Monday, September 17, 2012

Sound is the Freedom

There is moment in the the beginning of Andrew Zuckerman’s documentary, Music, in which Iggy Pop, Clint Black, Dizzee Rascal, and Eve, to name a few, search for a definition music; a thoughtful, telling moment, wherein the essential mystery of the art form is perfectly exposed. Words, after all, are a pitiful substitute for the musical experience, which, as  these artists describe it, bypasses the intellect and directly addresses the soul. The mystical, in the creation, performance, and enjoyment of music is a theme returned to again and again in this film.  The artists refer to themselves variously, as conduits, translators, channels. Itzhak Perlman argues that at some point, the musician should stop playing his instrument (because, of course, we can all play), and start talking the music. The idea that the music is something beyond the composer, performer, and audience; a nexus of connections (to use John Williams’s phrase), goes a long way toward explaining the musical transaction, and acknowledges the role of the listener in its more expansive, protean qualities. As Ornette Coleman tells us, “Sound is the freedom; it’s you that change the music.”

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