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Appreciation for Music
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5/31/13 2:25 AM
Hey guys,

So I was wondering that as we make progress on the path, do we develop a deeper connection and appreciation of Music ?
Are we able to "feel" it more intimately or at least like we did before A&P ?

Currently I seem to be cycling through DN. Ever since A&P, I've lost the deep connection I once had with Music. Now it's more like background noise, sometimes pleasant sometimes unpleasant and I dont really get into it. I tried to practice metta towards Music but I'm not sure if it made any difference.

I will be glad if some advanced practitioners could pour some insight into this.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
5/31/13 9:46 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
Oh absolutely! I've played piano since as long as I can remember and now I'm going to school for music performance. I've noticed that being in certain nanas definitely changes my feelings for music and the way it resonates with me. For example, at the A&P, I can compose tons of music, learn tons of music, appreciate just about everything I hear, and hear so much joy in the music. It's like during the A&P, when I listen to music or look at any art in general, I can feel a strong connection to the person who made it, or even to some creative, collective consciousness.

Actually, now that I think about this more in-depth, I suppose you could call music an object within meditation and treat it like anything else. I really like the chapter in MCTB- the vipassana jhanas. Daniel talks about how different objects can be used and how whatever the object is, it will tend to change according to the progression through the vipassana jhanas. I suppose this also touches on the fractal nature of the vipassana jhanas. But anyways, it seems like you can plug in almost any variable to the vipassana jhanas. At VJ1, music can seem stable, coherent, solid, etc... At VJ2, the music can seem extremely blissful, full of wisdom and inherent meaning, energetic, and very alive. At VJ3, like you said, the glory of the music can fade away, there might be frustrating feelings when you try to appreciate it in the same way, and it might feel like you can't connect to it, like everything is bleak. At VJ4, you might be able to sink very deeply into the music as a whole, on a possibly unconscious level. It may seem easy to be absorbed in the work... As cliche as the description is, it might seem like the work is a massive cloud in a wide open sky, drifting by, or maybe a thousand small clouds smoothly appearing and vanishing.


Currently I seem to be cycling through DN. Ever since A&P, I've lost the deep connection I once had with Music. Now it's more like background noise, sometimes pleasant sometimes unpleasant and I dont really get into it. I tried to practice metta towards Music but I'm not sure if it made any difference.


What kind of music are you listening to? It's just my opinion, but I think the quality of music, especially mainstream, has heavily decreased over the last few decades. I like listening to a lot of classical music since there are many composers who dedicated their lives to finding ways to express very deep feelings, with hardly any monetary rewards.

Here's some music that I think fits well into the 3rd vipassana jhana-

- Chopin nocturne, op 37 no 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PB3bYaWosM

- Chopin etude, op 10 no. 6 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr6YlwSOK-U

- Chopin etude, op 25 no. 7 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54A9A--ED90

- Chopin's most well known funeral march, from his 2nd sonata - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgw_RD_1_5I

- Scriabin sonata no. 3, mvt. 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNJ-k4XUoPw

All of these pieces deal with despair, desperation, bleakness, dark, intimate feelings, loss, pain, etc... Which can all be themes in the 3rd vipassana jhana/dark night of the soul.

I wouldn't call myself an "advanced practitioner", but I'm heavily into the study of music, and a vipassana meditator who is definitely familiar with the 3rd vipassana jhana. Good luck emoticon

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/1/13 12:13 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
This is not the kind of thread that I would normally be posting to. But since I've made similar observations to yours, I will share some thoughts. Music was always a passion of mine, before. But after, I can take it or leave it. I still enjoy it when on rare occasions I decide to listen to something. It's just that there are so many other compelling things to do that music has taken a back seat in my life.
Sweet Nothing:

Currently. . . I've lost the deep connection I once had with Music. Now it's more like background noise, sometimes pleasant sometimes unpleasant and I don't really get into it. I tried to practice metta towards Music but I'm not sure if it made any difference.

I will be glad if some advanced practitioners could pour some insight into this.

I've had the same observation as the emphasized section above. I think at the time that this was occurring at its highest apogee, it had to do with the stage of practice I was undergoing during that time. You described it perfectly: background noise, sometimes pleasant sometimes unpleasant, and not something I wanted to be into during those moments.

For quite some time afterward, I consciously declined to initiate listening to music. It no longer had the emotional draw it used to have. Yet, I could still appreciate it if I ran into it. And then turn off my attention to it if it was interfering with something else I was doing.

That stage of my practice had to do with the practice of satipatthana. Satipatthana practice can be very intense in terms of its combination with mindfulness. It's all about watching the body, feeling (vedana), the mind, and mind states (dhammas) during each moment of the time one is conscious. This can be an all-consuming activity, much more compelling than anything else that may be happening in the background.

Sweet Nothing:
So I was wondering that as we make progress on the path, do we develop a deeper connection and appreciation of Music? Are we able to "feel" it more intimately or at least like we did before A&P?

For myself, I think the latter. The "deeper connection and appreciation" may be an individual predilection. I noticed no change there, personally. I suspect it depends on how deeply one was connected to and appreciated it before. It did lose some of its personal charge, though. I was able to listen while filtering out any emotion (if I wanted to). You have to be really mindful of anatta and what it means, though, to do this.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/1/13 9:15 AM as a reply to Mind over easy.
Wow, thanks for such a detailed response !

Just 1 week before my first retreat I got myself a 49 key Midi Keyboard with the intention to learn to play the Piano and produce some Music. In those days I absolutely loved Music and carried my headphones wherever I went. I could feel nothing else the way I felt Music and I was absolutely excited about making some. I was also a light user of marijuana back then, and it certainly influenced my taste and experience. When under influence, I felt as if I am a little ahead of the moment and can see exactly how it's going to play out, and would imagine the other ways in which I would have constructed it.


This is why I wanted to learn production, just as a side hobby to see what I can make. However, in my first retreat I crossed A&P and never felt the emotional connection again. Since then I have used the keyboard only 4 or 5 times. I got stoned a handful of times after that but it was very different from before. The high was more of a background affair, my direct perception of Music and Art was more profound than ever but there was no sense of joy in it. My head was moving to the rhythm by itself and I could intuitively understand exactly what the artists were trying to put across, but not with the kind of joy or excitement I used to experience before. So I gave up smoking altogether and I never liked drinking, so I decided I might as well try to work on improving my experience of the present moment rather than seeking temporary highs.

It is hard to recollect much from A&P since it happened fairly quickly, but it was full of motivation. I genuinely believed I can use this birth to transform the world and that's what I will do, but now I just dont care. I agree with you on the connection with the artist. It felt like such an incredible piece of art, almost divine.

I will surely read through MCTB parts you have mentioned, sounds very interesting. Unfortunately I progressed through to the first 3 Jhanas in a single retreat, so I was unable to observe the changing nature of the sound sense. What you have mentioned gives me motivation and encouragement to sail through towards the 4th Jhana.

What kind of music are you listening to? It's just my opinion, but I think the quality of music, especially mainstream, has heavily decreased over the last few decades. I like listening to a lot of classical music since there are many composers who dedicated their lives to finding ways to express very deep feelings, with hardly any monetary rewards.


I agree completely about the deterioration of Music.
I used to listen to all types of Music except very Heavy Metal/Satanic cursing and I liked something about everything. I even liked Dubstep in the last year. However, in the past year I was leaning much more towards Instrumental rhythm based Music rather than Vocals. Just before the retreat I was deep into Progressive Trance, Trance and Psy trance (more of Goa). I also deeply felt Classical and Indian classical Music, but I did not hear them extensively.

Even though I barely listen, I would say some of my current favorites are :

The Scientist - Coldplay
Yellow - Coldplay
Rolling in the Deep - Adele
Fly like an Eagle - Steve Miller Band
Lot of Oribital's Music
Kashmir, Stairway to Heaven - Led Zep
The Fray - You found me
Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata, Some symphonies
Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
Imagine - John Lennon / Perfect Circle

Just so you get a general idea. I also listen to Indian/Western classical but have no favorites.

What happens with western classical is: The notes are sometimes played so rapidly that I space out and cannot keep track. I tend to prefer classical Music which is simpler and easier.

Thanks for listing out recommendations. I will surely go through them tonight. I'm glad you answered.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/1/13 9:22 AM as a reply to Ian And.
Ian And:
This is not the kind of thread that I would normally be posting to.

Thanks for honoring me ! emoticon


For quite some time afterward, I consciously declined to initiate listening to music. It no longer had the emotional draw it used to have. Yet, I could still appreciate it if I ran into it. And then turn off my attention to it if it was interfering with something else I was doing.


I feel exactly the same way. My attention simply turns away to other sense objects or mental objects and I dont notice the music unless I consciously try to keep my mind on it.


That stage of my practice had to do with the practice of satipatthana. Satipatthana practice can be very intense in terms of its combination with mindfulness. It's all about watching the body, feeling (vedana), the mind, and mind states (dhammas) during each moment of the time one is conscious. This can be an all-consuming activity, much more compelling than anything else that may be happening in the background.


Deeper sattipatthana training and understanding is my next goal, after completing MCTB.

For myself, I think the latter. The "deeper connection and appreciation" may be an individual predilection. I noticed no change there, personally. I suspect it depends on how deeply one was connected to and appreciated it before. It did lose some of its personal charge, though. I was able to listen while filtering out any emotion (if I wanted to). You have to be really mindful of anatta and what it means, though, to do this.


Thanks for the honest review. No point of sulking here for me since I cannot go back. emoticon

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/1/13 10:17 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
So I was wondering that as we make progress on the path, do we develop a deeper connection and appreciation of Music ?


A lot of people ask about sense pleasures. I always say I pretty much like all the same things I did before I started meditating. Past 3rd path your relationship to sense pleasures remains the same, meaning an anagami and arahant have the same feeling of sense pleasures.

Obviously some of the emotions that music previously gave you go away, (yes this implies the limited action model is correct) but the undercurrent of contentedness stays, it just ends up regular, everything ends up regular.

What is enlightenment? It's regular.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/1/13 11:23 AM as a reply to Bailey ..
Blue .:
So I was wondering that as we make progress on the path, do we develop a deeper connection and appreciation of Music ?


A lot of people ask about sense pleasures. I always say I pretty much like all the same things I did before I started meditating. Past 3rd path your relationship to sense pleasures remains the same, meaning an anagami and arahant have the same feeling of sense pleasures.

Obviously some of the emotions that music previously gave you go away, (yes this implies the limited action model is correct) but the undercurrent of contentedness stays, it just ends up regular, everything ends up regular.

What is enlightenment? It's regular.


Are you saying that :

The journey is a roller coaster ride that ends in the same place where it began, simply with an undying insight about the truth ?
What I read in MCTB about the baseline experience of an Arahant being completely different from our ordinary baseline gave me a different idea. What about unconditional joy/happiness/contentment ?

Goenkaji says that advanced practitioners of the scanning technique comprehend sound as pleasant/unpleasant vibrations/tickling based on the minds evaluation of the content.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/17/13 5:56 AM as a reply to Mind over easy.
Mind over easy:


At VJ4, you might be able to sink very deeply into the music as a whole, on a possibly unconscious level. It may seem easy to be absorbed in the work... As cliche as the description is, it might seem like the work is a massive cloud in a wide open sky, drifting by, or maybe a thousand small clouds smoothly appearing and vanishing.


Ever since low Eq I'm able to "sink in" a lot more. It's probably more profound than it was before I started meditation. Now I can get really into it if I keep my attention. Feels good to be back, temporarily !


Here's some music that I think fits well into the 3rd vipassana jhana-


I tried some back when you suggested, but couldn't feel anything. Will go through again now, thanks. emoticon

My current fav : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-Xm7s9eGxU - Erik Satie - Gymnopédie No.1

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/17/13 6:57 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
I've gotten a better appreciation of music because I was attaching to it less (meaning listening less) and enjoying more by not self-referencing about it or trying to make the art about "me". I could delve into what the artist was intending and therefore get more out of it. Yet there is a sense of satisfaction. Instead of being addicted to it you get what you want and can put it away for a period of time.

In particular I got deeper into classical music because it required a larger attention span and I was able to notice more detail that enhanced the experience. I particularly got into Beethoven Piano Sonatas. Most of the named ones became favorites (especially the Waldstein by Gilels).

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/18/13 5:56 AM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
I found that I am more and more driven away from emotional fuzzy-feeling types of music (such as coldplay) and more and more into music that is about sound: about the richness, texture, surprise, humour, detail, etc that sound can convey. Contrary to you, I have actually started playing more and more music recently, in this latter style (I too have a 49 key midi keyboard! emoticon )

This new way of making music is most strongly represented in the improv / experimental scenes (and, I was told, also in more modern classical music), and only rarely appears in pop. There are some exceptions, such as velvet underground.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/18/13 7:13 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
I found that I am more and more driven away from emotional fuzzy-feeling types of music (such as coldplay)
wow, thanks ;)


This new way of making music is most strongly represented in the improv / experimental scenes (and, I was told, also in more modern classical music), and only rarely appears in pop. There are some exceptions, such as velvet underground.


Yeah, Music is all about change and constantly evolving. What's experimental today can be mainstream tomorrow.
My general observation was the expression that I was unable to identify with any of it in the DN, and now I'm able to feel it once more since low eq.

Why not share some of your stuff ? How did you learn to play the keyboard ? I just dont have the motivation right now.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/18/13 7:43 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
So true. Moonlight Sonata was one of the first classical compositions I really liked.
Ever since low eq, although I appreciate music I no longer feel compulsion towards it. Back in the days before meditation I would take headphones everywhere I went. Now a few songs now and then are just about enough.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/19/13 9:56 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
I found that I am more and more driven away from emotional fuzzy-feeling types of music (such as coldplay) and more and more into music that is about sound: about the richness, texture, surprise, humour, detail, etc that sound can convey. Contrary to you, I have actually started playing more and more music recently, in this latter style (I too have a 49 key midi keyboard! emoticon )

This new way of making music is most strongly represented in the improv / experimental scenes (and, I was told, also in more modern classical music), and only rarely appears in pop. There are some exceptions, such as velvet underground.



Nice! Not to sound purist or anything, but... coming from the classical tradition, I think that the best composers I know from 1600-1900 have thoroughly explored those parameters and more, to a large extent. Haydn, Chopin, Bach, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, and Scriabin come to mind, along with performers like Rubinstein, Cortot, Gould, Sofronitsky, and Cherkassky. I'm actually fairly interested in where classical composition is going (because I'm a composer alive today, so I have to, maybe... swim with the fishes, so to speak). Heard of John Cage? I think it's very interesting that he studied Buddhism and then tried to put those ideas into musical context. But the problem I have with a lot of modern composition, and Cage in particular, is that I get this impression:

Here is a highly randomized set of sounds. Since all sounds are empty and arbitrary, I can appreciate the okay-ness of this cacophony. In fact, if you adhere to the tonal model, you're really limited and unenlightened, still trying to seek a gross satisfaction from pleasurable and agreeable harmony. In order to be a great composer, you have to embrace chaos and the breakdown of tonality. If you don't appreciate the chaos of my notes, you are being non-equanimious to the sounds.

I don't really know if Cage actually came to any meaningful attainments while studying Buddhism, or if he just intellectually took in the concepts and then tried to make music in light of those concepts. I haven't read enough about his personal life. I'm always skeptical though, when an American starts saying Zen-ish, paradoxical proverbs, instead of giving a more bare, non encoded description of what realizations they've come to.

My problem with it is... sunsets are beautiful, rainbows are beautiful, the ebb and flow of the ocean is beautiful, the play of night and day is beautiful, and all these things are very systematic, harmonic, and structured, easy to appreciate because the structure is so obvious. Now I know that there is still emphasis on structure and musical architecture, but it seems like people are starting to say... Red orange yellow green blue indigo violet (aka, tonality) is too generic, it's predictable and since we've already been there, we have to create systems of randomness to generate other arrangements (breakdown of tonality, atonality). But, isn't it non-equanimious to say, we have to get rid of the old rainbow, that isn't okay. I find that if I play tonal works I composed for some of the more modern-minded professors, they're just like... oh, that's shit, you're using major and minor chords! And then I think, classical music has been doing it's "thing" for a long time now, and it's not like we're just now figuring out some "correct" way to organize notes. As corny as it sounds, music, to me, is about some sort of humanistic desire to express feelings and states. What isn't humanistic is suddenly saying that within the tradition, old methods are inferior. Bach is basically the music god in the classrooms, but he lived in the 1700's. If he came back from the dead, he could do his thing and still be revered. So why can't we use the same methods he used, if we're trying to reach out and move people's emotions and thoughts, bring them to different states, etc... If you want to bring someone to some certain state or convey something, you just use whatever means you have to do so. But to shut off traditions and say, no, that is no longer what we do, is ridiculous. People don't evolve alongside modern classical music... they still like the classics, they're still moved by their methods. Thus, I like Scriabin, since he was so forward looking in what could be done when tonality breaks down, but he was still utterly consumed by trying to convey intense feelings, concepts, states, through classical forms. But then some people come and say, hey, we should just do new things, that's what this is about, is just coming up with new methods! Which was fine with me until it came to the point where I started meeting a scary number of people who were convinced art and modern classical is just about finding as many new methods as possible. My problem with a lot of modern classical is that there seems to be a minimum of intellectual and historical knowledge required to appreciate the music and know the form it's in. But with the classics I love, I feel like no intellectual comprehension is necessary to connect with it and get absorbed. I like the notion of art moving forward by freely breaking traditional methods, but I don't like the notion that the current eras of art are defined by just doing new stuff, for the sake of new-ness. Humans still have emotional response and I personally don't care much for the idea of abandoning the attempt to draw on those emotions, especially for novelty of new methods, often of pure randomness/chaos.

Lots of thoughts on music, and modern music, and on how music relates to Dharma stuff. If anyone understands what the hell is going on in modern classical, I'd love to have that discussion. This discussion also hits on the question: what is the purpose of art, and what is good art? My suspicion is that it comes down to some deep thing about compassion and how we share things with other people.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/20/13 8:02 AM as a reply to Mind over easy.
Heh, fun to read your take on things.

Actually, I know very little of modern classical music. I very rarely hear music that is fully composed, without at least a mild component of improvisation. I believe that the emphasis on composition and interpretation is a rather modern thing, actually, that all the great composers were actually great improvisers.

The music I hear is not about "finding new methods" per se, it really is about the sound. How to say it...

If one hears very tonal music, let's take Bach for instance, one often focuses on the notes, and how they interact with one another. The "resolution" of the sound is then smaller. Perceptually, it is as if one is paying attention to the sound after it has already been recognized by the mind, discretized into individual bits and pieces ("note note chord chord bang high-note vibrato"). These bits and pieces form a sort of a "musical narrative," and when music is listened in this way, the hearer generates a sort of an internal feeling narrative that goes along with it.

But under that layer of bits and pieces is actually a much more direct way of listening.

This is nothing alien to classical music. For instance, if you listen to a classical guitar piece, and you can take in the full detail, meaning you are not paying privileged attention to the notes and their narrative, but are also taking in such sounds as the resonance of the guitar, the fingers moving along the strings, the overtones that happen, the "mistakes," etc, then you are taking in the full texture of the sound.

At that level of hearing, a lot more is possible. Tonality and harmony becomes less important; instead you have "texture". Normal, everyday sounds are musical in themselves.[1]

And then music is less about "the notes," and much more about "sound." Sound just can't be put into sheet music, it is much too detailed for that. That is why improvisation is completely essential for this way of making music.

A movie which perfectly (and implicitly) conveys this mode of listening, is Step across the border.





[1] Listening in this way requires practice, and actually has a sort of meditative quality. To the untrained ear, improv music often sounds like random noise, when actually it is under this label that one will find the most refined forms of sound-making (in my opinion).

Another curious thing about getting into this stuff is that the myth of the listener as a passive receptor of a musical piece is completely shattered. The conscious listener knows that he is an active participant in the happening of music, and tries to listen as best as he can.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/21/13 3:24 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I'll definitely check out that movie sometime soon. It sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing all that. I can't say much now since I honestly don't know if I've ever employed that mode of listening, besides the parallel to vipassana/mindfulness practice, and even then, I've only ever gone to the extent of noting sounds, or just being aware of the sensations of sounds, the sensation of the narrative you were talking about, etc... So I'm trying to understand this mode of listening. Does the narrative necessarily drop away in this mode of listening? If I'm getting you right, would major chords no longer sound "happy", and minor chords no longer sound "sad"? Is this akin to hearing words as sounds and not associating any meaning with them? Do you think this mode of listening corresponds to any particular meditative attainments? It sounds a bit like the whole "in the hearing, only the heard" thing. Sorry for all the questions, just curious here, fascinated.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/21/13 11:32 AM as a reply to Mind over easy.
The narrative does not drop away, and a lot of the music I hear mixes both modes, having both a narrative emotional aspect and a "sound texture exploration" aspect.

As for whether major chords still feel happy or not, well that generally depends on when they are presented. If you have been listening to two minutes of dense improv, focusing on the textural aspect of sound, and a major chord happens to come up, it may be integrated in the "textural" mode of listening, and won't sound particularly happy or sad.

I am not saying that I have lost all interest in narrative style music, I definitely have not. But the music I like the most emphasizes the textural aspect above others.

Also, I am describing this in very abstract terms, with the processual processes that happen and so on... again it is not that this is something "new" that is absent from "old-style music," it is a matter of emphasis. Maybe if you listen to the following track with enough concentration, an open mind, and good enough sound system you will get the point. Maybe it will take a number of times.

Fred Frith & John Zorn - Playing at New York

This is a textural improvisation by two masters. Wow! Just re-listened to it, amazing! There is a so much communication between them, such sense of humour carrying out through the whole track! I find it so expressive, artistic to the highest degree! The sound is so rich and dense and free!

Don't worry if it doesn't sound enjoyable though, I had help from LSD when I started getting into this stuff, which pretty much vouched for the concentration and open mind aspects.

Edit: Here is a composed piece which points to the exact same direction, but only goes a little bit into it (well, like I said, actually how much it goes into that direction depends on how the listener hears it). It still shares many commonalities with, say, classical music, but it has that textural element present throughout by the use of the drum stick and violin bow. Really beautiful.

Eos Guitar Quartet - Fáir by Fred Frith

Edit: Something a bit longer, which again examplifies what I mean, and is perhaps less imposing than the first video:

Fred Frith & Evelyn Glennie @ Moers Festival 19-May-2013 [Full show]

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/21/13 1:58 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:

Fred Frith & John Zorn - Playing at New York

This is a textural improvisation by two masters. Wow! Just re-listened to it, amazing! There is a so much communication between them, such sense of humour carrying out through the whole track! I find it so expressive, artistic to the highest degree! The sound is so rich and dense and free!


Well... damn! That actually is very cool to listen to. I don't think I've ever heard music like that before. I do agree with the high level of artistry. I think actually seeing it go down made a difference too. Besides playing classical piano, sometimes I jam with my friends. Sometimes you get the feeling that any patterns, notes, ideas can be really artistic as long as there's a good conscious creative flow, absorption of a sort. It sometimes feels like as long as you believe in your musical actions fully enough, there will be coherence and will be artistically convincing. I definitely get that feeling from that track. Not to mention the very creative array of techniques!

Actually, speaking of LSD... I was with a music major friend who was back in town for a short while, so we took LSD and decided to jam. At first we started in some standard stuff, blues and whatnot, but we both started doing goofy stuff, playing with tritones, chromatic stuff that didn't make much sense, playing completely out of meter, and other stuff. I remember having a really intense laugh about that! I was thinking, okay, maybe this is why some modern musicians are doing such weird stuff, because it's just that fun to them. But then I thought about the typical people who I am around and their musical tastes... Lots of people have a hard enough time removing the many possible stigmas of classical music (especially opera... hah!), and I don't really know many people at all who can appreciate it and enjoy listening. So I thought to myself, the reason I am not pursuing this kind of music is that I'm almost confident that >95% of the people I know in life would really not be able to get into it. Who knows, maybe that isn't accurate. I'll have to give making sounds like that a shot some time. I do enjoy the effect of shocking and disgusting some priggish, "doctrinal" purist professors with the obvious sinfulness and impurity (lol) of jazz. Maybe it's helpful for people to have their expectations of music constantly challenged.

Thanks for showing me some really interesting music!

Edit: Another thought. In the classical realm, it seems to me that the best composers that pioneered new traditions and styles were very kind and intelligent in introducing their new ideas. In general, I get the impression that figures including Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Debussy, and Rachmaninoff were very careful to balance boldness, unconventional techniques, and creative force, carefully with appeal, anticipated audience reaction, and a playful kind of patience with weaving in their new ideas into the fabric that existed before their time. Some people will say "to hell with the people who don't like it, it's here and you can take it or leave it", and I think that strategy is effective and valid (MCTB, anyone?), but in regards to this interesting type of sound-making, how well can you calculate the effect on the listener? There is the previous "take it or leave it" approach, but I also find myself drawn to an approach based on calculating, or approximating, the feelings a listener may have. This is largely the narrative approach, I suppose. But to use a Dharma metaphor, could the narrative be a finger pointing to the moon? There are way to make music sound happy or sad or surprising or fearful or many things... but is there a way to make, say... the 3 characteristics particularly hinted at by musical narrative? This is ignoring the obvious fact that the 3C's are already there to see, and considering that to some extent, time, motion, and sensations can be represented in music. You can make a scale go up, you have rising... then it goes down... you have falling. If you build the composition around representation of sensations and their patterns through vipassana, maybe the listener could get a sense of the insight the composition represents, just like a book could describe the sensations, and just like a composition could describe a wide array of human thoughts, emotions, and realizations. Or jhanas... Someone can describe to you the factors of jhana, and your mind actually might be able to imagine with some degree of accuracy what they feel like. So... what if these factors were musically encoded, with enough artistry and appeal that people naturally get drawn in or absorbed?

Now this is where I'm actually heavily interested to experiment. I feel like tonal harmony is a good way to represent causality. I would be interested to try to create representations of the jhanas and nanas through a classical medium. It's like how Bach could take a meaningless (or meaningful) string of notes and then create a beautiful fugue with wonderful harmony, but still, when you examined closely, all the music and harmonies constructed were simply varied repetitions of the original string of notes. Even if you don't realize anything about the fugue being constructed from that string, you still hear a beautiful piece and have an inner sense of logic, reason, creativity, artistry... etc. Like a million sensations appearing to be a beautiful picture, but then when you look closer, they're just meaningless sensations fashioned together in some conscious way.

Now I'm letting my thoughts run wild, since bringing together Dharma stuff and composition/musical stuff sounds like a great avenue to explore. It's all on the chalkboard though... I'm all ideas but still fairly clueless about how all this might look in practice! emoticon

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/21/13 3:26 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:


Don't worry if it doesn't sound enjoyable though, I had help from LSD when I started getting into this stuff, which pretty much vouched for the concentration and open mind aspects.


Speaking of LSD, it was what inspired me to explore the possibilities beyond the ordinary state of mind and showed me how beautiful sound can be. I wonder if it's possible to enjoy music in a comparable way without taking the drug ?

It's why I started this thread. I tried google, but couldn't come across much. People with higher attainments seem to enjoy silence more than Music, or maybe they just have so many more important things to talk about.

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/21/13 11:55 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
People with higher attainments seem to enjoy silence more than Music


This is a common misconception. Most likely, you will like many of the things you liked previously.

Just as there is not a super singular bliss-ed out feeling that you get from enlightenment there is also no fear of losing sense pleasures. To me they seem mutually exclusive and a trade off.

Keep in mind that the only reason that Buddha set up such great restrictions for monks is to jam pack as much distance along the path as possible before they die, it is very important for someone who is not as developed and it's great, it will help the monk to travel very quickly...

But if you're done.... or if you've hit SE or A&P you may not feel the need to rush anymore... so there is no reason not to enjoy the things you like emoticon I love sweets and dirty southern rap end.of.story

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/22/13 5:57 AM as a reply to Bailey ..
Blue .:
Keep in mind that the only reason that Buddha set up such great restrictions for monks is to jam pack as much distance along the path as possible before they die, it is very important for someone who is not as developed and it's great, it will help the monk to travel very quickly...

But if you're done.... or if you've hit SE or A&P you may not feel the need to rush anymore... so there is no reason not to enjoy the things you like emoticon I love sweets and dirty southern rap end.of.story


Let's speak about the Monks who attain the 4th fruition in the modern world. Rationally, they have no further need to continue their monastic vows but why do they continue to do so ? They have already reached the destination and there's no need to fast travel any more. They can get back into society and re-integrate into the families they came from. They can enjoy the pleasures of the modern world such as films, music, food, travel, adventure or whatever they prefer. Yet they continue to live in their tiny huts and eat the simple monastic food, and live according to the monks precepts. My understanding is that they have attained utmost peace/satisfaction in the sangha and no longer crave the pleasures I speak of.

After A&P all I wanted to do was rush along the path. I figured out it's not gonna be as easy as I thought and might even take more than a lifetime, so I focused more on Shila and developing Paramis rather than spending many hours in meditation. Ever since I first reached EQ, I've stopped bothering as much as I used to. I'm like a boat in the ocean with no direction, just floating through whatever comes.

My assumption was that an attained person may have greater control over their perception, or the different senses. They maybe able to manipulate the sense of hearing in a desirable manner, such as how some recreational drugs do and enhance the experience of music. We already have the receptors in our brain, the drugs just act like keys that activate them.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-S2wAjLwNUs

RE: Appreciation for Music
Answer
6/22/13 3:50 PM as a reply to Mind over easy.
Mind over easy:
Bruno Loff:

Fred Frith & John Zorn - Playing at New York

This is a textural improvisation by two masters. Wow! Just re-listened to it, amazing! There is a so much communication between them, such sense of humour carrying out through the whole track! I find it so expressive, artistic to the highest degree! The sound is so rich and dense and free!


Well... damn! That actually is very cool to listen to. I don't think I've ever heard music like that before. I do agree with the high level of artistry. I think actually seeing it go down made a difference too. Besides playing classical piano, sometimes I jam with my friends. Sometimes you get the feeling that any patterns, notes, ideas can be really artistic as long as there's a good conscious creative flow, absorption of a sort. It sometimes feels like as long as you believe in your musical actions fully enough, there will be coherence and will be artistically convincing. I definitely get that feeling from that track. Not to mention the very creative array of techniques!

Actually, speaking of LSD... I was with a music major friend who was back in town for a short while, so we took LSD and decided to jam. At first we started in some standard stuff, blues and whatnot, but we both started doing goofy stuff, playing with tritones, chromatic stuff that didn't make much sense, playing completely out of meter, and other stuff. I remember having a really intense laugh about that! I was thinking, okay, maybe this is why some modern musicians are doing such weird stuff, because it's just that fun to them. But then I thought about the typical people who I am around and their musical tastes... Lots of people have a hard enough time removing the many possible stigmas of classical music (especially opera... hah!), and I don't really know many people at all who can appreciate it and enjoy listening. So I thought to myself, the reason I am not pursuing this kind of music is that I'm almost confident that >95% of the people I know in life would really not be able to get into it. Who knows, maybe that isn't accurate. I'll have to give making sounds like that a shot some time. I do enjoy the effect of shocking and disgusting some priggish, "doctrinal" purist professors with the obvious sinfulness and impurity (lol) of jazz. Maybe it's helpful for people to have their expectations of music constantly challenged.

Thanks for showing me some really interesting music!


Wow, it's the absolutely first time I get such a positive first-time reaction to this kind of music emoticon Good to know it's possible! Thanks!

I do know exactly the feeling you describe. The way they are playing (especially Frith) could be described by "action-reaction": one player does something, the other immediatelly responds in whichever way his intuitive, split-second sensitivity tells him to. There is an element of randomness, because the outcome is unpredictable even to them, but this is modulated by their vast experience in playing together and in other projects. The result is that Zorn and Frith improvising together is recognizable in a few seconds by anyone who knows them. How it can feel so fresh, and have such a distinctive flavour and repeatable, reliable quality... is a mystery.

I know several of musicians who live off music that is listenable by most people, and do avant-garde when they have enough money. And I do love the stuff they come up in the former context.


Edit: Another thought.
(...)


Actually many musicians have styles which I would readily associate with specific nanas. But not because the authors were focusing on them specifically... If you do give it a try, do post the files!