Journey to Melosophia: adventures and explorations in Music-land
Greetings. I am a classical pianist, composer and writer.
I am also a non-academic philosopher. The space between music and philosophy is a fertile field. Tones and thoughts, melody and mental reflection -- this can be a happy marriage.
But it is no intellectual exercise, not musicology nor comparing different recordings of Mahler´s Fifth. Rather an attempt to see music from a bird´s eye view.
BUT WHAT IS "MELOSOPHIA"?
Originally it is a word I created to mean music-wisdom [=sophia]. But here it stands for the domain or country of music. Music-land.
The country of Melosophia contains all things musical: instruments, musicians, concert halls, music reviews, composers, CD-players, musicology, audiences. And of course all the music that exists.
It is a very large and varied territory and when I set out as a guide I am aware of my limitations. Who can survey it all? Who knows all instruments, composers and musical styles?
However, my limitations could be much greater. I am a voracious listener of every genre, and as practical musician my experience is varied. (See a more complete list below.)
Above all I have pondered music much; why it ticks, how to defuse it, make it explode, etc.
BUT WHAT IS THIS "JOURNEY" ABOUT?
It is like an expedition with the mission to find unknown and hidden musical regions, and unknown perceptions.
We usually think we know what music is, that it holds no further mysteries for us (except how Keith Jarret manages to play those tricky bars around 8 minutes in the Leipzig Concerto). Music is something we find on YouTube and Spotify and in our MP3-player. It is a stream, a soundtrack, something that permeates our days and nights.
But if you are reading this you already know that this ain´t so. There are many question marks around music, many mysteries. Why does it touch us? How can it make us so sad and happy? Why is the music of Beethoven so great? Or is it? What does music "mean"? And what is the connection with mathematics?
Here are some more questions on the To solve-list:
- What does it take to be a composer?
- What is musicality, and can it be translated to other domains?
- Why do we need music critics?
- Were the Great Composers really great, or just lucky?
- What does it mean to "understand music"?
- What is the role of song in the Eurovision Song Contest?
- Can listening be an art?
- Can an audience play on a musician (as the musician plays on an instrument)?
- Why is everybody coughing between the movements of the symphony but not before and after the concert?
- Is music more Yin or Yang?
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM FOLLOWING THIS? AND WHAT IS THIS YING YANG THING?
I aim to turn out articles, videos and podcasts that hopefully will broaden our view of music, and not least of listening.
If we apply the Yin-Yang model to music Yin stands for reception, listening. Our focus is more often than not turned towards Yang. Towards instruments, voices, playing, singing, composing, producing.
Our questions center around Yang:
- What´s on the program?
- Is he playing a Steinway or a Bechstein?
- How much beer was consumed during the recording of Vintage Novelties´ new album?
- Who has the strongest voice?
- Can the new recording compare with Karajan´s?
- Are serial composers dangerous?
When it comes to Yin (listening) we all think we can do it. Just don´t cover your ears and you are listening.
But are we hearing? And WHAT are we hearing? The music, or perhaps our thoughts about it?
[Illustration of the mysterious radio set inside our heads.]
SO IS THIS MAINLY A YIN THING?
I think many of the mysteries of music are on the Yin side, simply because we pay less attention to it.
William Blake said: a fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees. The difference is in perception, not in the tree. A "wise man" also hears a different symphony, a different jazz solo, a different rap song, a different country ballad. So let´s wisen up. We don´t have to change the music, just let´s sharpen our ears.
As you understand our expedition is not only about finding secret regions of Melosophia, but also of ourselves.
SOUNDS PROMISING. CAN I READ SOMETHING RIGHT AWAY THAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN?
Check out my musical diary Melosophics. There you can listen so some of my compositions as well.
Thank you for listening.
MY MUSICAL EXPERIENCES
These have been my musical roles: Pianist, musical coach, choir pianist, orchestra pianist, music critic, musical columnist, composer, arranger, sometime musical director, audition pianist (have written a book about audition technique), musical philosopher (the most important part here).
My stand on patronage and rewards
Patronage = the best way to keep artists alive (after cryonics).
The bottom line of patronage for me is the possibility of emancipation from the Slavery of a Day Job. Your support can help me with this in two ways: 1) Pay it forward (share the site with others) 2) Pay it backward (support this project financially).
I see your support of me as a reward for what I produce. Rewarding YOU for rewarding ME is a strange loop. Esteem me for my work, if you will, not because I provide bonuses and T-shirts. However, I will try to find a fitting way to say “thank you”.
Thank you for your understanding.
Visit Journey to Melosophia