Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Third Ear

To a Taoist, the Third Eye is a very clever bit of natural evolution. It consists of all the senses and mind working together as a larger, more powerful sensory organ. They believe it is located on the forehead, above and between the eyes.

The Third Eye as a sense can be used in many different ways. 1) It opens up the senses to patterns around us. 2) It's used to make connections and answer questions. 3) It's part of empathy where a person can touch and feel the emotions of others.

I believe that as musicians, we develop a Third Ear.

This idea occurred to me recently as I was absorbing a beautifully complex piece of music. I had listened to it several times until the main theme became familiar. I then let the theme go, and concentrated on the counterpart. I suddenly had the feeling that, while I was hearing the counterpart with my ears, I was hearing the theme from a spot in the middle of my chest. Was this a third ear?

1) It opened up my senses to the patterns in the music. 2) It made connections and answered questions about the music. 3) It helped me to reach out to touch and feel the emotions of the composer.

What do you think? Could there be, for musicians, a Third Ear?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Loch Lomand

I stay away from those "cliche" pieces like Danny Boy and anything you may hear screamed by drunken crowds at "Irish" Pubs. But one thing I learned early on - the way pieces are played today is not necessarily the way they were written or intended. Many years ago I heard Loch Lomand performed by Steve MacDonald. This tale of lost love was sung so sweetly that it nearly brought me to tears. Still, I never played any of the many arrangements of it that I had. Until last week.

It was one of those moments when the universe aligned and I melded into the sweet sadness of the song. My hands reached into my harp's strings and became it's heart. It was one of the few times that I didn't need to learn something before I could play it. I felt as though my Scottish blood rose to the surface of my existence.

Each time I play Loch Lomand I'm discovering that feeling all over again. I hope it never ends...