Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Pillars for the Clouds

I've been mildly obsessing over a certain song recently, playing it as roughly every third song - if past experience is any indicator, I will eventually get sick of it and it'll just go into the music collection. Like a reasonable subset of songs I've felt this way about, it does weird things to me emotionally to hear it. Interesting to compare this to books or films - it's rare that I will see a film twice within a certain span - I know how it goes. Why is music different? I have a pretty good musical memory and can usually "play" a song in my head (sans lyrics) once I've heard it enough. Shouldn't I get sick of that too? And yet there's a set of songs that I generally won't mind hearing fairly often but there are no books or films like that. Is music just different? Do we do some kind of invisible improvisation alongside music that helps keep it fresh? Or could it be that while these things are conceptually similar, books and films live on the level of stories while music has always been actually distinct? To the extent that the EEA can be equated to "meant to", perhaps we're meant to always be singing, while stories are more heavyweight for us because we have to hold them and our own story separate?

What is a successful song? I suspect that has many potential answers - one artistic metric: song makes itself part of your emotional life, becomes part of a set you would sing (or have played) to describe an aspect of oneself. If so, the more intimate connections between the musician and their songs makes them (as an amplified folk) more expressive than those who only receive things with which to approximate themselves... although perhaps because we're always changing so long as we live, that tie loosens enough that the artist can say "this is part of who I was".

I have known some artists, when I was more intimately tied to an art community, who made art mainly to express who they were to themselves and their immediate social circles - some of them never exhibited and never wanted their works photographed (or shown in ways outside their control). I think I am coming to understand that - I certainly did not at the time.

I think the way we express ourselves to each other (and to ourselves) is both more important and varied than a younger me ever gave it credit. I treasure the things I have been allowed to see that I cannot pass on (in this case, the best example is in fact a set of photographs I took of a large set of fantastic art and carvings) - these things are a type of intimacy distinct from conversational intimacy (which I still value).

Time and attention are two great scarce social things - if I want a third, I am tempted to say that intimacy fits - it is only virtually scarce, but it probably should be seen in light of human nature - it's not how much we share that makes it valuable, it's how much we share of what's not widely shared. (secrets are a trade, but only interesting for this topic when one is sharing one's own).

Today's errandsuch for shirts: failed - will probably make an early trip to the waterfront tomorrow instead.

Thinking I might try to catch Jazz night at gullifty's (if they're still doing that) sometime in the next few weeks.

Currently relaxing at 61c, will probably head home in a bit because of a desire to dance and/or sing to some of the songs that have become meaningful to me.

Tags: music

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