Theory Composition

March 17, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Art, Play

Attracted to making music during portions of my life, I’ve never given in to the desire to learn an instrument.  Instead, I’ve made music by learning a single key on an instrument and then played that instrument for a particular feeling, usually revolving around one song or two.  A flute makes a sad song, a harmonica offers encouragement, piano suggestions of wisdom, the recorder joy, kalimba sociality, drumming earnestness and sexuality, and the bouzouki loss.  Never having learned an instrument except for these brief visits, my fingers and lips are familiar with these evocations of feelings as if I lived in several foreign countries for short times, never having learned the language.

I approach theorizing in a similar manner.  I feel attracted to particular disciplines and the theories in those disciplines based upon the feelings that those theories awaken in me.  In the same way that I don’t learn an instrument, I don’t become any discipline’s adept, but I become somewhat proficient in those portions of the discipline that evoke powerful feelings, feelings of reverence.

I am guided by wonder.  My journeys across the fret boards/keys of instruments and the relationships evoked by theories in different disciplines are explorations characterized by my feeling pulled toward an experience that features a coming together, a synthesis.  I presuppose, I assume a single, sense-filled, understandable whole that can be evoked by melodies, harmonies, stories or theories.  I sometimes end up in the middle of a pattern convergence with an experience of flawless unity.  Then I seek pathways, stories or theories that can make it possible for someone else to connect to that experience of unity.  Clearly, science and art are closely allied in my experience.

There was a time that I only played the black keys on the piano.  I listened for what message could be best said within that particular boundary.  Jumping from discipline to discipline, I seek patterns that suggest no boundaries, listening for a discipline’s black keys and their connection to the larger patterns that bring a number of instruments together.

Unable to play an instrument, I listen for the non-obvious, obvious symphonic whole.


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