The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

January 23, 2018


I create music because I find music a problem.
I play thinking about that problem, that set of problems.
For example, embodiment and sound.
For example, thought and sound.
Or the obdurate in music, or what constitutes attention.
Or the withdrawal of attention, and then, procedures.
Or not procedures but unconscious choice.
Which then returns to procedures and a kind of exhaustion.
Or the instrument itself, instruments themselves.
And what constitutes the tending of these instruments.
What constitutes their embodiment and sound.
And what of the thinking of these instruments.
Their obdurate.
The attentiveness necessary for the production of sound.
And what are the channels of sound through and around them.
What of their relation to us, their beings to us.
The semiotics of sound which is always already behind us.
The semiotics of silence which is always before us.
The sound which is yet to be produced.
The memory of sound which has been produced.
The memory of structure and of structures of structures.
The attentiveness to that memory.
The withdrawal of attentiveness from that memory.
And the unwieldiness of this situation.
Or these situations.
And the obdurate or dynamics of that unwieldiness.
So there is this set of problems and pleasure plays no part.
Or pleasure or unpleasure surrounds this set.
Surrounds this set as forgotten or as a diacritical mark.
The mark which tethers the music to the social or example.
Or to accomplishment for example.
Or the lack of accomplishment.
Or the aegis of failure or success.
So that I am not a musician or am a faux musician.
Or am a musician manque or a failed musician.
Or someone walking near a parapet in the fog.
The walkway along the bank of a nighttime river.
The sound of the water moving slowly.
The lights by which I insist this is not a program.
Nor programmatic music nor a lyric.
It is a walk by the Thames on a rainy night.
It is March 1824 and the moon is new.

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