Whenever I sit down to write these Musical Notes, I think to myself, what on earth am I going to write about this time? A minute later and I've realised how much there is to say about what's been going on in my local, Newent, musical life and it becomes more a case of how to cut this information down to manageable proportions. It's been said before - there is something in Newent's air that makes it a focal point for music making.
Last night I took part in the Newent Community School concert in
Gloucester Cathedral with hundreds of people, children and adults either
performing or listening in the audience. Listening and performing are
dependent on musical education, whether a formal process, or simply
'self-taught' and the successful results of all those ingredients were
there in full view. It's the fact of relationships, of a
coming-together, between the many facets of making music that brings it
all to life.
This month I was introduced to a project applying itself to
relationships in music making that could well have a significant
influence on local music and beyond. 'Soundscape', the brain child of
David Sass, has the aim, like our orchestra, of promoting music,
encouraging musical participation, education and relationships between
musicians and the public. Unlike the orchestra, it is coming from the
direction of rock and popular culture rather than classical. This I
like. There is much potential for mutual support and some interesting
projects that could involve our players. Time will tell, but watch this
Our Music Appreciation Group (NOMAG)
meets again shortly and, thinking above about popular culture, there is
something that bothers several of its members that I hope to help with.
This is the relationship of digital technology and listening to
classical music. For anyone not at home with a tablet, laptop or
smartphone, the words 'streaming', 'podcast' and 'download' can be
pretty alien creatures. Streaming, for example, and 'the cloud' have
confusing visual associations with rivers and the sky that are quite
alarming. Come along to the next meeting for a simple clarification if
Oh, yes, and just in case you were wondering about the picture at the
beginning of this newsletter, it's a bit of that alarming but in this
case beautiful technology: 'cymatics' is the art of making music
visible; the picture is a typical cymatic image made from acoustic
vibrations and is remarkably similar to the image of the 'mandala', a
pictorial representation of psychological wholeness and healing.
Mandalas were created in the religious art of many different cultures as
inspiring objects for meditation. Happy musical meditating!