Ramblings: The Spirit of Music
Some topics for the Fifteenth Walk, Bodfari to Prestatyn, Spirit of the Dyke, last lap, 12 m
The psychological process of growing and maturing has been described as one of discovering all the different facets of oneself and then marrying them into a complete life. Nietzsche, like the hermetic, alchemical philosophers, explained this as a marriage of opposites, achievable through art and in particular music.
Music can be a path to enlightenment; one of a myriad, but a valid one nevertheless. To arrive at an ultimate destination requires a long journey when every piece of music, every style and genre can present an opportunity to respond and learn about yourself. Music is not just an entertainment and this is probably why Plato made his complaint, "Through foolishness they deceived themselves into thinking that there was no right or wrong way in music, that it was to be judged good or bad by the pleasure it gave."
The spirit of music has the ability to influence us and change us. We know this to be a physical fact when all those neurones fire off and release hormones into the brain. Music can push us to become whole, to unite mind and body, to strive for individuation.
Discovering Your Self
Playing and listening to music is an endless process of self discovery. Finding out what you respond to and how you respond, finding out what your limits are, discovering what turns you on and what repulses you, communicating with others, playing with others, developing technique, learning to play in an ensemble, going to a concert, listening on your own, all these can be elements in a process of discovery, a personal journey that everyone can take and in so doing meet with others on the way.
Whatever you will discover in music, you will discover in your self.
Destiny and Destination
Our journey started in Babylonia, with priestly astrologers and went via Pythagoras to the Middle Ages. Throughout this time, the spirit of music was projected into the cosmos which reflected back down to earth the wonders of harmony.
Then our journey continued through the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment when Descartes questioned everything and his philosophy represented a clear division, "cartesian duality", between mind and matter, between art and science, inner and outer realms of experience. The music of the spheres fell silent.
Arriving today we find that composers, in their disconnect with the cosmic musical spheres have turned to discover and explore the inner universe. Their new music, like that of old, is not an expression of the composer's feelings and beliefs but is music with a selfless and spiritual purpose, meant to make the brain respond and resonate with musical awareness. The music of the spheres is resounding again, this time inside our selves where the spirit of music lies.