Listening to a string quartet by Elliott Carter got me thinking about all the rhythmic layering that is going on there, and how hearing it is essential to enjoying not only his wonderful music, but also what is going on everywhere all the time. Our attention most easily follows the surface rhythms, the whitecaps of tiny events, constantly changing and exchanging phrases and melodies. At the same time deeper and slower shapes are never far from our listening consciousness: compositional forms, undercurrents, crosscurrents, undertows, tidal swells and surges that lift and shape the surface melodies above them. And even further beneath those, the unheard but undeniably felt presence of the ocean itself provides an almost unmoving basso continuo that is the ground and essence of all the other layers. I could go on in this vein for quite a bit, but I’ll stop here.

This is my first blog, and in fact I have never even thought about having a blog, or even a print journal for that matter, until just recently. It seems to me that what goes on a blog is often about those surface patterns- what happened, what I think about it, what it felt like, what it looked like, what importance it has and so forth. I think this could be said of the Internet as a whole, which is perhaps why so much of it is so ephemeral and trivial, even when it is dealing with extremely important subjects. And maybe this calls for a deeper reading of blogs and the like, one that is constantly on the lookout for the deeper forms and patterns of thought and experience that are going on- the passing clues, cracks, ironies, allusions and mistakes that might tell us more about what is happening just beyond what we think we know.

Having said that, I now feel free to put any old thing at all that occurs to me into this blog, without apology for its lack of profundity or importance, and leave it to you the reader to find more there, if you feel like it, and, I hope, enjoy it.


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