Sunday, February 12, 2006

Absorbing music

From Richard Powers's The Time of our Singing:
I worked through the Lyric Pieces, one every two weeks, a dozen bars every afternoon. I'd repeat the phrase until the notes dissolved under me, the way a word turns back to meaningless purity when chanted long enough. I'd split twelve bars into six, then shatter it down to one. One bar, halting, rethreading, retaking, now soft, now mezzo, now note for staggered note. I'd experiment with the attacks, making my hands a rod and striking each machine-coupled note. I'd relax and roll a chord as if it were written out arpeggio. I'd repeat the drill, depressing the keys so slowly they didn't sound, playing the whole passage with only releases. I'd lean on the bass or feel my hands, like an apprentice conjurer extracting hidden interior harmonies from the fray.
Hat tip to The Rest is Noise.


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