I’ve said this before, about my concept of music as a more abstract thing independent of any particular quality of sound, and that that’s why I seem to like pianos the best. Well, I like to listen to anything played well, but for me as a musician, I want to play a piano. The fact that you can make gobs of noises at once, and that they are somewhat characterless, means that you can build very large structures that seem to live on the Perfect Plane of music as opposed to being yoked to one particular means of operating one specific device. I just approach music that way — as a writer rather than a calligrapher. Calligraphers care about what kind of pen they use and will admire something completely inane if it’s well-executed. One ordinary little word, or even one letter, can be beautiful if done well by a calligrapher. A writer just wants something that works with as little fuss as possible, and that is as transparent as possible as an obstacle between them and the idea they want to get out there. It’s the beauty in the mind and not the eye that a writer pursues.
(BTW, I think this little gem explains Bach’s enduring fame.)
That’s how I see the piano. Like this. It’s magnificent. When I want to get an idea down, it stays the fuck out of my way, and the fact that it only took me eight years to learn to manipulate it well enough to do so is why.
But I still feel like some part of me should care about some other way of making music. Viola is gorgeous, hands-down the best single-note instrument in the orchestra, but ergonomically vicious and … well, it still only makes one noise at a time. I’m sorry, but if I hear an E7 chord in my head, I want to hear it coming out of my instrument. It was a real surprise to me to discover how bone-deep that need runs to make all the notes I hear in my head, and how dissatisfying it was to hear a chord behind the melody and not make it. It’s so frustrating to play something in CM, move through a G#, and not be able to bang out the whole chord.
The organ was just too fucking big. Owning something that I could only barely manage to find someone willing to move just creeped me out.
I feel like I’m hunting for some other way to be a musician, and I’m not sure why. Creeping dissatisfaction is the bane of any creative person’s existence, I suppose.