Ron Pellegrino's Recommended Thought Food for Composers of
Sonic Music and Visual Music
A book by Hazrat Inayat Khan, THE MYSTICISM OF SOUND AND MUSIC published by Shambhala.
This is a book full of ancient wisdom; it´s a Sufi vision (of music, sound, color and sound, dance and music, language, and the power of words) that speaks directly to the heart and soul of music. This is a book that should be the foundation for the theoretical study of music and the dynamic arts. It emphasizes the integrated nature of music and the fundamental life-force; it does so by considering how basic musical principles play out in all life´s manifestations from the microcosm to the macrocosm but particularly those that relate to individual human evolutionary paths. It sheds light on the crucial differences between the mechanical and the natural approaches to music, the arts, and living. The accessibility of the book´s presentation makes it a source appropriate for beginners yet its depth of thought and feeling makes it valuable for a lifetime of study and reflection. If you or anyone you know in music or the dynamic arts is looking for or needing inspiration, this book is a wellspring.
Hazrat Inayat Khan is one of the world´s great teachers; his thinking is collected in over a dozen books. In this book some of the subjects he considers are:
III. The Music of the Spheres
IV. The Mysticism of Sound
VI. The Mystery of Colour and Sound
VII. The Spiritual Significance of Colour and Sound
XIII. The Connection between Dance and Music
XVI. The Manifestation of Sound on the Physical Sphere
XVII. The Effect of Sound on the Physical Body
XIX. The Influence of Music upon the Character of Man
XX. The Psychological Influence of Music
XXI. The Healing Power of Music
THE MYSTICISM OF SOUND
I. The Silent Life
VII. Abstract Sound
III. The Magnetism of Beings and Objects
IV. The Influence of Works of Art
V. The Life of Thought
VI. The Form of Thought
XI. Mind and Heart
XII. Intuition and Dream
THE POWER OF THE WORD
I. The Power of the Word
IV. Cosmic Language
Samples of Hazrat Inayat Khan´s teachings:
p. 163 - "The highest and most ideal form of composition is that which expresses life, character, emotions, and feelings, for this is the inner world which is only seen by the eye of the mind...Music loses its freedom by being subject to the laws of technique, but mystics in their sacred music, regardless of the worldÕs praise, free both their composition and improvisations from the limitations of technicality."
p. 85 - "But that magic charm of the voice is in the natural voice. Every person is gifted. God has given him a certain pitch, a natural note, and if that pitch develops and he develops that natural note, it is magic, he can perform a miracle...Apart from singing, even in speaking, among one hundred persons you will find one who speaks in his natural voice, ninety-nine who imitate. They imitate someone else; they do not know it."
p. 3 - "But among all the different arts, the art of music has been especially considered divine, because it is the exact miniature of the law working through the whole universe."
p. 5 - "Besides the natural charm that music has, it has a magical power, a power that can be experienced even now. It seems that the human race has lost a great deal of the ancient science of magic, but if there remains any magic it is music."
p. 9 - "According to the esoteric standpoint, music is the beginning and the end of the universe. All actions and movements made in the visible and invisible world are musical. That is: they are made up of vibrations pertaining to a certain plane of existence."
p. 17 - "Those who have probed the depth of material science as far as modern science can reach, do not deny the fact that the origin of the whole creation is in movement, in other words; in vibration. It is this original state of existence of life which is called in the ancient tradition sound or the word. The first manifestation of this sound is therefore audible, the next manifestation visible. In the forms of expression of life, life has expressed itself first as sound, next as light."
p. 20 - "The man of science says that the voice comes from the spine, the diaphragm, the abdomen, and the lungs, The mystic says that sound comes from the soul, the heart, and the mind."
p. 22 - "Thousands who have never thought of anything but the self have gone, and we do not even know that they have existed. The dead souls, the ordinary people, go to hear that dead song. The living soul hears the music that is alive."
p. 28 - "The attraction that one finds in colour and in sound makes one wonder if there is a mystery hidden behind them, if there is a language of colour and sound which could be learned. The answer is that the language of colour and sound is the language of the soul, and that it is our outward language which makes us confused as to the meaning of that inner language."
p. 40 - "Philosophy or science, mysticism or esotericism will all agree on one point if they touch the summit of their knowledge, and that point is that behind the whole of creation, behind the whole of manifestation - if there is any subtle trace of life that can be found, it is motion, it is movement, it is vibration. This motion has its two aspects. There are two aspects because we have developed two principal faculties: sight and hearing. One aspect appeals to our hearing, the other to our sight."
p. 43 - "...by speaking near such a plate marks are made upon the plate with sound and vibrations. Those marks make either harmonious or inharmonious forms. If that is true, then every person, from morning till evening, is making invisible forms in space by what he says. He is creating invisible vibrations around him, and so he is producing an atmosphere."
p. 47 - "Music, according to the ancient people, was not a mechanical science or art: music was the first language."
p. 49 - "In order to keep their music [ancient music] akin to nature, it was necessary to give liberty to the singer and player to sing and play as he wished. Naturally, uniformity was lacking, and a standardized system could not be made. That is why this music always remained an individualistic art only - not an education. For this reason the music of the ancient people had its advantages and a great many disadvantages. The advantages were this: a musician - a singer or player - was never bound to sing in a particular way in order to execute properly the music he wanted to play before the public, but was always free to give the music according to his inspiration at the time. It gave him full liberty to express his emotions, his passions, without any outward restrictions which he should obey."
p. 54 - "There are two aspects of life: the first is that man is tuned by his surroundings, and the second is that man can tune himself in spite of his surroundings."
p. 62 - "Man is not only a physical body. Man has a mind, and behind the mind there is the soul. It is not only the body that hungers for food, the mind hungers for food, and the soul hungers for food. What generally happens is that man only ministers to his bodily needs and gives no attention to his inner existence and its demands. He experiences momentary satisfaction, then hungers again, not knowing that the soul is the fineness of manÕs being. And so that unconscious craving of the soul remains."
p. 67 - "We waste much energy in useless speech. Among the old races we see that a motion of the hands, an inclination of the head, takes the place of words for many things."
p. 75 - "As the form of every sound is different, so every syllable has a certain effect, and therefore every sound made, or word spoken before an object, has charged that object with a certain magnetism. This explains to us the method of the healers, teachers, and mystics who, by the power of sound, charged an object with their healing power, with their power of thought. And when that object was given as water or as food, that object brought about a desired result."
p. 76 - "The physical effect of sound has also a great influence upon the human body. The whole mechanism, the muscles, the blood circulation, the nerves, are all moved by the power of vibration. As there is a resonance for every sound, so the human body is a living resonator for sound. Although by one sound one can produce a resonance in all substances, such as brass and copper, the there is no greater and more living resonator of sound than the human body. The effect of sound is upon each atom of the body, for each atom resounds; on all glands, on the circulation of the blood and on the pulsation sound has its effect."
p. 88 - "The voice is not only indicative of man´s character, but it is the expression of his spirit. The voice is not only audible, but also visible to those who can see it. The voice makes impressions on the ethereal sphere, impressions which can be called audible; at the same time they are visible. Those scientists who have made experiments with sound and who have taken impressions of the sound on certain plates - which impressions appear like forms - will find one day that the impression of the voice is more living, more deep, and has a greater effect. Sound can be louder than the voice, but sound cannot be more living than the voice."
p. 98 - "If we study life today - in spite of the great progress of science, radio, telephone, phonograph, and all the wonders of this age - we find that the psychological aspect of music, poetry, and art does not seem to develop as it should. On the contrary, it is going backward. And if we ask what is the reason the answer will be that the whole progress of humanity today is in the first place a mechanical progress. This hinders in a way the progress of individualism...But in art especially, where the greatest freedom is necessary, one is restricted by uniformity, painters and musicians cannot get their work recognized. They must follow the crowd instead of following the great souls. All that is general is ordinary, because the great mass of people is not highly cultured. Things of beauty and good taste are understood, enjoyed, and appreciated by few, and there is no way for the artist to reach those few. In this way, what is called uniformity has become a hindrance to individual development."
For more gems, study the book. There are far too many to post in this recommendation.
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