Friday, November 13, 2015

The Illimitable Powers of Music - A Form of Omniprescence Unequaled?

I remember, as a child of about 8 or 9, bouncing along dusty paths and roads, whistling some of the tunes that positively ensnared me, from the legendary 1938  Carnegie Hall concert with Benny Goodman - day after day, as I  made  my way back to the cottage my family occupied each August in Old Forge in the Adirondack mountains, I most distinctly recall my whistling the same tunes, after my daily swims in Old Forge Pond intermingled with games of horseshoes with Mr. Murphy and his friends. My first piano teacher, Mr. Benjamin Falkoff, would have turned purple had he known of my choice of 'tunes to whistle', rather than the pieces, such as he had taught me that year; pieces  such as "Pomponette" and "Bonjour," let alone the lyrical exercises of Concone, Gurlitt and Streabogg.
And how the melodies of George Gershwin in his 1924 history-changing "Rhapsody in Blue" surrounded me during the following months of that same year. And even then, I was beginning to 'sort of ' comprehend the kind of impact that those two concerts had on the path of music - how those concerts had  transmogrified the traditional place of Jazz, as it had applied to "serious" music up until that period of time, even though the two concerts were spaced some fourteen years apart.
And, as I sometimes  look back at my past experiences, especially during childhood; how constant and  redolent with 'Presence' this truly arcane language was - and, of course, is-
Would it be possible to know of a day without music being part of my consciousness? Probably not, save for such traumas as the death of a family member; or having undergone surgery, or heaviness of that content.
There is almost always a tune that passes through my day, when I am not within sight of  a piano, or a radio or CD player or the like.
True; as a musician, I would expect such things to attend each and every day - but for most of us who are not in the field or are not possessed of natural musical gifts - is music not there to be surrounded by? How many of us remember the Walkman strapped to our heads as we walked down a street? How many of us whistle or hum a  tune here and there, veritably daily? How many kids have hordes of tunes downloaded in innumerable electronic devices?  Or adults? How many malls have music going on in their speakers before and after business hours, just for those who are there cleaning these places up? How many elevators give us music, even if it is  for twelve seconds? Was there a more effective way of coalescing the public than using the parade and marching bands, with songs written for particular occasions, than the ways of music Hitler utilized during his twelve years of power?  Another example  has been related by more than one historian  about the power of music that helped  bind the early Christians together during their first fragile years.
And on and on -
I find myself humming, as I walk my ten miles per week...                                



Blogger Peter Vinton said...

You never run short of thought-provokers. Thank you for this one! --Peter V.

November 19, 2015 at 1:42 PM  

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