Saturday, February 19, 2011

philemon and baukis

i'm working on this piece by lou harrison for violin and javanese gamelan for a performance at the seattle asian art museum with local group, gamelan pacifica. the violin part is hand-written in standard western notation, but to read it as such, i have to de-tune my violin by approximately 1 half step and adjust intervalic spacing note-to-note. without frets, so much of violin playing is dictated by muscle memory. you memorize the hand shapes. you memorize where to place your fingers in relation to other fingers. you memorize how the spacing between 1st and 2nd finger in 1st position on the A string feels in your hand.

this piece poses 2 unique (and daunting!) challenges. 1: i have to listen differently. i have to hear pitch differently. i have to hear the relationships between pitches differently. i have to try to get inside of the sound of the orchestra, of the tuning, of the timbres, while setting on top of it as a soloist. and 2: i have to alter my hand shapes. i have to alter 22 years of muscle memory. i have to change and relearn the feeling of where to place 1st finger in relation to 2nd finger.

i have to suspend my aural and physical associations cultivated and built-in over nearly a lifetime of study.

it makes me consider what else i've spent nearly a lifetime cultivating - patterns, aspects of personality, reactions, likes, dislikes, ways of communicating (or not communicating)...and the resistance, difficulty, and huge fear often associated with enacting change. it helps me have compassion for myself around change, transformation, evolution, undoing, relearning...and it helps me also believe that it's possible. change is possible. change is positive. change is necessary. and the less resistance and fear i meet it with, the more ease and joy i can find in the process.

tuning reference no. 1:

tuning reference no. 2:


Zımbılik said...

Change is possible yes, but would you accept,embrace change without any reason. The situation you are in forced you to change. We lack the will to change. Because as it's obvious in the survey on the blog, we are scared of uncertainty. Change equals uncertainty for us.And it's scary. I admit it. But not impossible as you stated.

"But it's only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve."(Quotes from this stupid movie remake the day the earth stood still)

sorry for the gibberish )

paris said...

no apologies! i'm happy to hear what this sparked for you - thanks for sharing!

and i totally agree - humans have huge, limiting, paralyzing fears around change and the uncertainty and discomfort it can bring, so often only changing when forced to (and even then with great resistance). BUT! i don't believe that we lack the potential for the will to enact self-generated change, or that there aren't people exercising that will in the micro and macro.

it's a choice. it's all a choice. and humans are strong enough to make that choice! but tapping into that strength is a process and a practice, one that must be chosen...

Zımbılik said...

I don't know how. Yes we do have the strength to change but not the will in my opinion. People do not change unless they have a kind of trauma (small or huge doesn't matter). And yes it is just a matter of choice which the majority of humankind has to make. But then usually the just choose the easy. Well it's understandable, why bother struggling for change when there's an easier way. Maybe I'm a little bit more cynical than you are about this. And I totally agree with you that it's a process and a practice, yet we are not thought to figure it out, or at least be ready for it in life. Nevertheless, isn't life's unexpectendency that makes it beautiful. Scary, but beautiful as Geralt Of Rivia says "life is simple, unexpected and beautiful"