Quality of Music

While searching to improve instruments, sound, music, life... I made a few fundamental observations like:

I tried many times to extract the essence of a great improvisation to turn it into a composition, but the energy that made it great never came as strong as the original. The more simple the music is, the more empty it becomes if its reduced to its score and sound.

I have been recording a lot, as musician and sound engineer. There is something to music which is not recordable, its not contained in the sound waves. One can feel silent music: a powerful musician can stop hitting his instrument and go on feeling (channeling) it, and the public can still follow, so not even sound is essential to music!
Also, some extremely inspired moments are impossible to record. Always at the most magical moment, the tape or battery ends or something stops working and comes to work again later. I think its related to the problem to grab a picture of an UFO or point at it for someone else.

Many times I tried to work with drum machines, keyboards, samples, but each time I got bored soon. I observe that a big part of the listeners feel similar: real acoustic instruments have their own warm expression. Why, if we can sample them perfectly?
Search for the best sax sample and play a melody to a sensible non musician and ask what instrument it is. Most likely the answer is: "a synthesizer!" or maybe "its sounds exactly like a saxophone"... Its not easy to fool the ear, and thats great.

Any melody can sound beautifull, once the player can transform it into a trail we can follow - through his phrasing!
Computers can speak, but they cannot create phrases like a speaking person.
The magic tea Ayahuasca showed me clearly that melodies are trails. They mostly exist. Even when you step on new ground, the melody can be a new trail or a lie!

I have been thinking about the quality of music for decades and will never come to a final result, but here some points:

for years I explained that music talks through 4 channels:
1 Mental Language - the musician develops a composition and the listener analyses and learns about structure and harmony
2 Personality - lived stories, impressions and visions the musician talks about
3 Community - experience the energy between musicians and public at the moment of the ritual
4 Mystery - ideas and impressions that come to the listener, although not intended by the musician

What is quality? "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_and_the_Art_of_Motorcycle_Maintenance
is a great book about it and leads to the conclusion that there is something absolute to Quality which is beyond reasoning, and it seems to me that its the kind of energy we want to find with music, because we don't know the reason of music anyway!

Some of the main qualities you may find in Music:
- rhythm that fits the body and makes move (usually calls a general life energy)
- harmonic complexity of composition (mind oriented, can be very emotional)
- vivid interpretation, nice phrasing, surprise, reminders... (usually calls emotions)
- nice, balanced sounds that fit to the intention of the music (usually calls a spiritual quality)
plus some quality that have to do with the moment and situation:
- to see a musician play or just to be in the same room brings an energy which cannot be recorded
- the interaction of the public and energy of the moment helps the musician - if he is capable to adapt his repertoire

I claim:
1 The subtle playing can never be captured by a finite number of parameters like volume, pitch, color,,, (i.e. MIDI)
2 The sincerity of a spontaneous creation gets partially lost when consolidated in a composition.
3 A recording does not transmit all of the energy of a live interpretation of improvisation
4 A microphone cannot capture the rich spacial irradiation of an acoustic instrument
5 The organized form of art makes it understandable, but the message is in the undefinable part
6 A message from beyond grows out of chaos. Uncertainty is the space for spiritual forces to manifest.

Precision is opposed to rich expression, just as easy as rationality is opposed to emotionality and spirituality
Nature is a good mix of randomness and repetition, planing and improvisation,
Similarely, one sample or even 1000 samples will not sound as rich as a mechanic generator, because the later will vibrate different at each note!
Who can perceive such fine differences? We all can. Maybe not consciously, but after a while the sampled instrument becomes boring, lacks life... What do I mean with Life?
Its the energy that creates miracles. We hardly assist miracles happening outside of the physical laws. They always happen within the uncertainty which penetrates the whole nature.


To define Live does not seem possible to me. But to illustrate, I list a set of rules which may not be proven, but we are mostly aware of, like:
- everything is born, develops and eventually disintegrates and disappears - a Life Cycle
- Life takes place in Nature, a tremendously complex system
- Nature exists in a physical world made of objects and possibly in other worlds and subtle communication ways
- every object can be seen as a unity or a composition of smaller objects
- two objects are never quite the same but often somehow similar and usually related to other objects
- all energy on earth can only be transformed into a different form, but the sun adds energy constantly, for a long time!
- each action causes a reaction which is guessable but never exactly predictable.
- there is an Uncertainty in everything which we hardly understand. Related concepts: Random, Chaos, Luck, Accident,,,
- humans dont agree about what forces control, and how energies like Thoughts, Fear, Hope,,, influence Uncertainty
- Physics is a set of physical rules which we perceive as constant, but possibly also also have a Live Cycle
- Birth of objects and creatures is a mystical manifests of an Idea, according to Physics, experiences with previous similar objects, and Uncertainty
- humans influence creation and create and transform objects, also submitted to Physics, experiences and Uncertainty
- objects seem to transmit energies or contain Soul
- Soul may be the part of the object which belongs to some other world where these rules are not valid