Music, ritual, life

Tonight I played in a concert that moved me deeply. We performed in almost total darkness, minus stand lights. It came to me that darkness plus sound is ritual, and is (or has the potential to be, anyway) musically and spiritually profound. We were spread through the performance space, with different percussionists in each corner, plus viola, cello, bass, oboe, flute, trombone, and a couple of other instruments. (I was listed as playing cello and percussion. I did.) The dynamic ranged from tiny whispers of sound to thundering drums. There were lovely melodies (in the duet played by my oboist friend and myself there were a couple in which I was playing all harmonics – see for an explanation), diverse and naturalistic soundscapes, and rhythms that spoke to my whole body and heart. I find it hard to write about music without sounding melodramatic, but this concert convinced me of the importance of ritual. I want to introduce it into our daily lives, in the form of something simple like sitting together at the end of the day with just a candle for light, sharing snippets from the day or appreciations of our family, or whatever seems to work that night. Our lives are so busy, so filled with activity, schedules, etc. It is so necessary to take some time away from that to connect with a quieter internal place.

And now I am home. I am nursing the babies, who have slowed into their contented half-asleep pace. Ted is upstairs getting Hazel down. Soon, I’ll be able to go to bed and relax my body and mind. I am grateful to be alive.


2 thoughts on “Music, ritual, life

  1. “Darkness plus sound is ritual” So profound. And the idea of ritual is so important. I want to learn meditation. I’ve purchased a bunch of candles. Finding that quitter internal place, as you put it, is really a constant work in progress. And one that we must never forget.

  2. cellocatnw says:

    Thanks, Jeff. Yes, it’s easy to forget; there are so many external demands on our time! That’s one reason I’m glad to be a musician. I get reminded periodically of the necessity to pay attention to things other than the packed activity of daily life.

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