Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Following The Sound Current Through With A Single Tone

The single tone is, in and of itself, sufficient for the making of music. Consider the singing of the mourning dove. Sometimes he indulges in a melody involving an interval (often a fourth) but always his song ends on the repetition of a single tone. At other times he simply confines his entire message to that single tone - How often I have entered that tone with him - and admired his "musicianship"! He does not just pump out a series of notes in the manner of some pianists playing Mozart's repeated tones as though they were written for what Mozart called a "mere mechanicus" to render. He creates with his single tone a world of dimensions, nuances, qualities, a world of emotion, energy, significance.
I believe the musician's very first and final task is to discover the infinitude of each and every tone encountered in each and every piece of music - and I believe the best way to begin this endless journey is to pay attention to the world of sound within which we actually live -
All this thought got me to thinking -
Consider the instances, in the music you listen to or play, where the composer makes use of the repeated tone -
The opening Bb of Chopin's Eb Major Waltz - like the flourish of a trumpet or the warbling of a great singer - The repeated D in the left hand of Beethoven's op. 28 Sonata - All the times Mozart gets on a note and plays with it in a way so entertaining, amusing, and tender at times, then so fierce, manic and furious at others -
Oh, and wait-There's more!-There is the whistling of the train, which-as Marguerite Young said in a fit of whimsy no doubt-is "the final human sound left upon this planet."

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