The Ride, Not the Result

Well, another inspiring day in class. We talked about chordophones today, beginning in ancient Persia (so we think) roughly 3,300 years ago. We talked at length about how, as instruments traveled along the Silk Road, they were invariably influenced by the new environments they found themselves in—various iterations would be built with different “ingredients,” so to speak, as folks used what was readily available to craft their likenesses. The very resonance of these instruments changed with the difference of materials as well as the hands that played them, steeped in their respective cultures and musical ideologies.

It’s all from the same source…all music is born out of a single core…influencing its next step in evolution…in communication with everything…it is in everything…it is nature itself, turned intelligible and “captured” …or perhaps “channeled” is a better word…

We’ve been listening to a lot of Kayhan Kalhor’s music in my class. He is a world-renowned kemancheh player, playing traditional Iranian music. It defies meter. It challenges the ideas I hold about “melody.” It is incredibly soulful, violent and tender at the same time, and you can hear his bow shaking ancient dust out of the tune. Though the songs often sound somewhat erratic to my western ears, they’re actually built out of dedicated practice and devotion to the traditional teachings of a master. A certain amount of trust must be built up between the keeper of the customs and the pupil before they are allowed to improvise on the instrument. 

To watch him play is to watch him surrender himself to some divine force, like his hands are possessed by something else entirely and the music just flows and flows through him…it’s amazing to behold. It’s humbling. It makes me want to practice every spare moment of every day, until I can chisel away at the chaos in my mind and give in to something larger, older, more profound than I can ever be. To let the music go free into the world, rather than trying to mold it to my own motive. Does that make sense? Is that too woo-woo?

In other news, I did actually take steps towards this today by studying the circle of fifths. It’s slowly leaking into my brain and awareness. Every song I listen to now is a journey, no matter the genre. I am bursting with eagerness to hear the blueprint, to uncover another fold of what the music has to say…

Now, to temper and focus this passion. To temper this blaze inside me, this hunger which slips from my body limply, without direction. To hold it close and shine it like a lantern into the heart of another. 

Or maybe, just maybe, I need to freakin’ chill…set my bar lower, take baby steps, enjoy the ride…yes, that’s the way…the ride, not the result, the ride, not the result, the ride, not the result…the ride…

Published by Hannah

Just yer average girl next door.

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