LECTURE Jazz

Improvisation!   Perhaps the Freest Period in Music History.

[OPENING PAGE]  Singing dolphins and whales existed in oceans long before Mankind wandered on land. I believe our original language was singing, expressed gutturally, in raised or lowered pitches, but we somehow sang to communicate. Today, if we listen to whales and dolphins singing on compact disc, we intuitively feel an emotional connection; try to imagine the earliest Primates as they tried to convey their thoughts?
An experiment made about fifteen years ago, out in the ocean, on a ship with a group of musicians playing on deck, into a microphone connected to an underwater loudspeaker and circling around it, dolphins swam and sang with the music played from above; but when a CD was played through the same sound system, instead of singing along, these same dolphins swam silently past the speakers, unconcerned. Of course, with their sensitivity for sonar vibration, they feel the reverberations from the performing musicians; but 'vibes' from a CD are rather sterile, by comparison, and these singing creatures, from ocean depths, remained indifferent, uninterested.
[CLOSING PAGE] Now, I've spoken to you about dolphins, whales and birds singing to communicate; contemporary jazz played on primitive sea shell instruments; the difficulties for musicians changing music throughout the ages; twentieth century's experimentation in jazz, conceivably the freest of all periods for musicians to stylise their own music; the uneducated, but talented, feeling the vibrations and magnetic pull of harmonies as they improvise; Pythagoras, Fisher and the very well tempered Bach; the effect of consonant and dissonant music on plant growth; and the mixing, by migrations, of music-cultures. And since I've tried to weave a spiritual thread through music history, I want to emphasize that all music is from the brain, it's all man made; the brain is always scanning its collected information (stored in the subconscious) searching for problems to solve; an example can be a strange dream while we sleep; this is WHY mankind has the power to create order out of chaos; the brain searches for a better way. And this especially pertains to musicians - because your brain is continuously scanning music/data in search of problems to resolve. Someday it may be proven that more brain cells are connected, during a lifetime, when composing or studying music than with any other activity, therefore music is therapeutic; it can help one be tolerant and have more peace of mind.
You people have been most gracious and I thank you... but I must make a confession; I'm a moon worshiper. I love to gaze at the moon and think about the fact that it has been circling this planet since the beginning of our solar system - long before dolphins sang, and I wonder what spiritual relevance, or metaphysical influence, our Moon has made on us? Each of you pianists must try to put your 'Meaning of the Moon' into the quality of your touch and tone/control; it is the emplacement of your thoughts into your sound. You ask, "How?" The answer is in trying and struggling for years and after the data  is digested, or fermented, in the unconscious mind....you'll notice an improvement in your sound / identity....and then listeners will find your music more meaningful.


Copyright ©  2002 Walter Norris.