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Resonance Dissonance

June 15, 2010

I am a music maker. A constant music maker. Always trying to drum out a beat from a table, a pot, a chair, the steering wheel. Blowing on bottle tops. Vocalizing in rounded spaces, looking for that magic: Resonance. I’ll post some of my music here (videos and audios) as we go along, my search for the original sound.

But all around me I hear and feel dissonance. Dissonance rising in every sphere of our lives. Actually our lives hardly have spheres anymore, or our lives would be in-herently resonant. Let me re-phrase that.

Dissonance rising in every box of our lives. We do lead rather boxy lives, eh? All our buildings are boxes. Box to box we go and everywhere we encounter straight lines and hard corners.

Straight lines and hard corners do not make for resonance. Look at all our instruments of music. See the curves, the rounded hollows, the cylindrical necks… music and it’s parent, resonance only thrive in spheres. The music of the spheres if you will, on this prosaic 3-d land-scape anyways.

But our lives are dominated by linearity. In every box of our life, we are faced with parallel tracks. Get on track, we are told. Such a linear model of living.

Any surprise then that we lead increasingly dissonant lives? Look at “popular” music as the prime exemplar of dissonance. Used to be that music was primarily resonant with dissonance thrown in here and there, like spice, showing the inherent polarity of all we create. Now it is primary dissonant and occasional resonance.

Any acoustician or musician or architect will tell you that reverberation is a result of roundness. Now look at the walls in your house, office, school, wherever. See much roundness? All you will see is resonance destroying straight lines, making cubes. And sound deadening carpets and other modern materials destroying any scope whatsoever for resonance.


This is a fractal world, right? Please read Motion Picture This for my short take on that. Not always obviously, life in all it’s dimensions repeats in patterns. When a pattern or vibration (vibrations are patterns too) find a place to pile up on top of each other, we get resonance. Round spaces encourage harmonic (self-supporting or happy mixing) resonance. Linear spaces discourage it.

Back to our fractal lives then. Ever wonder why we are ever more surrounded with noise (noise is always dissonant, resonant sounds are never classifiable as noise). Out tools are noisy, our vehicles are noisy, our industries are noisy. All of most of what we have created around is noise.

Resonance is fading. And it is a terrible thing to lose. No point if you have to go somewhere (theater, concert hall, temple, church etc.) to be in resonance. As soon as you walk out, the dissonant world will damp it out. You might hold a pleasant feeling of it for some time, but one loud honk, a siren, a construction site, a jackhammer will take it away from you.

This is one reason why we keep listening to music. Almost obsessively now. Our innermost be-ing craves resonance.

One of the ideas I’d like to expand upon as we go farther along this exploration is how to live a resonant life.

Sing deeply, make music, everywhere. Some might think you as crazy, but I’ve noticed a curious thing.

Sitting in a crowded space, I’ll start to tease out a beat, with my feet, my hands on whatever is available. And soon, other hands and feet, very subtly though, start to play along. Not boldly, we are not taught to live boldly, but feet start to tap, fingers begin to dance. Such a pleasure to be hold!


Leave you with some apropos art perhaps…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2011 7:13 am

    hey i used to sing all the time.
    now hardly ever.

    i read about a white south african woman who had the calling to be a sangoma.
    she went for two years and learnt the ways and means.
    it is a harsh course in many ways, living in water with snakes for a lot of the time.
    away from any aspects of ‘civilization’,.
    upon her return she mentioned that what she misses most about being out there
    was the music.
    every night there was drumming, dancing and singing.
    every night.
    not tv, or dinners or night clubs.
    just under the stars accessing that primal beingness.
    i have a yearning to find some place and take my kids so we can
    find the primal heartbeat again within ourselves.
    away from self consciousness and towards full awareness.

    • March 15, 2011 4:34 am

      Su, I hear you.

      Starting a school here, somewhere. An academy for the discovery of the self. Primal heartbeat, I like that.
      We have so much time and it’s running in faster and faster.

  2. March 15, 2011 3:44 pm

    where in india is here?

    • March 15, 2011 4:19 pm

      Still searching for the place Su. Almost closed on a stunning 6 acres, but it was too little and too close to everything. I’m feeling something a little high, but not too high. been travelling incessantly for the past couple of years, searching.
      Thinking of checking Sri Lanka soon. It’s mystical and was destroyed in the last go-around (millenia ago). Keep feeling called. But the South, generally South anyways. Feel like I’ll step on the land and just know.
      I’m currently in Bangalore.

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