Saturday, May 31, 2014

Clarity and Consciousness

Sounds permeate reality.

In the manner of wild creatures, humans perceive and interpret the sounds of the surrounding world and communicate through significant tones and articulations.  Yet in terms of human understanding, the symbolic nature of sound is far beyond the scope of animal reasoning.

Contemplate the beautiful and the good, pause and consider the subtlety and nuance of art, listen for the sense of the elevated and the spiritual and communicate with depth and clarity.  These are virtues that contribute to the art of listening, and to that of composition as well.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Concealed, Revealed

Let music seize attention and imagination; let it drown out thought and conversation.

This is not the purpose of music, but the extent to which listening may lose its perceptual virtue.  Even so, one may conclude that the art is reduced to that of conveyance, to the transfer and articulation of content, which can be emotional, social, political, and, at best, of the culturally good.

Set aside the idea of music, and consider only the nature of sound as the environment presents it, ordered and represented as art may, through tones, lines, spatial relationships, and movement, as elements of atmospheres.  Listen, and hear.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Imagination and the Real

One may conceive what is not immediately perceptible and bring it into various forms of being, from the physical and concrete to the idealized and abstract.

The story-teller places a princess behind a castle wall and listeners envision her there; her features, expressions and character evolve according to both the wordsmith's artistry and the imagery evoked within each listener.  Turn the tale into a song and the same processes take place.

The composition of a sound environment places the listener within the atmosphere, as percipient and participant.  Anything can happen.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

From Opaque to Transparent

Reflections scatter within echoes.

Some subtleties of perception, thought, and emotion can not be captured or reproduced, but only experienced. Yet art removes obstacles, and in doing so, opens eyes and ears, releases sensory awareness from dull habit, and approaches the realities of phenomena beyond their appearances.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wind to the Southeast

In hearing, one may pay regard by degrees of attention or fail to take interest altogether.

Listening, on the other hand, implies intent as well as attention.  One focuses, increasing perceptual acuity, associating experience, knowledge, emotion and memory with the auditory event; perhaps one considers its orientation in space, its component parts, and its potential meanings.

The composition of what is generally called music is almost solely concerned with this latter context, and with intensifying listening in the percipient. The composition of  atmospheres, however, is focused on both aspects of aural perception, that is to say, with the passive engagement of hearing as well as with active listening awareness, neglecting neither.

From an artistic perspective, each may contribute to an aesthetically balanced sound work in much the same manner as each is engaged in everyday consciousness.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Observe the vicissitudes of culture in the arts.

Throughout the natural rise and decline of human affairs the derogation of artistic individualism is often the herald of stagnant and untenable attitudes, shallow or corrupt social mores and spurious celebrity.

In such conditions the dearth of interesting, viable perspectives is commonly obscured by a reversion to clamor, as if a need existed to "shock the system" or épater la bourgeois.  Yet is is the arts that would benefit most from the eradication of failed ideas, particularly those expressed in conventional "nonconformity" --and not in terms of irrelevant, self-aggrandizing affectations, but in terms of purpose and creative vision.

The way of the artist is often selfless, and thus undiminished by the banality of evil.