Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Sounds are very telling of the world around us, but also of our inner world.

If ideas are to be conferred through music, then syntax will not only be the medium, but the very core of the music. To intellectualize music is basically to tie it up with language.

Poetry cannot be reduced to linguistics. It is the very essence of that which transcends language.

If music is to dwell in the realms of poetry, syntax should be dethroned.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Appearance - Reality - Appearance

Appearances can be deceiving. What is usually meant by this saying concerns the perception of something or someone by someone else. But the deception I'm referring to has to do with an individual in relation to him/herself.

The process of artistic creation starts deep within the artist's inner world. But soon after the psyche is impregnated by the creative seed (a seed that can be all-encompassing and atmospheric, resembling sometimes a state of madness), imagination must be confronted with reality. And often, in an instant, reality prevents imagination from pouring into the physical world. Only a few strands of the imaginary make it, just like insemination.

The appearance that is formed by the creative impulse meets reality by way of materialization. Sound is a difficult raw material, for it has no physical weight. In this respect, sound may give the impression of being closely bound to the imaginary, of never leaving it, for it doesn't seem to materialize completely. So what do composers tend to do? Organize sound grammatically, as a form of language. The result, the final appearance, then sounds like someone trying to describe something. Description is a symbolic way of understanding and getting a sense of something (an object or a phenomenon), but it's not the thing itself. Of course, no physical reality can be the thing imagined itself, but it can recreate it. The difference between recreating and describing is a central issue in art. In music composition, description is closer to musicology, and thus a deception. To recreate details of the inner world is closer to art.

Thus we have: Appearance (inner world) - Reality (sound) - Appearance (recreation).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The quasi-impossibility of artistic music

Music has mainly been about ideas. Ideas translated into an ordering of sounds (pitches for the most part). Unless there is a common pseudo-language through which people can eventually grow meanings, like tonality was, ordered sounds cannot convey ideas. Although it's sometimes floating around like a dream (nightmares mostly), tonality ceased to be an artistic possibility a long time ago. Unfortunately most composers still believe ideas can be perfectly channeled through sound, a belief that has secretly transformed itself into making order in music the main idea. And so, countless "personal" systems of music-making have flourished over the last century.

It seems that composition has been involved in a blind (or rather, deaf) search for meaning: looking for order (even if trying to convey chaos) as if meanings and ideas were to spring from the nonsense. When disillusioned, the next logical step appears to be backwards to the past or to a postmodern limbo, being cynical about the impossibility of artistic creation.

Stubbornness in maintaining semantic order above all else has prevented a great deal of composers from opening their ears and listening. Of course, many have impeccable hearing, but the problem lies in what they're listening to. It might be that most want to dissect what they hear into combinable parts.

More than having the power to convey ideas, sound itself (with its movement and transformations) has the potential of establishing equivalencies. To what? To reality and to the individual psyche. This is of course nothing new, great artists have known this all along. But it's easier to infuse some logic to composition, as opposed to dealing with the diffuse and ephemeral raw matter that is sound. That's why true art (not art that's correct) is a rare thing, always has been.