a moat to keep away strangers doesn't apply to my kingdom. I have nothing to defend, as, as far as I know, I do not have any enemies. But my musical kingdom sometimes feels like an island because it is rather isolated, both physically and "spiritually" from much of the world. In order to interact musically (or otherwise) with other people in the world, I often need to leave my island. I really like it when people come to visit (either by reading this blog, playing some of my music, playing music together, or coming to take lessons), and I appreciate it when they let me know that they enjoyed the time they spent "here."

1 comment:

jonathanbrodie said...

A splendid essay that describes an enviable place. I'm getting there...
and hope to have completely arrived there in a year of two.

Time's a wastin'....