Music is a philosophy, rich in ideas that language cannot say

Music is a philosophy, rich in ideas that language cannot say

The present pandemic has brought us closer to ourselves. There is dissonance. The rhythms are haphazard. Contrary motions of jangling melodies confront us. We seem to be living in a maze of minor keys and open-ended cadences. We move chromatically, step by step. The array of discord challenges us. We’re searching for resolution. …

We’re used to the companionship of music. We rely on it as pleasure dome and panacea: ‘Music is the shorthand of emotion,’ Leo Tolstoy subtitles his play The Living Corpse (1911). Music’s ineffability transports us away from the mundane, allays sadness, evokes laughter, brings us to tears and rallies us to stand in unison. It confronts our fears and aspirations. When the saxophonist Charlie Parker said: ‘Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn,’ he wasn’t only talking about bringing the vividness of life to your jazz, but of rendering music as your life. …

The art of musical thinking offers a perspective and a context for composing our experiences. It provides a philosophical foundation that embraces dissonance alongside harmony, and casts sound and silence as equal protagonists in a democracy, where the realisation that dualities such as tension and consensus coexist is a core tenet of a vibrantly realised life. If we learn to sit with the inexplicable sounds of our historical moment, we’ll open an unexpected path of self-elucidation, and contribute to questioning and redefining the society we’re creating. This art follows the holistic path practised by composers who seek to synthesise their vast palette of aural properties. Composers have one advantage. They control the ending.

By Xenia Hanusiak, Psyche Magazine

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