wind-chime aria

May 7, 2018

how he held my hands & told me
that Mozart’s father taught him to play
by breaking his fingers each time a note fell wrong

i still find myself searching
for ghosts in the melody

torrin a greathouse

Edwige Fouvry - Et Paysage De Nuit

I’ve never willingly written a word without listening to music of some sort. Right now I’m listening to Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano. When pushed by deadlines I’ve sometimes been obliged to work in silence, on a train or plane or in a cafe. (A Walkman I don’t like, since its penetrating sound, piped directly into the cranial bones, is too aggressive and inescapable: booming aural earmuffs.)

Virgil Thomson, recognized my condition right away. There are two kinds of writers, he said. Those who demand absolute silence and those, like you, who need to hear music, the better to concentrate.

Perhaps he put his finger on the underlying psychological process, but I have never felt I was blocking out music the better to focus my thoughts. Admittedly I sometimes recognize that at a certain moment during the last 10 minutes I must have stopped paying attention to the music filling the room, but more often than not I experience music as a landscape unscrolling just outside the window whenever I look up, or as a human drama unfolding across the courtyard when I peek out, or as a separate but beloved presence, an intimate friend sitting in a matching chair, thinking and feeling. Music for me is a companion during the lonely (and why not admit it? the boring) hours of writing.

Music is also in stark contrast to writing. Music is already perfect, sure-footed, whereas I’m struggling to remember a word, frame a description, invent an action. If for me music is the secret sharer, it is a friend who has no needs and encourages me to trust that beauty can be achieved in this life, at least theoretically.

Music is always living out its own vivid, highly marked adventure, which is continuous and uninterrupted. It exists as a superior way of transcribing emotions, or rather of notating shifting balances, repeating motifs, accumulating tensions, deferred resolutions and elaborated variations. As the composer Roger Sessions once put it, music communicates in a marvellously vivid and exact way the dynamics and the abstract qualities of emotion, but any specific emotional content must be supplied from without, by the listening writer in this case.

Edmund White
Before a Rendezvous With the Muse, First Select the Music
New York Times, 18th June 2001

on your knees

April 17, 2018

She stands before you naked you can see it, you can taste it, and she comes to you light as the breeze. Now you can drink it or you can nurse it, it don’t matter how you worship as long as you’re down on your knees.

Leonard Cohen
Light As The Breeze

Question

December 30, 2017

Musical Interlude

October 25, 2017

You want me to perform this?

September 30, 2017

Anthem

September 9, 2017

The birds they sang at the break of day
Start again I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what has passed away
or what is yet to be.

Ah the wars they will be fought again
The holy dove she will be caught again
bought and sold and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

We asked for signs the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood of every government –
signs for all to see.

I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring…

You can add up the parts but you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march, there is no drum
Every heart, every heart to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

Music and Witchcraft

September 3, 2017

Many witches use music to aid in their craft; music can help boost your energy, put an edge to your spell, get you in the right mood, help connect you to your deity/energies/elements/etc, and just create a good atmosphere!

Remember, you don’t have to use just whimsical spiritual music with lots of flute and wind noises. Any music can be used for magic, from pop to rock to classical to jazz. Use music that you connect with and works well with what you’re doing! When doing a spell for strength, and the song Boss Ass Bitch makes you laugh and feel ridiculous, don’t use it. But if it makes you feel empowered and confident, perfect! You don’t have to be a pop culture pagan to use songs like that, just use whatever feels right.

There are an infinite number of ways you can use music.

• while reading tarot, to put you in ‘the zone’
• while dancing, to heighten your energies and unify your body
• while performing curses, to sharpen and manifest your rage
• to make your will more specific when doing luck spells
• to cover up the sound of your verbal spells or chanting (if you’re not out as a witch)
• to feel more connected to your deity
• while meditating to drown out the world

Music is an invaluable resource, and for those people who feel music to a big part of their life, it can be a perfect asset for their witchcraft!

pictures of the music

August 17, 2017

You ask me how these pictures are evolved? “They are not pictures of the music theme – pictures of the flying notes – not conscious illustrations of the name given to a piece of music, but just what I see when I hear music – thoughts loosened and set free by the spell of sound.

When I take a brush in hand and the music begins, it is like unlocking the door into a beautiful country. There, stretched far away, are plains and mountains and the billowy sea, and as the music forms a net of sound the people who dwell there enter the scene; tall, slow-moving, stately queens, with jewelled crowns and garments gay or sad, who walk on mountain – tops or stand beside the shore, watching the water – people. These water-folk are passionless, and sway or fall with little heed of time; they toss the spray and, bending down, dive headlong through the deep.

There are the dwellers, too, of the great plain, who sit and brood, made of stone and motionless; the trees, which slumber till some elf goes by with magic spear and wakes the green to life ; towers, white and tall, standing against the darkening sky –

Those tall white towers that one sees afar,
Topping the mountain crests like crowns of snow.
Their silence hangs so heavy in the air
That thoughts are stifled.

Then huddling crowds, who carry spears, hasten across the changing scene. Sunsets fade from rose to grey, and clouds scud across the sky.

For a long time the land I saw when hearing Beethoven was unpeopled; hills, plains, ruined towers, churches by the sea. After a time I saw far off a little company of spearmen ride away across the plain. But now the clanging sea is strong with the salt of the lashing spray and full of elemental life; the riders of the waves, the Queen of Tides, who carries in her hand the pearl-like moon, and bubbles gleaming on the inky wave.

Often when hearing Bach I hear bells ringing in the sky, rung by whirling cords held in the hands of maidens dressed in brown. There is a rare freshness in the air, like morning on a mountain-top, with opal-coloured mists that chase each other fast across the scene.

Chopin brings night ; gardens where mystery and dread lurk under every bush, but joy and passion throb within the air, and the cold moon bewitches all the scene. There is a garden that I often see, with moonlight glistening on the vine-leaves, and drooping roses with pale petals fluttering down, tall, misty trees and purple sky, and lovers wandering there. A drawing of that garden I have shown to several people and asked them if they could play the music that I heard when I drew it. They have all, without any hesitation, played the same. I do not know the name, but – well, I know the music of that place.

Pamela Colman Smith
Pictures in Music
From the Strand magazine, July 1908