(1) When an instrumentalist decides to become an orchestral musician, the first thing that he must do is to reflect seriously upon the complexity of the meaning and purpose of music. He must also take into consideration a further difficulty. This derives from the fact that playing in an orchestra is a responsibility shared with other players under the coordination of a conductor.
Musical performance is developed in a score that, through musical notation, contains the encoded philosophical thought of a composer who wishes to convey a message about his or her philosophical thoughts and feelings, the intrinsic values of any work of art. (2)
In music there are a number of terms and contents that can be named and explained, but there are also others that cannot be explained; they can only be felt. (3)
In order to perform a score, it is not enough just to play the notes. It is much more than that. It is necessary to convey the feelings locked up in the coded message in the score. These are the result of the composer’s experiences expressed through his or her creativity and imagination (which is synonymous with inspiration) (4)
music is an art that shares, without doubt, a multidisciplinary reality, comparable to an indivisible monolith. Therefore, when someone becomes a professional musician, they soon realise that everything that they have studied before, in isolation and over short periods of time, relates to one particular area of knowledge and that it is necessary to amplify this much further. In addition, in addition to all this knowledge we must, inexorably, add the creativity of the composers, the players and, just as important, the listeners.
In reality, everyone is creative (5)
However, there is such a thing as extreme creativity and this is the result of developing the skills associated with the so-called seven intelligences that make up the brain. This is the extreme creativity that sets geniuses apart from ordinary beings. (6)
In music, which is not an exact science, the hallmarks of quality are (a) endurance in time and (b) performance. Quality can be seen in the style of a composer or player and both professionals and music lovers usually recognise this immediately.
For this reason, we players have to make use of our creativity and knowledge through convergent thought in order to allow the flow of the messages we decode.
In other words, we can say that the creative act is a philosophical act that the composer expresses in a composition.
This composition is interpreted through musical aesthetics and is materialised through creative analysis. This kind of creative analysis is termed the phenomenology of music.
Musical phenomenology is the science that studies the phenomenon of non-playable sounds, sounds that, due to their intrinsic properties, cannot be played. They are always the same, whoever the player.
Music is a controlled structure of a sonorous material that conveys through the performer the personal vision of a philosophical experience, the artistic experience of the composer.
As follows from the definition of music, there are three points that come together in a philosophical reality. These must be investigated and determined in order to be truly aware of the creative or interpretative act, although it is difficult to specify the responses to the questions posed by music (be, know, value).
In reality, the three aspects mentioned above in the definition of music represent a sequence that may consist of a schematic model made up of the following components:
- Philosophical, representing the composer as the originator of the music through a composition written down in the form of a score using code, which is musical writing as language.(7)
- Aesthetic, which represents the performer, who is the means by which the music is transmitted, like the decoder and successive re-constructor of the composer's philosophical message.
- The listener, who is the receiver of the composer's message and who, therefore, performs an aesthetic act with a philosophical purpose.
Before being written down in the form of a score, music is ethereal in nature, in the thoughts of the composer. For this reason, it is philosophical material. In other words, at first, music as a creative act is not material in its structure and organisational form.
As musical writing is inexact, it does not convey in any way the precise intentions of the composer. It follows therefore that players need to base themselves on the experience of previous performers passed down from generation to generation. (8)
In order to achieve a performance as close as possible to the creative intention of the composer, we must analyse performance through the phenomenology of music.
In its application as an investigative and analytical tool of music, phenomenology is determined by human traits such as excitement, attitude, mentality, sensitiveness, flexibility and talent. Likewise, the human condition is influenced and determined at all times by the space-time factor.
Taking into consideration what has been said until now, it is clear that philosophical concepts generate and determine aesthetic and formal values in music.
- Phenomenology states that perception is/should be a process of strict description of our experience with sensitive details not based on theories, suppositions or presuppositions, only, a priori, that part of our consciousness that is independent of any experience. The new and interesting idea that what phenomenology contributes to art is the role of the listener as the active organiser of perceptions, not as a passive receiver of invariable objects. (Lewis Rowell. Thinking about of Music. 1983. The University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst).
- That interpretation as "language in a spiritual world", as a "mysterious Sanskrit" or hieroglyphics due to a lack of the clarifying language of words, was not the only attempt to shed light on the essence of that absolute instrumental music, without object or concept". (Dahlhaus C. The Idea of Absolute Music. Idea Books. 1999 Barcelona)
- Works of art are depositories of psychic energy and transmit this energy in accordance with the quality of the attention given to them. The effects of this energy may be described as feelings of happiness, awakened consciousness, peace or the wish to abandon our personal issues in order to surrender ourselves to the universal experience. This energy is extremely favourable and volatile and frequently dissipates the moment we receive it. (Del Campo P. Coord. Music as human process. Being creative, being connected. Author Silvia Nakkach. Amarú Ediciones, Salamanca, 1997.)
- Of all the arts, music is possibly the most satisfactory. It lacks the limitations of the word, conveys a universal message from the composer to the player and to the listener in a continuous flow, leaving a sphere of action between the elector and the audience in order to transform the conception and reception according to their conditions and needs. Del Campo P. Coord. Music as a human process. Music and the human creative process. Author Sir Yehudi Menuhin. Amarú Ediciones, Salamanca, 1997)
- Creativity as a state of consciousness is a positive action, a cultivator of human virtues. As all sadhana, creativity places itself at the service of personal development and generates a kind of connectivity of a spiritual nature, which from the inner being points towards an energy that is superior to oneself. (Del Campo P. Coord. Music as human process. To be creative, to be connected. Author Silvia Nakkach. Amarú Ediciones, Salamanca, 1997.)
- Creativity requires large amounts of originality and inspiration. In other words, something spontaneous, profound and real. It is a state of grace, a balanced condition of which our inheritance of the ancient past forms part, as well as our experiences of daily existence and in our future expectations. It is also a high state of consciousness which sometimes provides revelations and on other occasions avoids a life of searching. (Del Campo P. Coord. Music as human process. Music and the human creative process. Author Sir Yehudi Menuhin. Amarú Ediciones, Salamanca, 1997.)
- In Wagner’s philosophy of musical history, Beethoven is the composer who developed the linguistic capacity of instrumental music to the point where musical expression, instead of being limited to sentiment in abstracto, reaches a determined individual: a determination that in the end, however, in the Ninth symphony, had required words because as a determination without object, as more individualised expression without objective content, it had fallen into an inner contradiction. (In 1851, in opera and drama, Wagner attributes the individually determined linguistic capacity exclusively to Beethoven, but later, in the 1870s, as can be deduced from Wagner’s words on the “infinite melody”-, he also recognises the importance of Bach for the development of the linguistic nature of the musical instrument). (Dahlhaus C. The Idea of Absolute Music. Idea Books. 1999 Barcelona)
- As players, our relationship with a composition is similar to that of the composer with the cosmos. Before the composer puts it on paper, before it is executed, the composition is only dependent upon the mind of the author. It is contained in his imagination. From the moment it is written it becomes dependent upon the imagination of the reader and when the piece is played it becomes subordinate to universal laws.