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Re: creative isolation

>Dr Michael Pycraft Hughes wrote:
>>Finally, Andre recommended listening to completely different avenues of
>>music in order to overcome copying other musicians.  Matthias (got the 
>>yet?) went one step further in suggesting listening to _no_ other
>>musicians.  I'll go the whole hog and say _give up your instrument_!  OK
>>it's a bit extreme.
>This, to me, sounds like a means toward overcoming one's musical 
>But might not it be closer to the *learning* of something new.  Can we 
>the way we organize our thoughts, perhaps even our personalities, by 
>up a new language?  Perhaps.  But might this be an indirect means, 
>haphazard, and eliminative of the stuff that has worked for us.

To an extent, for me, it wasn't so much a case of learning something new as
unlearning something old.  The muscle memory cleared; I could still move my
fingers as before (after a couple of weeks of exercises anyway!), but I'd
lost many of the old blues licks that I'd previously tended to drop into my
playing at any opportunity.  Rather than learn the instrument in the
"traditional" sense of learning simple stuff, them mor complex stuff and so
on, I was able to start straight into a musical environment closer to what
I percieve is "the music I'd like to sound like".  By starting to re-learn
my vocabulary, I was able to clear out all the influences (many just picked
up from the radio) that I'd never felt should be there, and structure my
music from the ground up.

>In Gestalt psychology, there is the duality of figure and ground.  Have
>you ever seen those plates (line drawings) that can been seen as either
>an old woman or a pretty young woman.  We are often jumping back and 
>altering our own perspective on what we see, on what we hear.  Maybe in 
>moment I will hear my striving to express an ideal as played by one of my
>heros, as played by one of my influences.  In the next moment, I will hear
>that the voice has become me, that I am making the statement now, and
>that I have appropriated the music as my own.   It is amazing when this
>happens, joyful.  All of a sudden, my whole is greater than the sum of
>its parts, of its influences.  It is like catching that great proverbial
>wave and going for it.  Thought and striving almost seem to stop as we
>are witness to our own creativity, our own ability to make a statement
>that is in ways like others, but yet like no other.  Figure and ground.
>Figure and ground.  Go figure!

I've read about this a lot, and have experienced it a few times - that
rapture when you're no longer playing your fingers, they're playing
themselves whilst you listen to exactly the kind of music you always wanted
to play.  I find myself thinking "I never realised my voice would sound so
much like _____ or ____", but knowing that it _is_ my voice, without a

Unfortunately, this doesn't happen very often for me.  How about everyone 


Dr Michael Pycraft Hughes      Bioelectronic Research Centre, Rankine Bldg,
Tel: (+44) 141 330 5979        University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, U.K.
    "Wha's like us?  Damn few, and they're a' deid!" - Scottish proverb