Music

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Music

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:44 pm

This may be a bit unorthodox, but I'd like to share with you my experience of music and ask you for your own experiences and feelings about it.

My preferred type of music is classical. I find that it expresses something...emotions, life...in a beautiful, beautiful way. Take Chopin's piano music... peaceful, moving, almost melancholy, beautiful. Take Beethoven's 9th - if a piece of music, to me, ever expressed the potential of humanity it would be this one. The music itself is stunning, rousing, moving, and the 4th movement - wow. The words are from a poem by Schiller, a German poet. They go:

Joy, beautiful spark of divinity
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, drunk with fire,
Into your heavenly sanctuary!
Your magic reunites
What custom strictly divided.
All men will become brothers,
Where your gentle wing rests.

Apart from the obvious Christian references (heavenly sanctuary, and later on 'loving father' etc) - I find the image of "all men will become brothers" so moving it brings tears to my eyes. I've sung in the choir of this symphony before and it was one of the most powerful experiences in my life.

I currently sing in a choir, which I find enjoyable and also quite inspiring. It's beautiful to have a large group of individuals coming together to create something bigger; joining together in unison and oneness. For me this is a little bit like chanting at a meditation session, only better because there is musical ability there, so the sound created is pleasing to the ear.

I regularly listen to music on my computer...mainly classical but often jazz, world, folk and songs from my parents' generation such as Simon and Garfunkel. I find S & G's music to be very profound and poetic. They sing poems.

Aside from my own love of music, I am in awe of the sheer musical talent of some people, whether players or composers. This makes me realise what incredible things the human mind and brain are.


Anyhoo, just thought I'd share that with you. Does anyone else feel like this or have similar experiences with music?

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Re: Music

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:39 pm

many styles of music can have this effect, it depends on the person listening and their preferences.

I play the piano and Trumpet myself but not in a long time.
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Re: Music

Postby Ben » Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:06 pm

Hi Katy
Absolutely. I love music as well and when I was younger it was incredibly important. Perhaps as I've gotten older, or maybe through my practice, I'm much less attached to it and can take it or leave it. And when I take it, I can appreciate, like you, by the great poetics and musicianship. These days, however, I;m not as likely to be so overwhelmed by it as I was in my youth and be more aware of the phenomenology of the experience, keeping a watchful eye on sensations, mind states and memtal contents. And I've really developed a deep love of silence.
Lately I've taken to playing the Moody Blues loud while cooking. Its a blast from the past for me when I used to listen to those guys while getting stoned nearly 30 years ago. Listening to them again now, 'straight' and after many years of practice, I can appreciate them on a whole new level - especially their fascination with and desire for something akin to 'the path'. I'm also a big fan of Bob Dylan - both his early and more recent works, REM and Leo Kottke. I love Classical music but unfortunately no longer have any in my collection - something I should remedy.
Just on poetry, a very good friend (and Dhamma-friend) is a poet and I've been priveleged to receive copies of his poems in manuscript form prior to the publishing of his third volume. This particular volume is populated mainly by poems informed from the insights he has gained from his practice. As a co-practitioner, reading his poems is incredibly profound.
metta

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Re: Music

Postby Mawkish1983 » Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:27 pm

Hmmm, for me it's all about the metal. Something about the frantic angst really appeals to me.

At my funeral I've asked that Shadows Fall's "Another Hero Lost" is played. It includes the lyrics, "Forever is waiting, the final steps you're taking will soon be buried in the sand". How true.

Having said that, the Phantom of the Opera really appeals to my more maudlin side, bringing me to tears. It's over now, the music of the night.

I always thought music would be one of the hardest attachments for me to break, but I'm realising that removing the alcohol and the nightclubs really helps. I suppose it's all about context: I can quite happily sit on the bus in silence now, without the metal at full volume damaging my hearing :)
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Re: Music

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:34 pm

Greetings,

Ben wrote:REM

At least you like something good, Ben. :tongue:

I could easily chat all day about all the music that I like, and if anyone had seen my wall of CDs that I've been relentlessly compiling since 1991 they'd have a good idea of how important music is and has been to me. However, in keeping with the theme of this topic, I'll try to keep my thoughts narrowed to a few defined areas that at least have some Dhammic context to them.

Firstly, my Dhamma practice has certainly reduced my craving for music. From 1999 onwards I compiled a 2CD of my favourite songs from that year, so I was very much in tune with what was being released and endeavoured to stay on top of all the new releases in my particular genres of interest. I was DJing at the time so it was not surprising that I had this much interest. In late 2005 I became Buddhist and whilst I still enjoyed music as much as I ever did, the relentless pursuit to find more, more, more seemed to abate... in 2007 I was thinking my 2CD retrospective would just become 1 disc compilation until I went to the UK (to see a band, of course 8-) ) and bought heaps of new CDs and have plenty of contenders for the compilation. In 2008 it really did just become a 1 disc compilation. In 2009, I scratched a few ideas down for possible candidates, but never even bothered to make the CD. In 2010, I haven't really even thought about it, and I'm sufficiently disenchanted with it that I neither crave the latest music, nor do miss the fact that I don't pursue it.

My musical interest over the last 6 months or so has switched to dub, and yeah, I do crave dub CDs! Old school 70s Jamaican dub of the ilk of King Tubby and co. is what I really like. The appeal of the sound is well summarised by the Wikipedia article on Dub - "The many-layered sounds with varying echoes and volumes are often said to create soundscapes, or sound sculptures, drawing attention to the shape and depth of the space between sounds as well as to the sounds themselves." You can listen to, and listen into the sounds. As well as that, it's quite relaxing and peaceful for the most part. Dub either has no vocals, or is semi-instrumental, but some of the Jamaican lyrics that do find there way into the tracks are Rastafari in content, and for the most part this doesn't concern me in the slightest and any values praised are generally in accord with what the Buddha spoke highly of too. Even then the vocals are often fragmented, echoed into oblivion and such... it's just really interesting and turning inward for reflection, it's interesting to hear the arising and falling of the sounds, and the observe the mental reaction to that input. Meditation purists might frown upon taking music as a subject of meditation, but it brings a certain mindfulness to daily transport activities which may otherwise be far less mindful. It also helps drown out the inane chatter of silly commuters. ;)

Right, I'll stop there... for now!

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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Music

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:06 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Ben wrote:REM

At least you like something good, Ben. :tongue:

I see this just as Denis Leary comes on my player! :tantrum:
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Music

Postby Northernbuck » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:49 am

Interesting topic. Music has always been in my life and will will continue to be there. My one guilty passion is music. I really don't care about the style, if it sounds good, I like it. Classical, rock, dance, house, jazz, blues, whatever. I listen to Beethoven to Nine Inch Nails. I also use to play bass, arthritis. I don't know what it is about music, but it has always been there. I could go on for hours talking about the most obscure songs and artists (name the 80's artist who sang Tarzan Boy). Out of everything that ends up in my head, it's useless music facts.
But if this neutral feeling that has arisen is conditioned by the body which is impermanent, compounded and dependently arisen, how could such a neutral feeling be permanent? - SN 36.7
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Re: Music

Postby zavk » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:30 am

I suppose I better post something before someone posts something about how the love of music reflects an attachment to sensual pleasure! :tongue:

Music is fun.

Mawk: I was really into metal in my early teens. Don't really listen to it much now. But I still have a soft spot for eighties trash and new wave British metal--Iron Maiden!

Oh, here's an audio recording of Simon & Garfunkel whom I saw last July:




On another note (ok, silly pun), I recently bought the game Singstar. I've never like karaoke or saw the point of it, but for some reason Singstar is quite fun. I guess it's partly because I get to download the types of songs I like. Oh dear...

(Oh yes Mawk, I'm thinking of getting the game Brutal Legends, it so METAL!! in a kind of ironic way...
Last edited by zavk on Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Music

Postby Guy » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:39 am

Mawkish1983 wrote:Hmmm, for me it's all about the metal. Something about the frantic angst really appeals to me.


For you Mawkish...

Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Music

Postby bodom » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:51 am

The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Music

Postby Guy » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:55 am

bodom wrote:Its all about BODOM!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_Bodom


I wondered if that was why you were called "Bodom"...now I know! \m/
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Music

Postby bodom » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:10 am

Guy wrote:
bodom wrote:Its all about BODOM!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_Bodom


I wondered if that was why you were called "Bodom"...now I know! \m/


Yeah there my favorite band. Alexi is an amazing guitarist.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Music

Postby bodom » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:18 am

zavk wrote:(Oh yes Mawk, I'm thinking of getting the game Brutal Legends, it so METAL!! in a kind of ironic way...


I have it for Ps3 its awesome. Best soundtrack ever.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Music

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:20 am

I played the Brutal Legend demo, yeah it was good but I had to turn the music volume right up in the settings... should be loud by default methinks. The visuals though, wow.
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Re: Music

Postby Kare » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:28 am

In his book “Musick’s Monument”, 1676, Thomas Mace gave a wonderful description of music (played on viols):

"We had for our Grave Musick, Fancies of 3, 4, 5, and 6 Parts to the Organ; Interpos‘d (now and then) with some Pavins, Allmaines, Solemn, and Sweet Delightful Ayres; all which were (as it were) so many Pathettical Stories, Rhetorical, and Sublime Discourses; Subtil and Accute Argumentations; so Suitable, and Agreeing to the Inward, Secret, and Intellectual Faculties of the Soul and Mind; that to set Them forth according to their True Praise, there are no Words Sufficient in Language; yet what I can best speak of Them, shall be only to say, That They have been to my self, (and many others) as Divine Raptures, Powerfully Captivating all our unruly Faculties, and Affections, (for the Time) and disposing us to Solidity, Gravity, and a Good Temper; making us capable of Heavenly, and Divine Influences. Tis Great Pity Few Believe Thus Much, but Far Greater, that so Few Know It.
...
These Things were Performed, upon so many Equal, and Truly-Sciz'd Viols; and so Exactly Strung, Tun'd, and Play'd upon, as no one Part was any Impediment to the Other, but still (as the Composition required) by Intervals, each Part Amplified, and
Heightened the Other;..."

I love to play viols with friends. It feels exactly like Mace describes it.
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