Sunday, March 09, 2008

I wish words were music. Just pure sound, without language. No lyrics. If only we could all communicate through music, which needs no historical or cultural specificity for its beauty to be recognized, for its mood to be conveyed to even the lay ear. There would be no cultural crises. My cultural milieu and yours would be at par.

Of course, music has its own technical language, can be studied in terms of its own complex semiotics. But what if we didn't try? Would I feel any less in touch with something primal, something inexpressible when I listen to a raga whose grammar I do not care to fathom? There is a sense of betrayal - of the art, the artist and the feeling - in the attempt to decode music by talking about it in terms of 'good' or 'bad'. Some of us were having this discussion a while back, and all of us agreed that it is not rare to be unable to articulate one's enjoyment of a piece of music. Sometimes any kind of articulation becomes inadequate, unjust. I suppose it is true of all art forms.

Articulation in terms of identifiable language, the language of speech - that can be very problematic. Too determined by one's social background, 'upbringing', 'culture'. Too many misreadings, therefore. Too much inadequacy.

Sometimes I prefer the language of silence. Or the language of the body. They are not culturally relative, or a little less so.

Mostly, these days, I just wish words were music.