The Music ManifestoI don’t think I’m really qualified to write about music, with neither a studied knowledge of the language of music, nor massive experience in a band. The reason it finds a space here is because of the fact that music is a prominent part of my existence, from the eternal search for good music, old and new, to teaching myself how to play guitar, something I’ve been at for a very long time now.

I belong to a fortunate generation that had its first exposure to music through the high fidelity crackle of clear vinyl sound. Setting up the record player, plugging in the two heavy wooden cabinet speakers and moving them into their ideal stereo positions, gingerly extracting the glossy black records from their large square jackets, placing them on the turntable and gently lowering the needle onto the wider spirals of the outer tracks made the act of listening to music an almost sacred ritual. I suppose this sacredness also bled into the act of immersing oneself completely in pure music.

We probably take for granted the way the music we listen to forms the soundtracks to our lives, since it usually grows and evolves with us, as we grow, both in age and the experiences we collect. Just like someone said that we are the sum total of our experiences, I believe the sum total of the music we listen to says just as much about who we are, and just as importantly, the times we live (or have lived) in.
To quote the White Stripes, who just sang it in my ear, “but any man with a microphone can tell you what he loves the most”. I’m not a poet, so learning to play the guitar wasn’t about spreading my messages and making noise, but about being analogue (even after going electric), about reproducing and eventually creating my own personal music along the paths of notes set by others, eventually deviating cautiously along new paths, albeit along patterns set by others. Everyone who picks up the guitar doesn’t join a band- sometimes because we’re not social enough to play in key with others, sometimes because we’re not good enough and sometimes because of both and many other reasons.
However I think music is something deeply personal; personal because it is amorphous and exists almost entirely in the space between our eardrums. Learning to play an instrument is and extension of that space to our lips or fingertips or toes, depending on one’s choice of instrument. I reckon how much further it extends our envelope is a function of whether we choose to share this created music with someone or more. Like the whole question of whether a tree falling in an empty forest makes a noise, music made in a room devoid of anyone else exists only in that space between the ears and those spots on our skin where we feel the vibration of string, membrane or wind. The music that fills the remaining space remains mostly irrelevant (like the tree in the forest).

As expected, typing continuously on this phone keyboard has started to get me rambling, like how people walking in deserts eventually start walking in circles.

This particular section of the site is probably the most journal-like part of it. I do want to try to demonstrate the very special pleasure that is creating music, armed only with an instrument or less and a drive and desire to learn something new. I’m going to let this section grow organically and let it evolve in whichever direction your response takes it.