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Sânziana Dobrovicescu HIGH TIDE AND LOW TIDE

Such as any other existing thing, that is subjected to a reference system, which has an evolutionary historical course, music

Sânziana Dobrovicescu


«Music is audible time» (Emil Cioran)

Such as any other existing thing, that is subjected to a reference system, which has an evolutionary historical course, music has its own structure, which, following the rules of normality, develops in parallel and dependently on several plans directly connected to one another. These plans complete each other, enabling the temporal existence of sounds, structured horizontally and vertically in cells that present a complex structure that is independent from all the other needs a sound has in order to exist.

Within the following pages, I exercise a personal analyze of the different types of perceiving time in music, as both an performer and a composer, therefore evolving from the idea to the sound impact a piece could have when audited live, in a concert hall. I said performer first because, as it happens in the majority of cases, we firstly meet with music from this perspective, mainly relating to emotion, without being aware of our need for balance during a piece and/or an interpretation. This is also why composers usually study the piano, so that they can meet with the instrument, the reality, the sound exceeding the boundaries of the idea. For the music, a rupture between the imaginary sound and the possible one is very dangerous. But somehow, as it is actually normal, without the executing instrument the possible sound would not exist. But from the moment the idea comes through and becomes palpable, sound takes on a form which follows a normality that can’t be altered, lied or hidden. In order to exist, music goes through an ample process of materialization and dematerialization which involves a tight connection between the composer, the performer and the spectator.

We could say that music is born with each and every interpretation. It is born from nothing, from imagination, from a state of mid. The composer can have many ideas, however, even when seeking to organise them, they will be naturally structured on several plans. Here we could take on as starting point the lectures held by Bernstein at Hardvard in 1973, named  “The Unanswered Question”. Within this context, Bernstein starts from theories issued by sciences such as linguistics, philosophy and/or physics, in order to explain the grammar or music, working through from the primary to the complex. In this manner we can observe how, for example, even the order of tones is influenced by the order of the sound’s superior harmonics, therefore attesting the fact that sound is subjected to the laws of normality. The tonality, which is the most popular and the strongest method of structuring consecutive sounds, has resisted so many decades as the foundation of the melodic construction and even of the form (in all the baroque, classical and even romantic forms there is a tight connection between the tonality in which it was modulated and form), being based on a principle we could find very similar to the law of gravitational attraction.

As we just spoke about the structure of sounds, I think it is essential that we talk about one of the most popular computational techniques which remains up to today an example of construction, of the natural. It comes from the Middle Ages, where the monodic structure, which until that moment would evolve horizontally, had transformed in one with a polyphonic, architectural character, which, by overlapping, has generated harmonic structures (in Baroque, thanks to J. S. Bach, we can already speak about tonal harmony), which also helped in the evolution of musical discourse in parallel, vertically and horizontally, therefore enabling the entire three-dimensional character. The polyphony or the counterpoint, as it is also called, actually implies overlapping two melodic voices. Each voice executes a melody which can also have an imitative character, and have its own melodic importance, but which when overlapping with the other voices needs to comply to certain rules of harmonic (tonal) nature, therefore building pillars that are given a new signification when viewed vertically. This construction form helped in the stratification, the complementary evolution of perception in music. For me, this manner of exposing an idea is a replica of the human psychic, an obsession of the thought that refuses to disappear, and through repetition, by overlapping the immediate, the past and the memory, it branches, it extends, therefore becoming a complex construction of fears and/or hopes related to a certain idea or moment.

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