Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Unisons and Unity Within

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
–Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

In music, the term “unison” usually applies to two or more instruments. A unison refers to two simultaneous instances of the exact same pitch, and even instruments that can play multiple pitches simultaneously (like a piano) can’t play the same note twice at the same time. (A guitar is one exception to this – a string can be fretted to double the same note on another string.)

In the Muzoracle, unisons represent unity, most often of two or more people – because musically it usually takes two or more people to play one. A Unison of Woodwinds represents agreement in the realm of ideas, for example, while a Unison of Percussion refers to a kind of physical accord, as when people work together to accomplish a task. 

In addition to referencing accord between two or more people, though, the unison can also speak of unity within. In a recent casting, I came across a Unison of Strings over ti. In the context of the querent’s question, I interpreted this as a need for unity of feeling in order to transition to the next level. This brought me to a question that has been with me since: What is it to have a unity of feeling? Is it possible for all of these shifting personae within, these reactive modes that so quickly and invisibly change in response to circumstance, to share a single feeling? One moment something pleases, the next it frustrates, the next it doesn’t matter – how can we get all of those guys to agree?

I don’t think that’s possible. What might be possible, though, is a remembering of something core. There is a kind of feeling that does not give way to whim, that in moments of shock or inner silence can appear – a finer, more grounded kind of feeling. It’s like the love one has for a partner or a child: not the assumed everyday version that’s all wrapped up with duty or a sense of self, but the extraordinary feeling that comes like a realization, that’s felt down to the bone, that’s a kind of knowing. This is the kind of feeling, perhaps, that’s called for in this casting: a kind of pervasive remembering.

The Unison of Strings in this casting was actually a part of the casting’s axis: it was crossed with a Perfect Fifth of Voices, which speaks of the Active Force, of a kind of assertion at a spiritual or core level. Once again, remembering is indicated: in order to act from a core level, we must be at a core level, we must know what that means. A Unison of Strings crossing a Perfect Fifth of Voices over ti: it would seem the transition at hand cannot be accomplished from a small place.

Friday, June 3, 2011

An actor, yes ... but I want to direct!

Directives Directing
Divisi under Ra; Diminuendo under Te; Risoluto over Ti; Ritardando under Se
The above directives all occurred in one casting – which is pretty amazing considering that there are only 13 directives in the entire 89-card deck. This “coincidence” – and I use that word without implying randomness – inspired me to wax a bit on Directives and their meaning.
The Directive cards are derived from directives in a musical score, where they appear here and there as instructions. Say, for example, the violas in an orchestra are all playing a single-note melody. Then, at a certain point in the score, the single-note melody becomes two notes: either the melody is being harmonized, or two separate melodies have begun to take place. At that point the directive divisi appears in the score, instructing the viola section to split in two: half the violas take the top note, the other half the bottom one. In terms of both music and metaphor, divisi indicates an increase in diversity and a decrease in force: "Each of you may now operate independently, but neither will be as strong (loud) as you were when you were one." 
In the Muzoracle, Directives are also instructions. The difference is, of course, is that we are composing the “score” – our lives – as we go. Any instructions in a casting essentially come from ourselves: we can choose to follow them, ignore them, or alter them. Always interesting, though, is why these instructions are appearing in the first place; what within us is giving the orders? Sometimes, a Directive may actually point to someone else giving the orders: a boss, for example, or a friend with judgements. In that case, what within us gives a hoot? 
The first Directive that appeared in the aforementioned casting was indeed divisi, under the scalepoint of ra. This points to division as a source of vitality. Moreover, the position is an instruction: “You're going to need fuel to get through this – division is it.” 
Next appears the Directive diminuendo under the scalepoint of te. This points to a lessening of force – a quieting – as an opportunity. In conjunction with the divisi card in the previous position, this might mean, “Yes, divide – but for best results, don’t push your agenda too hard.” 
Third in the casting we find risoluto over the scale point of ti. This points to resolve at a point of transition. There’s obviously a transition taking place, or at least on the table, involving a split of some kind; in order to navigate it, we mustn’t be too pushy, but we mustn’t lose our resolve, either. Note that the risoluto card is a darker grey than the others; it is an Expressive, one of the directives that particularly deals with emotional tone.
Finally, three positions later, we find ritardando under the scalepoint of se. Se is about inception: it speaks of what has already begun. Ritardando is a directive to slow down. This position might indicate that the entire enterprise at hand is already under way: don’t rush it. Stay calm and quiet (diminuendo), but stick to your guns (risoluto). 
Of course, the other non-directive positions are key as well, and they’re juicy. An Accompanist of Percussion crossed with a Minor Seventh of Brass over the scalepoint of re: servitude in the physical world coupled with creative retreat as a habitual response. And Form over do: an intention regarding the form our lives take. But all that for another blog entry – this one’s dense enough! —Peace, jsk