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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000945.txt from 2000/09

From: (William Wright)
Subj: Re: [kl] Smiling and feelings (vs. music)
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 11:37:06 -0400

<><><> Bill Wright wrote:
Obviously the more that a person understands how his or her nervous
system works, the more likely the person is to reach appropriate

<><> Tony=A0Pay wrote:
I thought that that was the precise opposite of the philosophy in your

No, the book advocates that we (human beings, not you and I in
particular) learn about aspects of 'our nature' that once were unknown
or misunderstood. But this is what we would expect from a practicing
neurologist (who, by the way, helped uncover what little we know about
Alzheimer's, so he is a hands-on neurologist rather than a philosopher),
don't you think?

<><> I notice that I'm arguing against you rather more strongly
than I would have expected. I think that's because I get the impression
that you have an idea of what musicians do that you want to *explain* to

I'm reluctant to discuss anyone's personality in public because,
too often, someone gets hurt. But concerning myself, I think it's OK to
confess that I have always been somewhat of a 'musical klutz', and this
has caused me a reasonable amount of pain during my life. The thing
that I especially like about clarinet is that, after 60 years, I feel
like I finally have a chance of actually making some music instead of
just listening to it and wishing.
When I was in first or second grade, chorus was mandatory, and the
teacher told me during the second week, "Bill, we are going to make an
exception in your case. You are dismissed from chorus. Please report
to study hall each morning instead."
When I was in high school, I heard Carlos Montoya play flamenco
guitar at a concert, and I talked my parents into guitar lessons. I
gave up in frustration after a couple of years. During this period, my
grandfather told me stories about how he was travelling salesman and
wowed the ladies with his guitar paying. I'm sure his tales were
embellished a bit, but he promised me similar exploits if only I could
learn to play. He gave me his own guitar and also his own mandolin. He
said that the mandolin really "did it" for the ladies. (I took the
mandolin into a dealer a couple of years ago, and the shop owner drooled
over it.)
Soon after I got married, my wife and I bought a piano on sale and
took piano lessons. That lasted a couple of years also.
I know you had no intention, but you *have* touched on one of my
vulnerabilities. Why (in the past) have I been unable to 'feel' my way
toward playing music? I take no offense, of course. But explaining how
music works (even if only to myself) *is* very important to me.
'Feeling' my way in the dark towards has always been the deepest
imaginable frustration for me.
.... that's enough crying in my beer.....

<><> Hence the idea, in past times, of muses, and gods; and in the
present, of the unconscious.) So we are prepared to be moved and
surprised by our 'feelings' and our thoughts when we play.

You know, it was only a few nights ago that I wondered about the
etymology of the word "music". I looked it up and found the derivation.
As you already know, it comes from a Greek word -- my keyboard doesn't
have the necessary characters -- that means "belonging to the muses."
Eventually I was going to post some thoughts about why "music" was
the particular art that was named after the goddesses of art.

<><> (BTW, I expect your instructor, in having you *choose* your
mouthpiece, is trying to get you in touch with your 'feeling' for what
is right, not in the world of doing, but in the world of listening.)

I don't think so, in my case at least. One of my many problems is
too much emphasis on the higher partials, and I was grumping to her
about it. She had never played my particular brand of mouthpiece (she's
a professional in a pit, among other things), and so she asked to try
mine. She grimaced and said, "Bill, you must get another mouthpiece,
and I want you to take three of them on trial...." etc.
However, breaking free of my constraints has always been an obvious
problem, and she's tried many different methods of shaking me loose from
I will tell you that during my one and only student rectal, I sort
of halfway succeeded, which is why I have hopes that the clarinet will
(eventually) dom something for me that no other instrument has.

<><> Art, as practised, was always the best argument against
Descartes, for its practitioners at least.

No, I disagree completely! I have to leave the keyboard right now,
but I assure you that I will post about this assertion later.


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