more aware of the melodies i was two nights ago, accompanying trombone through jobims wave, forever lovely the diminished rising second phrase, "dont worry bout the setting sun". dressed like a blues brother in a tux coat and long black tie, hair wet and spiked. playing less harmonically, less of the chordal clunk, more aware of the contrapuntal weave, this after seeing my own life through new emerald spectacles, given by hermann hesse, kicking ass as usual, in the glass bead game; the game being a culmination of art, science, culture, and religion, a chess like dance of ideas played by monkish master scholars, music and mathematics and contemplation tangled dangled (oh but not mangled!)------> all at once; instead of the passion of the periphery, the single minded obsession, instead the seek for oneness, summation, the journey towards the center, the sum of all things and the dance together.
i am not one thing--
no one is one thing--
and all of these not one things are one thing.
i walked through a drug store in key west, saw the colors of shampoos and lotions around me, the sunglassed dazes of fat tourists with waffle cones full and scorn furrowed quick, the coconut smell, the hemingway ashtray, and the muffled wail of portishead so cinema tragic with strings just beneath and snare and bass rattling my broken small headphones. and so much more, my belly hungry as i prepare to fast for our five day sail across the ocean, my neck tingle insistent as jamacian sunburn heals, and the key lime pie, and the crude tshirts. and all these spun together into one single instant that is the sum of an infinity of melodic thread, at each instant passing each other to form this chord, that chord, each melody distinct and holy yet never so vibrant as when the others around it surround absorb and electric blanket it.
like this gentle bach andante and fugue played on vineyard guitar the senses soak. all of bach independent melodies woven together, so very different from most popular music we hear today, accompanying guitars and pianos clunking out the chords. this starts to happen around mozart, alberti bass laying down the harmony with amelodic repetitions, and its lovely, it works, but its not melodic. it is simple and true, and an electric guitar strumming six notes all at once, and ah all those notes vibrating together and the rich rich, but is not six melodies on a vineyard guitar all at once, it is not the holy weave of bach, (oh and other music of the time; bach did not invent this. he was just soooooooo oooooooooooh), harmony created through the intersection of independent linear lines; a bass grounding, a tenor soaring, an alto stabilizing, a soprano lighting. the chords are there, but only as the consequence of this tangling.
anyone who has taken a basic college counterpoint class will tell you that doing this well, creating even just two independent lines that sound good both by themselves and together, making sure that every chord you pass through gets voiced well, with a root third and fifth and maybe a seasoned seventh or more, and never double the fifth, avoid parallel motion, etc, and i in my passionate youth detesting the idea of rules in music (but oh the truth that the broken rules sound pretty bad). that doing all this, all this well is really, really hard.
but the feeling when it works:
ie the experience of listening to "dear prudence" with headphones and hearing for the first time that subtle chorused out guitar part under the more persistent ostinato melody up top. and hearing the tambourine part for itself, when it comes in just once with the bass, and john rubbing the first note of the melody, an e, against the guitar singing high f#'s every bar, and the third melody in the bass, down seven six flat six five, and later a fourth subtle guitar voice, faaa mi, fa mi, after every prudence, and then the ahs hanging forever on the chorus, and then cymbals for the first time? oh! then we really start in, hand claps now, and my god the cowbell is actually playing with the bass guitar, right along, and on top of everything a brand new voice comes in with george just wailing on guitar, and piano shimmering out of nowhere, so much so much!! and then WHAAA! the whole song hammers halftime, the sun is up, the sky is blue its beautiful and so are you, and the lead guitar rising rising rising and playing the highest note of the song right on "you", and the piano answering it with a little seventh chord! come on! oh my!! bass, low picked guitar, ostinato f# guitar, lead guitar, lead vocal, vocal ahhs, piano, and snare racing forward, tambourine swinging just right, and glorious cymbals shining their own. 10 part daisy chain counterpoint. and thats what makes this song juts floor me every time. open up your eyes, yes! they weave, they roll over each other, and that sand gets everywhere.
i got shocked with 220 volts of dangling transformer. right into the flesh of my palm the like a dry desert eel. i screamed and swore, laughed and was overjoyed. talking to the russian late in her room i felt twin strains of seduction and friendship welling inside of me, watched my gaze change from desire to companionship and back, as she spoke of russia, how there they are humble, and are judged by there deeds and never the words, never the words...here we shout and pomp "i am the best, i have done this difficult thing, acknowledge me", and it is believed, and always always the quiet ignored and misunderstood. drunk on vodka orange and red i felt such a joy to listen these melodies this woman weave with the others, every melody running through me developing timeless, retrograde inversions of my i. enough for this night to hear these stories and try to learn the tune. and i: love this dance. and i: love a woman far away. and i: love so many. ah, this is working, such a complex fugue she and i have allowed ourselves to feel, all of this happening all at once, growing close so far apart. i will never know who i will be until the very next second, right, *now*, (and right *now*), ((and right *now*)) ((((
glenn gould (famous bach pianist) detested music that wasnt based on counterpoint, and recorded some pretty hilarious recordings of classical and romantic music that just reeks of his scorn, yet transforms the music into something new. he treats the accompanying figures in mozart like another melody, strong and omnipresent and tenacious. and there is a meaning to it, to hear that sameness as a melody grounding and stone lovely.
how noble that life can echo music, how wonderful to know my inside a vast cathedral filled with an infinite web of thoughts, and that the spiders there are not so creepy but just small and smiling little halfsmiles, aware and dancing so agily as they swing on their gossamer and time every trapeze jump so they never crash with another, all lightbeams dancing.