The Sound Unraveled from the Body (1998)
TAKAHASHI Yuji


Sound is impermanent because of a product.
On a plucked string instrument, left hand find the finger position
and right hand plucks.
Space and time are not provided, but created with the hand movement.
We can say: Left hand creates the space, right hand the time.
From the tactile sense of the sound-producing movement,
we know the object of the tactile consciousness, for instance, the string,
together with the coordinated body consciousness.
The touch on a fingertip is just one end of energy flow starting from feet
traversing the whole body.
Gradually we get used to this sense,
then our body is felt like a reed-like empty tube
where the energy waves come and go following their own causes and conditions.
When the flow ceases, our consciousness also ceases.

Repeating the movement, we notice it is the same yet never the same movement.
From the aspect of change, we know the uniqueness, undefinable sutleness,
and the contingency of the movement.
It is futile to try to control this phase.
On the other hand, the aspect of repetition make us acquire skill,
transmit the formalized body techniques, create rituals and traditions.

The balance of the both of these aspects,
or of the coarse consciousness and the subtle body,
is supported by our sustained attention.

What we call sound is a produced phenomenon, by hand or otherwise.
It is not a static object, but the process of constant change.
We can notice the object of hearing together with the sense of hearing.
This hearing is impersonal as in the case of tactile sense.

Music belongs to a culture, but the nature of body and mind has another level,
immediately felt, directly experienced and checked by anyone anywhere.
Tracing back to the root of traditional formulae, arriving at the original vision
open to the different senses and disciplines
like music, dance, acupuncture, or calligraphy,
and then we can create a musical practice as a field of participation.

Without using the external, conceptual and abstract measures
like pitch, scale or regular time,
but based on the hand movements, colors, counts and gradations,
a decentralized field of contact and modulation of transient sounds
would be set in motion.
This play could be a model of learning and understanding
for social and environmental interrelations.
Learning to give up the control gradually
and observe the possibilities blooming there
out of subtle variations of minimum elements.


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