Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bi(non)lingual Chamber Music

It's such an interesting thing to rehearse in two languages.  Yes, music is the universal language, but words really help to clarify.  And yes, much can be said without words, but thousands of years have done a good job of categorizing and labeling certain human expressions so that they can be easily and fairly accurately transmitted to others.  I think my time in Japan has helped me to respect the beauty of language.  And also that it is possible to work without it, with practice.  But I do think that it takes practice.  It is a skill that requires nurturing and perhaps has to be grown between specific people or groups of people, getting to know what to expect, learning to intuit something and make valid assumptions.  And so growing with a new chamber music group in this way is a really beautiful opportunity.  Just as in any chamber music ensemble, musicians have to really put out their "feelers," have to "read the air" and infer what another person's intentions are.  Listening is so important, but listening in a very active way.  Even with those that speak the same language, there is a point past which words cannot go.  They certainly help in getting there, but to work without them is a wonderful exercise in the art of chamber music.

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