Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Feeling and Time

For Hasty, time has quality(ies), and cannot be a pure, unbroken flow. I interact with time always, all the time, every minute, etc. I feel it, and it moves me. Perhaps the most obvious quality is its speed or perceived speed. At times I feel that I can control time, and then again, in other moments, it seems to control me.

My most powerful interactions with time and its qualities, its submission and dominance, have necessarily involved music. I set up a rhythm, reaffirm it, and deny or stop it. With my hands on the keys, I cake up the form I have given to time, and with full awareness, alter it. It may be called a shift from duple to triple, but the underlying feeling of time itself and its movement changes.

Music seems to be such a direct conduit into the nature of time itself precisely because it been regarded for so long as inherently and necessarily rhythmic, and rhythm has been set up as temporal flow. If the meaning of music and the idea of temporal flow are so closely bound up in one another, then when time becomes not a pure form but a qualitative aspect of experience, then music becomes in interaction with time. Every musical event, both as a whole and as every event that occurs within that whole, marks the experience of that moment of time, holding within it the power to slow it, accelerate it, expand it, contract it, and so forth. In the case of any kind of acoustic music, this power is then ultimately transferred to the performer, and so we have arrived back at our starting point - the empowering ability to interact with time.

However, I must admit that this near abandonment to total subjectivity sometimes frightens me. I do not know what to do when faced with the fact that our only hope for common understanding becomes chance, or perhaps the proof that the duple, for example, is somehow physiologically fundamental to (almost?) everyone's perception of rhythmic events.

No comments: