I felt haunted by a monumental sense of failure, of aborted struggle and lost time.

I set out to write an exploration of music and its relation to the science of time. Music itself embodies time, shaping our sense of its passage through patterns of rhythm and harmony, melody and form. We feel that embodiment whenever we witness an orchestra’s collective sway and sigh to the movement of a baton, or measure a long car ride by the playlist of songs we’ve run through; every time we feel moved by music to dance; when we find, as we begin dancing, that we know intuitively how to take the rhythm into our bodies, that we are somehow sure of when and how the next beat will fall. Surely, I thought, there must be a scientific reason behind that innately human sense of embodied time, a way of grounding our musical intuition in physics and biology, if not completely quantifying it. But I also wanted to write about music because it has shaped the time of my own life more than almost anything else. I have played the violin for nearly twenty years, practicing five or six hours a day for most of them, because all I wanted was to become a soloist. When I realized in my early twenties that this never would be—and never had been—a possibility for me, I began to question why I had wasted so much time on music at all. I stopped playing for a while, and though I eventually picked it up again I no longer felt the same fire or ambition. Instead I felt haunted by a monumental sense of failure, of aborted struggle and lost time. Not only had the effort and sacrifice of the past all been for naught, but the future I had planned from that past seemed obliterated, too.

Natalie Hodges, from Prelude in “Uncommon Measure. A Journey Through Music, Performance, and the Science of Time” (Bellevue Literary Press, March 22, 2022)


This, is failure?


NY Times Book Review: The Violinist Natalie Hodges Writes About Her Devotion to Music & 12 Books We Recommend This Week (April 7, 2022)

Silience (135 sec)


silience:

n. the kind of unnoticed excellence that carries on around you every day, unremarkably—the hidden talents of friends and coworkers, the fleeting solos of subway buskers, the slapdash eloquence of anonymous users, the unseen portfolios of aspiring artists—which would be renowned as masterpieces if only they’d been appraised by the cartel of popular taste, who assume that brilliance is a rare and precious quality, accidentally overlooking buried jewels that may not be flawless but are still somehow perfect.

Gaga, Super Lady. That’s my truth.

I wasn’t a fan of Lady Gaga’s earlier music, all too much for me. But this Lady is something special. Don’t miss this CBS Sunday Morning interview. Don’t quit on this early. (Fascinating throughout but it starts getting most interesting at 4:30). Here’s an excerpt:

“If this were all to go away tomorrow, all the big success, I would still be very happy…the reason that I’m here at all is because of my relationship with my family and their encouragement of me to be a musician, and to work hard. So, as long as I stay there, in that space, I can do anything. That’s my truth… Making your Dad happy is, especially for an Italian Catholic girl, it feels really good…And I feel that today. All the awards in the world, you can get in all the nightclubs, they’ll send you the nicest clothes, there’s nothing better than walking in your Dad’s restaurant and seeing a smile on his face, and knowing that your Mom, Dad and Sister are real proud of you and you haven’t lost touch of who you are. That for me is real success.”

“Lady Gaga is the Super Bowl halftime show expected to be watched by more than 100 million television viewers. She’s been planning for this event since she was four years old. Gaga, 30, never lip-syncs or uses backing tracks for her vocals, which has become common for high-profile events. Last year, when she belted out a blistering rendition of the national anthem at Super Bowl 50, CBS wanted an emergency backing track just in case. Gaga refused.” (Source: wsj.com)


See related post: Gaga

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call: A little country in between where I can be the king

Yoann-Lemoine

It’s uncomfortable because you’re never going to be an expert in every field. I’m not the best director and I’m not the best musician – and I don’t think I will ever be – but at least there is a little country in between where I can be the king. It’s probably going to be a small country, but at least I can live there happily…

I think that pressure of wanting to absolutely succeed precisely on the one thing is very toxic. I do want to succeed in general, but I’ve been asking myself, “What is success really to you?” And I’ve been thinking a lot about it and I think that success to me is to manage to be free, but also to do things that I like. It seems very stupid, but at the end of the day if I completely like and am proud of what I do, then to me it’s success.

~ Yoann Lemoine,I’m not there yet” (Director of Woodkid)


Notes:

  • Yoann Lemoine, 33, is a French music video director, graphic designer and singer-songwriter. His most notable works include his music video direction for Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”, Taylor Swift’s single “Back to December”, Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die” and Mystery Jets’ “Dreaming of Another World”.
  • Quote source: Clean Well Lighted Place.
  • Photo: Moving Image

Prince (RIP)

prince

 

  • Birth name: Prince Rogers Nelson
  • Birth date: June 7, 1958 (57 years old)
  • Prince only looked tall from a far because of his cultural impact and surrounding mythos. He was only 5’2″.
  • He was named after his father, John Lewis Nelson, whose stage name was Prince Rogers. Prince’s father performed as a jazz musician in the popular group Prince Rogers Trio.
  • When he was 10 years old, he danced on stage with James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul.”
  • Spaghetti and orange juice was once “one of his favorite meals,” said Purple Rain director Albert Magnoli.
  • The “When Doves Cry” singer kept actual doves at his home, according to a Billboard’s 2013 cover story. “Approaching closer, I can see white doves, at least four or five of them, chilling inside. Their coos echo ethereally through the building as I descend the stairs.”
  • Prince had won seven Grammy Awards, and had earned 30 nominations.
  • It was Prince who wrote Sinead O’Connor’s biggest song, ‘Nothing Compares 2 U.’
  • He sadly lost a son. Boy Gregory passed away in 1996 from a rare genetic condition called Pfieffer Syndrome. He was just one-week-old.
  • After legendary performer Prince died today at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota, many fans mourning his death noted that the occasion was appropriately rainy and used the weather to pay homage to Prince and one of his greatest hits, “Purple Rain.”

Note: Art – Prince by Kagan McLeod @kaganmcleod

Your turn. Go ahead. Light up your particle episode.

  
It is through the individual brain alone that there passes the momentary illumination in which a whole country-side may be transmuted in an instant…Man’s mind, like the expanding universe itself, is engaged in pouring over limitless horizons…The great artist, whether he is a musician, painter, or poet, is known for this absolute unexpectedness.  One does not see, one does not hear, until he speaks to us out of that limitless creativity which is his gift.

The flash of lightning in a single brain also flickers along the horizon of our more ordinary heads. Without that single lightning stroke in a solitary mind, however, the rest of us would never have known the fairyland of The Tempest, the midnight world of Dostoevsky, or the blackbirds on the yellow harvest fields of Van Gogh. We would have seen the blackbirds and endured the depravity of our own hearts, but it would not be the same landscape that the act of genius transformed. The world without Shakespeare’s insights is a lesser world, our griefs shut more inarticulately in upon themselves. We grow mute at the thought – just as an element seems to disappear from sunlight without Van Gogh. Yet these creations we might call particle episodes in the human universe – acts without precedent, a kind of disobedience of normality, unprophesiable by science, unduplicable by other individuals on demand. They are part of that unpredictable newness which keeps the universe from being fully explored by man.

Loren Eiseley, “Strangeness in the Proportion” from The Night Country


Image: eikadan

Salieri. It is not up to you whether you fly or fall.

amadeus-salieri

In Mozart’s music, Salieri recognizes something divinely inspired, absolute, and perfect. But what he hears ruins him. Confronted by this beauty beyond his ability to achieve, Salieri suffers his own talent and success in agony. “Thirty years of being called ‘distinguished’ by people incapable of distinguishing!” he cries, as the Viennese cheer him, while casually disregarding the genius in their midst. “If I cannot be Mozart then I do not wish to be anything.” He gets his wish. Mozart is posthumously declared immortal, and Salieri, still alive, is utterly forgotten, the patron saint of the undistinguished. In his last line, the old, discarded court composer addresses the modern audience directly, all those who, like him, are not worth listening to. “Mediocrities everywhere—now and to come—I absolve you all,” he says, sympathizing with our failure to be Mozart. […]

The Salieri that Shaffer created hears with the ears of history; he knows all along what only later listeners could know. When Mozart arrived in Vienna in 1781, his talent was obvious and undeniable, but his genius was still a matter of opinion. He wasn’t yet Mozart. Peter Shaffer stacked the deck against Salieri by giving his self-doubts the weight of historical certainty. Because Salieri knows Mozart is a genius, his own failure then seems inevitable. But the real weight that he and every artist—every person who strives for greatness—suffers is the weight of not knowing. You must find in yourself the courage to leap off the cliff. Yet it is not up to you whether you fly or fall.

~ Glen Kurtz, Practicing: A Musician’s Return to Music


Image Credit: vjmorton

 

Whispers


Mike Rosenberg, 29, was born in Brighton, England.  He is better known by his stage name Passenger, is an English folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rosenberg learned classical guitar when he was young: ” My parents were really encouraging about music so that sort of started the path. When I was about 14-15, I started to write songs, which were absolutely dreadful. But as I kept going the songs became better and better – it was just so bloody obvious that this was what I wanted to do. I never really applied myself in school and music was the only thing I wanted to spend my time doing…I’m heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Neil Young although I’m nowhere near as good as those guys!”

Song on Whispers Album on iTunes


(Source: Wiki & Vancouver Weekly: Who is Mike Rosenberg?)

People should be waiting for their next word, not mine.

elvis_costello_10

“But please remember, I don’t sit around wondering how people see the world, or how they feel about things. I don’t attempt to express their feelings. I only write about the way I feel. I mean, I’m not arbitrator of public tastes or opinion. I don’t have a following of people who are waiting for my next word. I hope I never have that kind of following. People should be waiting for their own next word, not mine.”

– Elvis Costello


Elvis Costello, 59, born Declan Patrick Macmanus, is an English singer-songwriter. He was born in London.  He has won multiple awards in his career including a Grammy.  He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Costello number 80 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Costello’s first broadcast recording was alongside his dad, also a musician, in a television commercial for R. White’s Lemonade (I’m a Secret Lemonade Drinker). His father wrote and sang the song; Costello provided backing vocals. Costello married Canadian piano-vocalist Diana Krall in May 2003, and married her at the home of Elton John.  Krall gave birth to twin sons, Dexter Henry Lorcan and Frank Harlan James, on 6 December 2006 in New York City.  A vegetarian since the early 1980s, Costello says he was moved to reject meat after seeing the documentary The Animals Film (1982), which also helped inspire his song “Pills and Soap” from 1983’s Punch the Clock). (Source: Wiki)

 Credits: Portrait – By James O’Mara. Quote Source – apoetreflects. Bio – Wiki.

Why settle for cash when joy is on the line

Jon_Foreman,_April_2008

“You want to know the meaning of life? This is your highest calling: You are called into the dynamic co-creation of the cosmos. This breath is your canvas and your brush. These are the raw materials for your art, for the life you are making. Nothing is off limits. Your backyard, your piano, your paint brush, your conversation, Rwanda, New Orleans, Iraq, your marriage, your soul. You’re making a living with every step you take. So when you make a living, do not merely make money. Why settle for cash when joy is on the line? You feel a thrill when you dance, when you sing, when you finish your poem; even when you sweep the room you see order pressing back against the chaos. So when you create, never settle for making a living — at least not the way that the world might define that phrase. When you make a living, you are speaking a new world into existence. You are creating grace within the confines, you are co-signing God’s blank checks.”

~ Jon Foreman, Lead Singer & Guitarist of Switchfoot. Excerpt from Meaning of Life.


Image Credit: Wiki. Quote Source: ThePoetoaster


Friday Night: Passenger


Mike Rosenberg, 29, was born in Brighton, England.  He is better known by his stage name Passenger, is an English folk-rock singer-songwriter. His nickname comes from the folk-rock band of which he was the founder, main vocalist and songwriter, and which released just one album. When the members of the band chose to go their own separate ways in 2009, Rosenberg opted to keep the band’s name for his solo work. His most successful single “Let Her Go” has topped the charts in 16 countries so far.

Rosenberg learned classical guitar when he was young: ” My parents were really encouraging about music so that sort of started the path. When I was about 14-15, I started to write songs, which were absolutely dreadful. But as I kept going the songs became better and better – it was just so bloody obvious that this was what I wanted to do. I never really applied myself in school and music was the only thing I wanted to spend my time doing…I’m heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Neil Young although I’m nowhere near as good as those guys!”

Song on All the Little Lights Album on iTunes

(Source: Wiki & Vancouver Weekly: Who is Mike Rosenberg?)

Friday Night: Melissa Forbes

musician, vocalist,singer, song writer,artist

You’re My Alter Ego / Nothing Else Matters

click for audio


Melissa Forbes is a Australian musician, performer, educator and researcher.  She was originally trained in jazz and improvisation.  She has also studied contemporary vocal pedagogy extensively, and hopes to complete a PhD in the area.  She is Associate Lecturer in Voice at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, Australia, where she leads a merry band of young vocalists in their quest to reach their fullest potential through singing.  Melissa also has her own private studio, The Contemporary Voice Studio. Melissa released her album No More Mondays to critical and popular acclaim. (Source: Melissa Forbes Website)


Love the entire album – – check it out at iTunes link: No More Mondays.  Image Credit.

Friday Night: Sky Blue and Black

music, rock, pop

Now I wouldn’t consider myself a groupie (and that would depend on the definition of groupie)…but I’m a fan.  A Large One.  “Running on Empty.” The Pretender.”  “Stay Just a Little Bit Longer.”  “Here Come Those Tears Again. “You’re A Friend.” “Rosie.” And I can go on and on, yet…Yet, somehow, I’ve never heard this song.  Shaking my head in wonder.  How’s that possible?

And if you’re a purist, here’s Jackson Browne’s acoustic version of the same song (and a far superior version in my opinion) to ease you into the weekend:

↓ click for audio (Jackson Browne: Sky Blue and Black)

jackson-browne-sky-blue-and-black.mp3


Music Inspiration: Thank you gene-how.  Image Source: Image Credit: Rollingstone

Vincent

And as a follow-on to my last post – a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh by Don McLean.

Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colors on the snowy linen land

Swirling clouds in violet haze
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue
Colors changing hue
Morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free
They would not listen, they’re not listening still
Perhaps they never will

Gaga

Lady Gaga, quote, quotation, average, success, self-help, inspiration

“I am terrified…of being average.”

~ Lady Gaga


Sources: Image – Magic Spells.  Quote: quote-book via creatingaquietmind.

Easing out of the work week with Till Brönner…

Till Brönner is a German Jazz musician, trumpet player, singer, composer, arranger and producer.  Smooth, peaceful and easy…



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