Thursday, February 3, 2011


Over at On An Overgrown Path, Pliable has been doing a series of posts on his notion of "transmission". His idea is that for classical music to survive and thrive there has to be something going on between performers and audience more than the merely auditory, and that a lot of the new fangled attempts to bring in audiences actually interfere with "transmission".

He talks about that more in this post, mentioning music therapy, and then at the end giving a link to the CD over on the right I did with Lama Tashi. While that CD can be simply listened to, the main point was the insert which has all the chants notated for voice, guitar and keyboard so that practitioners might learn to do them themselves. Full transmission(?)

Anyway, here's the comment I just submitted:

As you might imagine, this post really struck a chord with me, even before the very pleasant surprise there at the end(!). Synchronicity being what it is, just got off the phone with Lama Tashi in Arunachal and he's doing well.

Another Jungian term you hint at with your title being so close to his "collective unconscious" is archetype. My feeling is that great music which is widely appreciated must somehow evoke something archetypal in most listeners.

I'm convinced of that in the non-classical folk realm in the case of minor blues tunes like "House of the Rising Sun", and "St. James Infirmary Blues", because performing those songs nearly always elicits a noticeably deep response from some listeners.

Your link to that old BBC story on the benefits of live music reminds me there hasn't been any follow up on that so far as I know.

One music therapy principle connected with your idea of transmission is that the first step is to play music which engages the client, which matches his/her mood as precisely as possible. Then once the connection (empathetic transmission?) is made, the therapist can use that connection to help the client get to different places.

My sense is that a lot of classical musicians present their work as take it or leave it. For them the canon trumps all, whereas for the therapist, connection/transmission trumps all.

Thanks so very much for putting music therapy in such a fine light for your very high level readership.

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