I often wish I could play skillfully enough to provide myself with live music. I can’t; I’m no hand at music at all. At one point in my life, by dint of practicing four or five hours a day for at least six months, I was able to bring several simple piano pieces to enough of a pitch to give a recital, but I didn’t at the time enjoy the music because of the labor of the performance. And I think on the whole the recital was a thing we all went through, rather than having any but the most minimal way a musical experience.

I don’t myself understand the impulse to sing. I enjoy listening to good singing, but don’t enjoy singing all that much. It is perhaps a matter of not being able to read music and a complete lack of skill. But something else, I sometimes think: you can’t get out of yourself to listen to your own voice, besides the work of doing it. You can listen to the piano you play, but you will never hear your voice the way others do, unless it is a dead recording. I personally think of a singer more as a servant that has to be appreciated by someone in the position of a master. Can one in singing achieve such complete self-detachment? I think it would be wonderful, but I wonder if at all possible.

I don’t know how singers think of themselves though. I’ve never really talked to a person who can sing well enough to impress me. Are they somehow mastering over the people they sing to? I hope some of them at least are happy to serve; I am happy to receive the service and render them honor for it. I wonder if some of them don’t think of themselves as wizards casting spells and enchantments, and in that way laboring earnestly at something recondite, difficult arcane lore.

Perhaps it is the same for those who perform with instruments. It is rewarding work, though the enjoyment is probably not the enjoyment of the listener who can be lost in the music. Can the performer be similarly lost? I think with instruments it ought to be more possible, though I really do not know. I don’t know a single person who is proficient at any instrument enough to enter into such a conversation, wondering. I suppose you would have to have extraordinary skill and then practice so much the piece became second nature. And then be lost in it, the body doing what unconsciously it knows, while the spirit wanders free in that conjured landscape, understanding, revealing and guiding the listener.

Ah well, it is not for me.


2 thoughts on “Music

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