In an attempt to get to grips with the biological compulsion to make patterns with sound, I have pondered at length over what is happening internally when I write and play music, some of those ponderings are scrawled here:
This investigation into music has led me veering suddenly inward and outward and at times both inward and outward simultaneously, which is reflective of music as a thing; it is neither internal or external, physical or non-physical, and it cannot be categorised as one thing or another.
Music seems to move emotions, to speak directly with them and transport them into the domain of awareness. Music connects me with something archaic, some sort of root behaviour that was and is fundamental to human development. We use sound to move the body, to move emotions, to move God, to move and organise society, and to provide an orienting focus and space where we can unite and move together.
Music has the ability to reach right into me. It is something intangible, yet with a power that far surpasses the tangible. Physicality is overridden by the force of organised sound. When I am completely engrossed in music I experience a transformation of form, I seem to turn into something spherical. I experience a loss of extremities and an internal golden pulsing of pleasure as I witness ordered sound unfolding before me.
The connection between fingers moving strings, moving air, moving eardrum becomes indefinite and unattached, muscle memory takes over and “I” am stood in a nowhere, a place where only these sounds exist, a bubble-like, cocooning space that feels like it extends forever. It feels like the sounds are being heard through something other than my ears, more like they are being generated from within.
For me, songwriting is halfway between an understanding and a mystery. Like dreams, songs are strange worlds that reveal deeper meaning the more they are investigated. They are semantic symphonies, audio diaries, melodious myths. It’s difficult to say whether “I” am involved at all in songwriting, perhaps I’m just an agent working on behalf of the great outdoors.
By Matt Witt
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Thanks for reading volume #8 Music & Movement. The theme for the next edition of Wake up screaming is #9 – The Great Outdoors.
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