Music-Making as Time Travel

  • I put this in the Misc. category because it applies to all idioms. It's just a matter of application.

    "Music-Making as Time Travel".

    It really got me thinking. So much of making music is external. Yes, we strive for feelings "closer to the bone," but so often the externals get in the way. We think of sound, range, flexibility, endurance, all things, while necessary, but which take us further away from the internal. At best, we do a juggling act.

    But is this how we began? I started by closing my eyes, even going into an unlit closet to listen to myself; to bring out the internal. I played to express what was inside of myself, to transport myself to another plane. "Music-Making as Time Travel".

    As time went on, I got more aware of the technical side. Working on exercises, getting further away from the time travel and more into the practical now. One needs technique to enhance one's expression, but how often do we get caught into that at the expense of self-expression?

    Have you found yourself, especially in this time of isolation, to just do the perfunctory or to take time to "time travel", to transport yourself to a different musical universe?

    source material:

  • I have tried to play through studies buy removing the bars. Just playing the lines without being "confined" to 3,4,5 or 6 beats to the measure. Doing this is amazing at freeing up your constraint to time and opens up more freedom to phrasing.

  • I'm talking about something even more internal than that, but that's good point. The proverbial "Tyranny of the Barline".

    As we know, phrasing is not so, necessarily, bound by barlines. In Jazz improvisation, one is freer from this rigidity but it applies to "classical" music, as well. A simple example (sorry, I don't know how to create and post my own graphics) is an eighth-note at the end of a bar. We can look at many note groupings and say, that's the end of the phrase, banging a metrical phrase interpreted as barline downbeats. But is it that, or a pick-up note into the next phrase?

    Marcel Tabuteau was a master of phrasing and wrote, The Art of Phrasing which is brilliant. Any musician wanting to expand his/her phrasing possibilities and, hence, gain better, more sophisticated, musicianship should read it. This is a good time to do that.

    A good alternative is Note Grouping by James Thurmond, which is based on the theories of Tabuteau and others but is expressed differently
    Good point, Dr GO.

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