The One Note
We could call that from which everything arises the One Note at the center of everything. Some say this is the note we hear while being born, that we search for our whole lives. Perhaps babies crying at birth are trying to tell us the secrets of life in the only language they have. Perhaps this early cry becomes the song of the One Note that we spend our lives trying to rediscover.
The pianist Michael Jones reminds us that musicians and composers began with a need to find and play the One Note. Early on, composers used to go into nature and listen to farmers and peasants singing in the fields. They would then base their sonatas and symphonies on the common sounds they heard in how human beings worked in the earth.
In 1916, Anton Dvorak said that some fundamental aspect of music had died because, in the modern age, farmers had stopped singing and musicians had stopped listening. Dvorak and Michael Jones raise two questions that are crucial to how art has always served life. First, what is it about the cycle of experience – especially in modern life – that numbs us from singing while we work and from hearing each other? And even more important, what must we relearn in order to remember how to touch the Earth and sing, to remember how to listen to each other and turn that listening into music? Art has always helped us touch the Earth and sing. It has always helped us rediscover the One Note. Art, the great inner bridge that lets the song of inwardness sing us. In all its forms, art has always given us a way to recover from the numbness of experience.
–from Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What is Sacred, Mark Nepo http://www.marknepo.com/
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