One of my first teachers told me that we don't
make music, rather, we
transform ourselves into vehicles or conduits through which music flows
and manifests as sound. The Greek philosopher Plotinus referred to this
when he said, "Harmonies unheard in sound lead us to the music that we
hear, and show us the essence of another kind." There is a suggestion
this quote that music already exists, and has the power to connect us
with something that is greater than ourselves.
If the artist is a conduit for the manifestation
of the work of art,
then the quality of the work must in turn be affected by the qualities
of the artist. Technique and craft alone, although necessary, do not
produce a meaningful performance or work of art. In Sung Dynasty China,
the definition of great art was very clear. In painting for example, not
only did the individual elements of the work have to resonate with each
other, there also had to be a resonance between the painting and the
person viewing it. There had to be an infusion of qi (prana, universal
mind, cosmic energy) into the painting through the artist and the brush
in order for it to be considered a work of great value. This sets a
very high standard not only for the artist, but also demands a level of
involvement from the viewer that in today's world of AM radio, twenty
second sound bytes and short attention spans is difficult to expect.
In the absence of fear and ego, music and life
flow in perfect order.
Somewhere around 2300 BC the Chinese ruler Yao asked a hermit named
Hsu-yu to take over the kingdom. Yao employing Hsu-yu, told him that he
could do a much better job of ordering the world than he. Hsu-yu's reply
was that if he was to replace him it would be in name only and name is
the guest of reality. Before Hsu-yu disappeared into the mountains he
turned to Yao and said, "The world is already ordered."
The creative process happens in a state of selflessness,
a state of
tranquillity, and when all the elements are in place, it is effortless.
The Taoist texts have defined it as "wu wei," a state of non-action
all is accomplished; doing without doing.
"The key is listening." - Jim Hall