Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On Instruments and Methods

I often wonder how much we play music and how much music and indeed our instruments play us.

I was struck tonight by this quote from Stravinsky, honoring his birthday, from the Yale School of Music:

Stravinsky: "I have learned... through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to fonts of wisdom and knowledge."

While I certainly would not stop learning from books (and I have many on music and many scores), there is a certain element of truth to this statement.

Music is, in part, learning from the past, but music is also an encounter with the instrments and tools themselves. This is especially true in the world of electronics where the circuts, the modules, the tubes, even the capacitors and resistors, are part of an exploratory process. Electronics respond to us and we respond to them and somewhere in that mix comes art (or so we can hope).

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