A friend asked me recently what I was thinking when putting my stuff together. Inherent in the question is not just the sense that I can transfer meaning from projecting my emotions into the work itself but furthermore, that the work has a meaning beyond the notes themselves, an objective perceptual reality.
I struggle with music and meaning; I’ve read Myer’s book and didn’t care for it – too much inferential fudging. I can read Baudrillard for such entertainment.
To the first issue; do I write a piece because I’m emotionally moved by some thing / issue grander than an initial musical idea? Occassionally. It is, however, an inevitable byproduct of making music on computers that one has to deal with the ‘how’ as soon as soon as one has a ‘why’ to work with (an issue that instrumentalists can seemlessly assimilate into their ‘flow’, a valued and necessary goal of improvisers). I believe that I will frequently revise my original intent along the path to finishing a track, an interaction that robs my initial emotional intentions (however sincere) of any real rigour. Frequently, it is only when I come to name a track that its emotional content really comes into focus for me. Not that I am devoid of feeling when creating, my aim is always to make stuff ‘from the heart’, but that intent is frequently nebulous and somewhat elusive. Once I’ve finished, I get a better understanding of the whole of the piece and can further percieve how it resonates. Or I’m rationalising my process, depending on your viewpoint..
As to the second, somewhat larger issue, I am unwilling to subscribe to universal interpretations of music. Delineating between learned responses, psycho-acoustics and arguments that have been all-too-readily transposed from the philosophy of language seems nigh impossible, at least until we’ve delved much deeper into the workings of the human brain. Something is being exchanged in the playing and listening of music. I’m content with accepting that that something is slightly beyond defining right now. It is profound and mysterious. As good a reason as any I can think of to continue making and seeking out new music.
The piece below sounds how it was intended if you download the .wav file and disproportionately wrong if you stream the MP3 from Soundcloud, also something of mystery to me..