Warming up to harmony: sound experiments

Play is a medium through which we can enter the flow and (by responding to our impulses) explore and experiment with the wealth of creative energy waiting to be expressed.  Though removed from the time in my life when those singing muscles (body, heart and intuition) were used every day in response to creative impulse, I’ve recently begun exploring the world of rhythm and melody again. The song fragments below are like sticky notes. They’re brief musical jottings of a passing idea, mood or feeling caught in the flicker of a moment.

Lively Drone

Lively Drone 

Drone Chorus

Drone Chorus

Whether I’m generating these sound patterns on my own or with others I’m reminded that chaos and confusion are words that describe the transition between the process of discovery and that of resolution in harmony.  We must keep listening and experimenting (within these states) both individually and as a culture.  Harmony is more than a pleasing or interesting organization of sound; it is a primal resonance that creative consciousness is always trying to coax us into being with.  Infinite in its variety, harmony is a natural element within life’s flowing energy.  Once we know in our own bodies how to listen for and engage in the interplay of patterns (as they emerge and evolve), we can transfer this ability  into observation, reflection and action in daily life, becoming anchors of harmony in our world.

Of course harmony is not always euphonious.  It can be dissonant, piercing and unsettling. It may be struck from a pattern of counter-rhythms that seem impossible in their blend. That’s why it’s so intriguing to invite harmony (through improvisation) to manifest through us.  What will this unique combining of people create?  Where will we journey? What discoveries will we make along the way?  What ideas will be provoked within this catalytic collaboration?

Oddly though, since my ego is always listening, as I journey through the process of reclaiming my voice I notice that when timbre, pitch, rhythm or sustaining breath is weak, dissonant or uncertain, I become a harsh and ruthless critic. Scolding mentally, I tell myself to do better and push through the quavering timbre or punch that illusive pitch until I hit it.  Yet for me these vocal “imperfections” are often signals (and a pathway into) unexpressed feelings that need to be acknowledged, sounded and released. They are cues from my body’s deepest wisdom that I need a sound adjustment. Following my inner guide (or Muse) through sounding work always offers a gift. Often I experience reunion with a part of myself that I’ve denied, forgotten or set aside with the thought, “Not now. I’ll pay attention to you later.” If I’m willing, this reclamation work is ongoing since (through doing it) I’ve discovered that what I’m uncovering is not always limited to this body, life, time and place. We are travelers.

2 thoughts on “Warming up to harmony: sound experiments

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