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                    wherever we begin, it is a beginning
                    because there is a boundary between where
                    we were and where we are now that we
                    have begun...

          We have, in other words, begun.

          But what is it we have begun?

          What is it, I ask, have we begun?

               This was not written by Gertrude Stein.
               But it is a beginning which Gertrude Stein
               might have begun.

     In a conversation with Gertrude Stein, John Hyde Preston noted:

     "She talks freely and volubly and sometimes obscurely, as if she
     had something there that she was very sure of and yet could not
     touch it. She has the air of having seen in flashes something
     which she does not know the shape of, and can talk about, not out
     of the flashes but out of the spaces between when she has waited."
     (Brewster Ghiselin, editor, The Creative Process, New American
     Library, New York, 1952, p. 159)

          Our subject is creativity. And as anybody can tell, we
          have begun.  Awkward beginning though  it may be,  we have...  

     Gertrude Stein herself said: "You will write if you will write
     without thinking of the result in terms of a result, but think of
     the writing in terms of discovery, which is to say that creation
     must take place between the pen and the paper, not before in a
     thought or afterwords in a recasting. Yes, before in a thought, but
     not in careful  thinking. It will come  if it is there  and if you 
     let it come, and if you have anything you will get a sudden creative
     recognition. You won't  know how it was,  even what it is,  but it 
     will be creation if it came out of  the pen and out of you and not 
     out of an architectural drawing of the thing you are doing... I can
     tell you  how important it is  to have that  creative recognition. 
     You cannot go into the womb to form the child: it is there and makes
     itself and comes forth whole--and there it is and you have made it 
     and have felt it, but it has come of itself--and that is creative
     recognition. Of course you have a little more control over your 
     writing than that; you have to know what you want to get; but when
     you know that, let it take you and if it seems to take you off the
     track don't hold back, because that is perhaps where instinctively
     you want to be and if you hold back and try to be always where you 
     have been before, you will go dry." (ibid., pp.159-60)

               And so we have already begun and can no longer
               call this a beginning, unless we are to consider
               ourselves beginning afresh with each word, with
               each sentence, and this may well be. Always beginning,
               coiling out a thought...
                                             stretching it out
                                             like a phrase of music.

                    It snakes out, curls in the air
                    like wisps of smoke,
                      disperses, and is gone.

                         And we begin again.

               It may be like that; or it may not.

     Mary Wigman, the choreographer, said of one of her dances:
     "My Pastorale was developed in the following way: I came into my
     studio one day and sank down with a feeling of complete relaxation.
     Out of a sense of deepest peace and quietude I began slowly to move
     my arms and body. Calling to my assistants, I said, 'I do not know
     if anything will come of this feeling, but I should like a reed
     instrument that would play over and over again a simple little
     tune, not at all important, always the same one.' Then with the
     monotonous sound of a little tune, with its gentle lyric suggestion,
     the whole dance took form. Afterward we found that it was built on
     six-eight time, neither myself nor the musician being conscious of
     the rhythm until we came to the end." (ibid.,pp. 79-80)

               These are metaphors. The word "beginning" is a
               delineation of a category, a description of a
               defined place, geographical or temporal. Birth
               is a metaphor for beginning. We are always and
               always in the midst of birthing. It is to these
               depths we dive, scrambling for air. To continue
               and to sustain...

     Arthur Joyce Lunel Cary, more commonly known simply as Joyce Cary,
     British magistrate to Borgu, Africa, turned artist and novelist
     late in life, said in a book about the creative process, Art and

          "...It is quite true that the artists, painter, writer or
          composer starts always with an experience that is a kind of
          discovery. He comes to it with the sense of a discovery; in
          fact, it is truer to say that it comes upon him as a discovery.
          It surprises him. This is what is usually called an intuition
          or an inspiration. It carries with it always the feeling of
          directness. For instance, you go walking in the fields and all
          at once they strike you in quite a new aspect: you find it
          extraordinary that they should be like that. This is what
          happened to Monet as a young man. He suddenly saw the fields,
          not as solid flat objects covered with grass or useful crops
          and dotted with trees, but as colour in astonishing variety
          and subtlety of gradation. And this gave him a delightful and
          quite new pleasure. It was most exciting discovery, especially
          as it was a discovery of something real. I mean, by that, 
          something independent of Monet himself. That, of course, was
          half the pleasure. Monet had discovered a truth about the
          actual world.

     "This delight in discovery of something new in or about the world
     is a  natural and primitive  thing. All  children have it.  And it 
     often continues until the age of twenty or twenty-five, even through-
     out life.

     "Children's pleasure in exploring the  world, long before they can 
     speak, is very obvious. They spend almost all their time at it. We 
     don't speak of their intuitions, but it is the same thing as the
     intuition of the artist. That is to say, it is direct knowledge of 
     the world as it is, direct acquaitance with things, with characters,
     with appearance, and  this is the primary knowledge  of the artist 
     and writer. This  joy of discovery is his  starting point." (Joyce 
     Cary, Art and Reality, Doubleday & Company, Garden City, New York, 
     1958, pp. 15-16)

          I saw the form of this "essay" whole, as soon as I
          turned to that description of Gertrude Stein's conversation:

               "She talks freely and volugbly and sometimes obscurely,
               as if she had something there that she was very sure
               of and yet could not touch it."

     But years of interest in the subject of creativity, reading, cogi-
     tating, forgetting, re-membering...was preparation  for the moment
     of insight. And then, from that moment  on, it's all work, to keep 
     that beginning  alive, to  help it  grow into  the coherent  whole 
     first perceived. 

                         10% inspiration...
                                   90% perspiration...

               And in the end, it may not work at all.
                    That is the risk.

     The classic model  for the workings of creativity is  found in the 
     story of Archimedes. Here is the story, recounted by Arthur Koestler
     in his book The Act of Creation: 

        "Heiro, tyrant of Syracuse and protector of Archimedes, had
        been given a beautiful crown, allegedly of pure gold, but he
        suspected that it was adulterated with silver. He asked Archimede's
        opinion. Archimedes knew, of course, the specific weight of gold--
        that is to say, its weight per volume unit. If he could measure
        the volume of the crown he would know immediately whether it 
        was pure gold or not; but how on earth is one to determine the
        volume of a complicted ornament with all its filligree work?
        Ah, if only he could melt it down and measure the liquid gold
        by the pint, or hammer it into a brick of honest rectangular
        shape, or...and so on...

        "One day, while  getting into his bath, Archimedes watched
        absently-mindedly the familiar sight of the water-level rising
        from one smudge on the basin to the next as a result of the
        immersion of his body, and it occurred to him in a flash that
        the volume of water displaced was equal to the volume of the
        immersed parts of his body--which therefore could simply be
        measured by the pint. He had melted his body down, as it were,
        without hammering it, and he could do the same with the crown...

     "Neither to Archimedes nor to anybody else before him had it ever
     occurred to connect the sensuous and trivial occupation of taking
     a bath with the scholarly pursuit of the measurement of solids. No
     doubt he had observed many times that the level of the water rose
     whenever he got into it; but this fact, and the distance between
     the two levels, was totally irrelevant to him--until it suddenly
     became bisociated with his problem. At that instant he realized 
     that the amount of rise of the water-level was a simple measure of
     the volume of his own complicated body..." (Arthur Koestler, The
     Act of Creation, Dell Publishing Co., New York, 1964, pp. 105-106)

     The sequel to the discovery is well known. Archimedes immediately
     shot out of the bath tub, not bothering to dress, and ran through
     the town shouting "Eureka! Eureka!," ("I have found it! I have
     found it!)

     And hence this kind of creative discovery is sometimes referred
     to as the "Eureka" experience. Koestler defines this as an act of
     bisociation, meaning that something happening on one level--the
     problem of how to determine the volume of gold in the crown, for
     instance--is cut across, or connects up with, something happening
     on another level--the observation of the rising water-level. In
     the connection, the bisociation, is some new insight or discovery

     Bisociation may also take place as one of the bases for how humor
     works. Koestler uses the working of laughter, which may occur when
     two levels of meaning collide to form a bisociation and demand a
     physiological "working off" of the tension created. Koestler em-
     ploys this model as a back-door approach to the creative process.
     He tells this story by way of illustration:

          "Two women meet while shopping at the supermarket in the Bronx.
          One looks cheerful, the other depressed. The cheerful one in-
               'What's eating you?'
               'Nothing's eating me.'
               'Death in the family?'
               'No, God forbid!'
               'Worried about mondy?'
               'No...nothing like that.'
               'Trouble with the kids?'
               'Well, if you must know, it's my little Jimmy.'
               'What's wrong with him, then?'
               'Nothing is wrong. His teacher said he must see a psychia-
               Pause. 'Well, well, what's wrong with seeing a psychiatrist?'
               'Nothing is wrong. The psychiatrist said he's got an
                    Oedipus complex.'
               Pause. 'Well, well, Oedipus or Schmoedipus, I wouldn't
                    worry so long as he's a good boy and loves his mamma.'"
                                                  (ibid, pp. 32-33)

     Here we can see the two levels of operation as they come into
     collision: the cheerful woman's statement is ruled by the logic
     of comon sense: if Jimmy is a good boy and loves his mamma there
     can't be uch wrong. But in the context of Freudian psychiatry the
     relationship to the mother carries entirely different association.

     Koestler says that  the creative act always operates  on more than
     one plane, the bisociation of more than one level of understanding.

     Of course, that's oversimplifying things, and certainly oversimpli-
     fying Koestler's whole thesis, which is rooted in the complex
     workings of the entire biological organism. The subject of creativity
     is vast and complicated; many hypotheses, much conjecture, idea after
                    derives from the most profound of our mysteries...

               crucial to our survival...

     As the psychologist Carl Rogers says, "I maintain that there is a
     desperate social need for the creative behavior of creative indi-

          He goes on to say that "many of the serious criticisms of
          our culture and its trends may best be formulated in terms
          of a dearth of creativity. Let us state some of these very

               1. In education we tend to turn out conformists, stereotypes,
                  individuals whose education is 'completed,' rather than
                  freely creative and original thinkers.
               2. In our leisure-time activities, passive entertainment and
                  regimented group action are overwhelmingly predominant,
                  whereas creative activities are much less in evidence.
               3. In the sciences, there is an ample supply of technicians,
                  but the number who can creatively formulate fruitful
                  hypotheses and theories is small indeed.
               4. In industry, creation is reserved for the few--the
                  manager, the designer, the head of the research depart-
                  ment--whereas for the many life is devoid of original
                  or creative endeavor.
               5. In individual and family life the same picture holds
                  true. In the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the books
                  we read, and the ideas we hold, there is a strong
                  tendency toward conformity, toward stereotypy. To be
                  original or different is felt to be 'dangerous.'

     "Why be concerned over this? If, as a people, we enjoy conformity
     rather than creativity, shall we not be permitted this choice? In
     my estimation such a choice would be entirely reasonable were it not
     for one great shadow which hangs over all of us. In a time when
     knowledge, constructive and destructive, is advancing by the most
     incredible leaps and bounds into a fantastic atomic age, genuinely
     creative adaptation seems to represent the only possibility that
     man can  keep abreast  of the kaleidoscopic  change in  his world.
     With scientific discovery and invention proceeding, we are told, at
     a geometric rate of progression, a generally passive and culture-
     bound people cannot cope with the multiplying issues and problems.
     Unless individuals, groups and nations can imagine, construct and
     creatively revise new ways of relating to these complex changes,
     the lights will go out. Unless man can make new and original adapt-
     ations to his environment as rapidly as his science can change the
     environment, our culture will perish. Not only individual malad-
     justment and group tensions but international annihilation will be
     the price we pay for a lack of creativity." (Carl Rogers, "Towards
     a  Theory of  Creativity,"  in  Creativity, P.E.  Vernon,  editor,
     Penguin Books, Ltd, Middlesex, England, 1970, pp.137-38)

     Now I take it that few like to be reminded of our plight, and it
     would seem that we certainly do not need to be reminded of how
     conformist our society is, what a dearth of creativity there is...
     But this truth must be faced, for to ignore it is to evade our in-
     dividual responsibilities. At the same time as we face the negative,
     we must acknowledge an underlying optimism: creativity can be nur-
     tured and developed; there are always solutions to our predicaments;
     our actions can and do make a difference.

     Stating the issue from another perspective, Rollo May, in his
     eloquent little book The Courage to Create, asks:

          "What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but
          the fountainhead of human experience? What if our logic and
          science derive from art forms and are fundamentally dependent
          on them rather than being merely a decoration for our work
          when science and logic have produced it?"

     He further says that "Imagination, broadly defined, seems to me
     to be a principle in human life underlying even reason, for the
     rational functions, according to our definitions, can lead to
     understanding--can participate in the constituting of reality--
     only as they are creative. Creativity is thus involved in our
     every experience as we try to make meaning in our self-world
     relationship." (Rollo May, The Courage to Create, W.W. Norton &
     Co., New York, 1975, pp. 150,161)

                    This is a beginning.

                         A compilation of viewpoints.

          "she has the air of having seen in flashes something which
          she does not know the shape of, and can talk about, not out
          of the flashes but out of the spaces between when she has

               This is a beginning which we have begun again



     The novelist Dorothy Canfield said of the process of her writing:

     "No two of my stories are ever constructed in the same way, but
     broadly viewed they all have exactly the same genesis, and I con-
     fess I cannot conceive of any creative fiction written from any
     other beginning...that of a generally intensified emotional sensi-
     bility, such as every human being experiences with more or less
     frequency. Everybody knows such occasional hours or days of freshened
     emotional responses when events that usually pass almost unnoticed,
     suddenly move you deeply, when a sunset lifts you to exaltation,
     when a squeaking door throws you a fit of exasperation, when a
     clear look of trust in a child's eyes moves you to tears, or an
     injustice reported in the newspapers to flaming indignation, a good
     action to a sunny warm love of human nature, a discovered meanness
     in yourself or another, to despair.

     "I have no idea whence this tide comes, or where it goes, but when
     it beings to rise in my heart, I know that a story is hovering in
     the offing. It does not always come safely to port. The daily rou-
     tine of ordinary life kills off many a vagrant emotion. Or if daily
     humdrum occupation does not stifle it, perhaps this saturated solu-
     tion of feeling does not happen to crystallize about any concrete
     fact, episode, word or phrase...

     "The beginning of a story is then for me in more than usual
     sensitiveness to emotion. If this encounters the right focus
     (and heaven only knows why it is the 'right' one) I get simul-
     taneously a strong thrill of intense feeling, and an intense desire
     to pass it on to other people. This emotion ay be any one of the
     infinitely varied ones which life affords, laughter, sorrow, indig-
     nation, gayety, admiration, scorn, pleasure. I recognize it for
     the 'right' one when it brings with it an irresistible impulse
     to try to make other people feel it. And I know that when it comes
     the story has begun..." (Ghiselin, Op. cit., pp. 168-69)

               The story has begun...

     But there are many obstacles, "the humdrum of everyday life,"
       the distractions, the cultural barriers errected to
               ward off the "dangers" of creativity.

     Joyce Cary tells a beautiful story:

          "A great deal...of that spiritual and perpetual joy that
          children bring to us is just this power of seeing the world
          as a new thing, as pure intution, and so renewing for us
          the freshness of all life. But they always lose this power
          of original expression as soon as they begin there education.
          A small girl of seven once asked me if I would like a drawing.
          I said yes. She asked 'What shall I draw?'
               'Anything you like.'
               'Shall I draw you a swan?'
               'Yes, a swan;' and the child sat down and drew for half
          an hour. I'd forgotten about the swan until she produced the
          most original  swan I'd  ever seen. It  was a  swimming swan,
          that is, a creature designed simply to swim. Its feet were
          enormous and very carefully finished, obviously from life.
          The whole structure of the feet was shown in heavy black lines.
          The child was used to seeing the  swans on a canal at the end
          of her garden and had taken particular notice of their feet.
          Below the water the swan was all power. But for the body she
          gave it the faintest, lightest outline, neck and wings included
          in one round line shaped rather like a cloud--a perfect expression
          of the cloud-like movement of the swan on the surface.

          "I was admiring this swan when an older child in the room,
          aged thirteen, looked at the drawing and said contemptuously
          'That's not a bit like a swan. I'll draw you a swan,' and pro-
          duced at once a Christmas-card swan, of the commonest type.

          "Yet the second child had all the qualities of the first,
          intelligence, sensibility. A few years before she had the
          ability to see for herself, to receive the unique personal
          impression. She had lost it by the education which emphasises
          the fact, measurements, analysis, the concept. Education is,
          and must be, almost entirely conceptual. And the concept is
          always the enemy of the intuition. It is said that when you
          give a child the name of a bird, it loses the bird. It never
          sees the bird again, but only a sparrow, a thrush, a swan,
          and there is a good deal of truth in this." (Cary, Op. cit.,
          pp. 48,49)

           "It is said that when you give a child the name of bird,
                      it loses the bird..."

     Mary (M.C.) Richards, in the book Centering:

            "A creative person. Initiating, enacting out of
           personal being. Using his lifetime to find his
               original face, to awaken his own voice, beyond
           all learning, habit, thought: to tap life at its source."
                         (M.C. Richards, Centering, Wesleyan University
                         Press, Middletown, Connecticut, 1969, p. 43)

     In an article on the creative process, historian Albert Rabil
     recounts the findings of psychologists:

     "Psychologists delineate five stages in the creative process:
     Preparation, incubation, illuination, elaboration, and verification.

     "Preparation involves mastery of subject matter, technical skills,
     materials and tools--whatever is needed for a person's field of
     work. That creative spark, the illumination, comes, wrote Nobel
     Prize-winning brain physiologist John Eccles, 'only to a mind that
     has been prepared by the assimilation and critical evaluation of
     knowledge in its field.' Important creative ideas rarely pop into
     the minds of the merely ardent, well-intentioned, or unconventional.
     They need to be thoroughly prepared for. Creative persons, though,
     need more than preparation in a specialty. They need to be intimately
     acquainted with related fields, cross-fertilized for hybrid vigor...
     Arthur Koestler...goes so far as to say that the evidence indicates
     that 'all decisive advances in the history of scientific thought
     can be described in terms of mental cross-fertilization between
     different disciplines.' A poet who is familiar with music or social
     conditions, say, or a historian who understands agriculture and
     mining is better prepared to see his own work in a fresh perspec-
     tive. It helps move a person out of parochial and traditional patterns.

     "The second stage, incubation, involves a relaxation of the conscious
     rational self. Conscious thought focuses the problem nicely and
     heightens the tension. But it is blocked by established methods,
     codes, and assumptions from sliding outside the routine. After
     preparation, the creative process demands that one relinquish con-
     trol, relax, allow deeper forces to come forward.

     After incubating, if one is lucky there follows the moment of
     illumination. This is the 'Eureka' experience which reorders a
     part of reality, or if it is creative enough creates a fundamentally
     new reality.

     The fourth stage in the act of creation is elaboration. Here the
     mind returns to a conscious state and works out the illumination
     in persuasive detail.

     The last stage is verification. The insight and its detailed elab-
     oration need to be tested, refined, and subjected to critical
     scrutiny." (Albert Rabil, Jr., "How Does Creativity Happen?",
     Search, Winter, 1977-78)

     Here is a description of Martha Graham, written by Merle Armitage
     in 1937:

          "It seems safe to assume that here fundamental aim is to
          allow the power and energy of the living world to filter
          through and animate her work... In certain figures and
          movements Graham seems to uncover stratas of memory, floating
          just below consciousness... Her imagination frequently con-
          jures forms which seem utterly impossible of plastic
          realization. Yet by force of conviction and an amazing
          technique they become highly communicable. She has singular
          mastery over life--an almost mesmeric power, and a nobility
          which demands respect... Everything she does falls under the
          scrutiny of her own devestating self-criticism..." (Merle
          Armitage, editor, Martha Graham, Dance Horizons, New York,
          reprint 1966)

     we have done nothing more than make a beginning

               but wherever we begin, it is at least a beginning
        because there is a boundary between where we
                         and where we are now
                              that we have begun

     and that boundary marks the shoreline between our walk upon the
     solid earth and our plunge into the depths

               it also marks the boundary between something which
                    has just ended and something that has
                              just begun

          but the boudary is not so much a boundary as it is simply
               a change, and change is the marvelous constant
                    of our lives

                         in our beginning, as the text for the
                    14th-century musical palindromes went
                              in our beginning
                                      is our end

     "Creativity can be fostered and nurtured. It can be learned by all
     of us, heightened, though long fallen into disuse.

          "Creativity includes the ability to:

               POINT OF VIEW
               OF OPPOSITION
               GOAL, WITHOUT GUARANTEED RESULTS." (Duane Preble, Art
               Creates Us Creates Art, Canfield Press, San Francisco,
               1976, p.10)


     In the summer of 1936, James Agee, author on assignment from
     Fortune Magazine, and Walker Evens, photographer on "loan" from
     the government's Farm Bureau, lived with three families of tenant
     farmers in Alabama. They were assigned to write a documentary
     article about the lives of these families. They immediately knew
     that such an article, to appease the consciences of the middle and
     upper-middle class white readers of the magazine, would be impossible.
     The result was one of the most magnificent and powerful creations
     of this century, a book of almost 500 pages so poignantly rendering
     in photographs and text the lives of those families that to read it
     with care is to havd one's consciousness altered irrevocably. Any
     number of passages from the book would illustrate and serve as model
     for all of the principles of creativity that have been hinted at
     so far. But one passage in particular strikes at the heart of the
     matter, in that volubility and sometime obscurity of language for
     which Gertrude Stein was known. Agee is talking about the conditions
     of perception, the sensibility of being, in which he and Evans
     spent that summer:

     "The dead oak and pine, the ground, the dew, the air, the whole
     realm of what our bodies lay in and our minds in silence wandered,
     walked in, swam in, watched upon, was delicately fragrant as a
     paradise, and, like all that is best, was loose, light, casual,
     totally actual. There was, by our minds, our memories, our thoughts
     and feelings, some combination, some generalizing, some art, and
     science; but none of the close-kneed priggishness of science, and
     none of the formalism and straining and lily-gilding of art. All
     the length of the body and all its parts and functions were parti-
     cipating, and were being realized and rewarded, inseperable from
     the mind, identical with it: and all, everything, that the mind
     touched, was actuality, and all, everything, that the mind touched
     turned immediately, yet without in the least losing the quality
     of its total individuality, into joy and truth, or rather, revealed
     of its self, truth, which in its very nature was joy, which must
     be the end of art, of investigation, and of all anyhow human

     "This lucky situation of joy, this least illusion of personal
     wholeness or integrity, can overcome one suddenly by any one of
     any number of unpredictable chances: the fracture of sunlight on
     the facade and traffic of a street; the sleaving up of chimneysmoke;
     the rich lifting of the voice of a train along the darkness; the
     memory of a phrase of an inspired trumpet; the odor of scorhed
     cloth, of a car's exhaust,...of pork, of beeswax on hot iron, or
     young leaves, or peanuts; the look of a toy fire engine, or of a
     hundred agates sacked in a red cheesecloth; the oily sliding sound
     as a pumpgun is broken; the look of a child's underwaist with its
     bone buttons loose on little cotton straps; the stiffening of
     snow in a wool glove; the odor of kitchen sopa, of baby soap, of
     scorched bellybands; the flexion of a hand; the twist of a knee;
     the modulations in a thigh as someone gets out of a chair: the
     bending of a speeding car round a graded curve: the swollen,
     blemished feeling of the mouth and the tenacity and thickness of
     odor of an unfamiliar powder, walking sleepless in high industrial
     daybreak and needing coffee, the taste of cheap gin mixed with
     cheap ginger ale without much ice: the taste of turnip greens; of
     a rotted seed drawn from between the teeth; or rye whiskey in the
     green celluloid glass of a hotel bathroom: the breath that comes
     out of a motion-picture theater: the memory of the piccolo notes
     which ride and transfix Beethoven's pastoral storm: the odor of a
     freshly printed newspaper: the stench of ferns trapped in the hot
     sunlight of a bay window; the taste of a mountain summer night:
     the swaying and shuffling beneath the body of a benighted train;
     the mulled and branny earth beneath the feet in fall; a memory of
     plainsong or of the first half hour after receiving a childhood
     absolution; the sudden re-realization of a light-year in literal,
     physical terms, or of the shimmering dance and diffuseness of a
     mass of granite...: in any rare situation which breaks down or
     lowers our habitual impatience, superficial vitality, overeagerness
     to clinch conclusions, and laziness. We were at this time, and in
     all the time surrounding it, in such a situation; nor could we for
     an instant have escaped it, even if we had wished to. At times,
     exhausted by it, we did wish to and did try, but even when our
     minds were most exhausted and most deafened such breath as we got,
     and subsisted on, no matter what its change of constituence and
     odor...was the breath of the same continuous excitement whose
     nature seems to me not only finally but essentially beyond the
     power of art to convey." (James Agee & Walker Evans, Let Us Now
     Praise Famous Men, Ballantine Books, New York, 1966, pp. 203-206)

               Here, then, is our beginning:

                    in the creative transformation
                         of what at first appears to be ordinary
                     into the actual perception of the actual


                              of all our experience.

          Mark this boundary and make a beginning of your own....



     Whenever two or more pitches are sounded simultaneously "harmony"
     is created. This word may me a misnomer in that it does imply a
     subjective evaluation of how "pleasing" two or more pitches may
     sound, when in fact harmony is created whether or not the sound is
     pleasant. Another term used to describe harmony is "chord." The
     meaning is the same, and there may even be a hold-over from previous
     ages of the same kind of implication. In discussion of tonal music,
     we will refer to chords and harmony which have been accepted as being
     more or less pleasing, but keep in mind that just as individual pitches
     may have varying degrees of "agitation" in relation to other pitches,
     and thus may be more or less "pleasant," so chords may attain the same
     conditions depending upon context.

     The preeminent chord in tonal music consists of three pitches, and thus
     is known as a triad. Any three-note chord is a triad, but the tonal
     triad is made of intervals of a third and is thus known as a tertian
     triad. We have previously encountered this sound as the 4th, 5th, and
     6th frequencies of the harmonic series:

     Stacking three notes with intervals other than thirds will also create
     triads, but not tertian triads. Having successive 4ths, for instance,
     will yield "quartal" triads, while successive 5ths make "quintal"

     These are legitimate sounds which may form the basis for entire
     compositions. Such sounds were not fully explored until the 20th
     century, however. Since it is the tertian triad which underlies the
     harmonic organization of tonal music, and since tonality has been
     the predominant organizing principle in Western music for the past
     300-400 years, when the word triad is referred to without further
     qualification, we can assume that one is speaking of the tertian triad.


     There are, as we know, two primary forms of the interval of a third,
     major and minor. Varying combinations of these two intervals produce
     4 different kind of triads. These are commonly derived by stacking
     up thirds above each of the notes in either a major or minor scale:


     Examination of the intervallic patterns of the triads in the major key
     above reveals three different chords.

	1. Major 3rd, Minor 3rd (MAJOR TRIAD, found on 1,4,5)
	2. Minor 3rd, Major 3rd (MINOR TRIAD, found on 2,3,6)
	3. Minor 3rd, Minor 3rd (DIMINISHED TRIAD, found on 7)

     The conventional labelling of these triads, within the given key, is
     a Roman numeral, with upper-case representing major, lower-case stand-
     ing for minor, and lower-case with a    for dimininished. Let's look
     more closely at each one of these:


     The same configurations occur in minor keys, but shifting to different
     places within the scale. Furthermore, since the 7th scale degree in
     minor is usually raised a half step (thus Harmonic Minor), the chord
     on the 5th (the Dominant) is nearly always major rather than minor,
     the chord on the 7th is usually diminished rather than major, and the
     chord on the 3rd is sometimes augmented. The latter situation is a
     new configuration, M3+M3 (making an A5) = Augmented Triad. Since this
     is a new triad, and because the raised 7th is most common, we'll focus
     our attention on the application of harmonic minor to triad structure:


     Triads built upon the scale tones in C Major and A Harmonic minor will be
     played at random when you hit "H". First identify the quality of the triad,
     Then spell the triad from the given root (e.g. CEG, G#BD, etc).


     Just as one pitch may have a greater or lesser tendency to move toward
     another when set in a melodic shape, depending upon the pitch set con-
     text, one triad may have a greater or lesser tendency to move toward
     another in a series of chords. Both the tonic pitch and the triad
     built upon that pitch form the center of gravity in the tonal system.
     The model chordal relationship in this system is that of tonic to
     dominant (the triad built upon the 5th scale degree). Let's examine
     this relationship more closely:

     From tonic, we could go to any triad built upon any other scale degree.
     But upon reaching the dominant triad, there is a strong tendency to
     resolve to the tonic. This is so because the dominant triad contains
     the leading tone, (which most readily resolves to the tonic note), the
     5th (which also tends to resolve to the tonic note, either by movement
     of a 5th downward or a 4th upward), and the 2nd, which may either move
     to the tonic note or the 3rd of the tonic triad.

     As tonal harmony evolved, this movement of a triad's root (generating
     tone) by a 5th downward or 4th upward, together with the other two notes
     in the triad moving to their nearest neighbors, became the preferred
     chord "progression" sound. If this principle is extended in successive
     similar instances, we progress around the circle of 5ths, with the
     specific case of the diminished 5th root movement from the triad built
     upon the 7th scale degree (the leading tone triad) to that on the 4th
     (the subdominant triad) keeping the series within the original key.

	Model: V - I
	  same pattern: ii  - V
			vi  - ii
			iii - vi
			vii - iii
			IV  - vii

     In this series, I moves to IV and then follows the pattern all the
     way through successive root movements by an interval of a 5th until
     reaching I again.  The example is on the next page.

     While this pattern of chord relationships is common, there are two
     chords which usually function differently. The vii chord more often
     moves to I than to iii, and the IV chord usually goes to V rather
     than to vii.  With these changes, we can devise a hierarchy of
     chords, conceiving of I as the center of gravity, with successive
     "levels" of chords above I having a "most likely" path back down:

	      Level 5:   iii
	      Level 4:   vi
	      Level 3:   ii, IV
	      Level 2:   V, vii
	      Level 1:   I (center of gravity)

     Examination of the vii chord reveals two strong tendency tones, the
     leading tone and the subdominant. In fact, the vii chord is very
     similar to the V chord. If we superimpose a vii and a V the result
     is a 4-note chord consisting of a triad plus an interval of a 7th.
     This is called a 7th chord. Given V as the root, this chord would
     be labelled a dominant 7th. Adding the 7th strengthens the tendency
     to move to I. In some ways, we could consider the vii chord to be
     a V7 without the root!

    The IV chord bears the same relationship to ii as vii does to V.
    A very common cadential "formula" is ii7-V-I. In this instance,
    a 7th has been added to the supertonic chord, strengthening its
    tendency to progress to V. The subdominant chord could be viewed
    as a ii7 chord without the root. IV is thus a substitute for ii,
    and in fact is used more often then ii in much folk and pop music.

    Basic Principles of Harmonization

    Within the system of traditional tonality there is an obvious link
    between melody and harmony. Melody tones in strong rhythmic positions
    are likely to outline chords.

    As a first principle of harmonization, we may thus look to the first
    beat of each measure to provide a clue as to the most likely chord
    for that measure. Such folk tunes as "Oh, Susannah" provide perfect
    illustrations. (Next page)

    Note the preponderance of notes that are members of the tonic triad.
    The tune is firmly grounded in tonic. Observe also the movement to V
    as a counterbalance to I, and the brief contrast on the subdominant.
    The essential harmonic "message" here is a movement from I to V to I.

    Most simple tunes can be harmonized with one chord per measure. The
    one instance where this is not possible in "Oh, Susannah" is clear.
    The sense of conclusiveness on tonic requires the momentary tension
    created by dominant. The rate of change of one harmony to another
    is called harmonic rhythm. Harmonic changes are most likely to occur
    on the first beat of a measure, since this reinforces emphasis. In a
    four-beat measure, harmonic change is also likely on beat 3. Changing
    harmony on a weak beat may cause rhythmic confusion.

    The Vertical Aspect

    There are three chief factors in the vertical deployment of notes
    that affect the resultant sound of a chord:

       1. Spacing
       2. Doubling
       3. Inversion

            Spacing refers to the intervallic distance between
            adjacent tones. Common practice follows the example
            of the harmonic series: notes are farther apart when
            low, closer together when high. The most obvious reason
            for this is that if notes are close together in the
            lower registers, the resultant sound will be "muddy."

    The rule-of-thumb in the spacing of notes (referred to as "voices,"
    though not having to be vocal!) is never to have more than an octave
    between the upper voices. Since most of the "rules" of harmony were
    derived from analysis of Bach's 4-part chorale settings, we often
    say that an interval greater than an octave is allowable between the
    bass and tenor voices, but that the upper three (tenor, alto,soprano)
    should not be greater than an octave. This principle is applicable to
    instrumental as well as vocal music, and to music having more than 4
    simultaneous sounds.

    Deploying the notes of a triad for four or more voices clearly necessi-
    tates doubling one or more of those notes.  Which of the notes is thus
    doubled will affect the "weight" of the sound. In general, doubling
    the root of the chord will make it sound more centered, while doubling
    the third will reinforce its "majorish-ness" versus "minorish-ness".
    Doubling the fifth will tend to tug the ear in the direction of that
    chord's dominant, making it sound unstable.

    Our ears are most responsive to the notes in the outer voices of a chord.
    In the previous example, the fact that the root note is in the lowest
    voice contributes to its stability, while the 5th in the highest voice
    create a slight instability. The most stable distribution of notes in
    a chord would double the root in the outer voices.

    While the highest note in a chord is important in shaping the relative
    stability of the chordal sound, since it is usually being tracked as the
    melodic tone, it affects the chord less than the lowest note. A chord
    which has its root in the lowest voice is in ROOT POSITION. If any
    other chord tone is in the lowest voice, the chord is in one of several
    possible INVERSIONS. Triads have 3 positions, 7th chords have 4:

    The Horizontal Aspect

    Simultaneously-sounding notes create chords. Successive adjacent tones
    create melodies. The emphasis here is on the word "adjacent."  The ear
    follows the movement of one pitch to another if those pitches are more
    or less conjunct (technically no more than an interval of a 2nd). In
    relating one chord to another, then, the most common sense approach is
    to move each chord tone to its nearest neighbor in the following chord.
    This is possible with the upper notes of chord, less so with the bass
    note if it is sounding the root of chords.

    If the previous example sounds vaguely familiar, it's because it is
    the chord structure of the first four measures of Bach's Prelude #1
    in C Major. We'll examine the whole piece in more detail later. For
    now, notice that it consists of 5 voices and that Bach was able, via
    chord inversion, to keep all 5 voices moving to their successors without
    any disjunct motion (intervals greater than a 2nd). Notice also which
    tones are doubled.

    Figured Bass

    Jazz musicians are used to reading off "lead sheets." These contain the
    melody together with symbols for the appropriate harmonization. Figured
    bass functioned in the same way a couple centuries ago. It is a system
    that identifies chords, given a bass line and sometimes a melody line.
    The system is not in current use for performance, but is still used as
    an analytical tool.

    The premise of the figured bass system is to identify what notes should
    be sounding to produce a chord, and which inversion the chord is in. A
    Roman numeral identifes the root of the chord in relation to the tonal
    center of the music (the key of the piece). Arabic numbers are then used
    to identify the chords inversion. These numbers label the intervals above
    the lowest sounding voice, reduced to within an octave - although they
    reveal nothing about the possible doubling or spacing of the chord.

       The Arabic number identifiers are as follows:

       Triad:                             7th Chord:

       Root Position --------- none       Root Position --------
       1st Inversion ---------            1st Inversion --------
       (3rd in lowest voice)
       2nd Inversion ---------            2nd Inversion --------
       (5th in lowest voice)
                                          3rd Inversion --------
                                          (7th in lowest voice)

    The following page presents the harmonic structure of Bach's first Pre-
    lude from the first book of the Well Tempered Clavier. An analysis of
    the first 13 measures is given; the remainder is left unanalysed, for you
    to attempt and for class discussion. Bach's actual music arpeggiates the
    chord tones in a constant 16th-note pattern with each arpeggiation repeated
    twice in every measure, up to the last 2 measures. You can play the piece
    by repeatedly tapping the "P" key to hear each note in turn. You can go
    to any measure by hitting "M" and entering the measure number. This piece
    offers a wealth of information about tonal harmonic relationships - its
    sense of forward momentum is entirely dependent upon these relationships -
    but a detailed discussion is beyond the scope of this text.

    Non-Chord Tones

    One final issue regarding harmony needs to be touched upon briefly.
    If all melody tones were members of the underlying harmony, melodic
    structures would be limited to intervals larger than a 2nd. This would
    be akin to restricting melodies to the format of bugle calls, which
    essentially only sound the 3rd through 6th harmonics above a given
    fundamental (thus outlining a tertian triad). For variety and to add
    tension, judicious inclusion of tones which are not members of the
    underlying chord is welcome.

    We've already seen instances of the two most common "non-chord" tones
    in "Oh, Susannah":

    The measures in question are harmonized by the tonic chord (C major in
    this case). The D's and A are not members of this chord. The D's are
    passing tones, and the A is a neighbor tone.

    Non-chord tones are defined by how they are approached and left:

    1. Passing Tone
       Approached by step, left by step in same direction
       (if in strong rhythmic position, known as Accented Passing Tone)
    2. Neighbor Tone
       Approached by step, left by step in opposite direction
       (if above main note, known as Upper Neighbor)
       (if below main note, known as Lower Neighbor)
    3. Suspension
       Approached by repetition or tie, left by step
       (consists of 3 parts: Preparation, Suspension, Resolution)
       (usually resolved downwards - upward resolution, known as Retardation)
    4. Appogiatura
       Approached by leap, left by step
       (usually left in opposite direction from approach)
       (usually on strong beat, sometimes sounded without preparation)
    5. Escape Tone
       Approached by step, left by leap
       (usually left in opposite direction from approach)
    6. Free Tone
       None of the above
       (least common - lease effective)

    Discussion of the suspension, appogiatura, escape tone, and free tone
    will be left for the classroom. Our main compositional concern for now
    is with the capacity to inject variety through the use of passing and
    neighboring tones. Remember that in your own efforts to compose melodies,
    occasional use of these tones will add "color" and contribute of the
    balance among factors of unity and variety.



	I first heard the name of Meredith Monk through some friends
	of mine who live in New York City - real died-in-the-wool
	New Yorkers who root out all the "in" things to do and see and
	hear. I think they'd seen some Monk presentations at La Mama.
	the were impressed.

	    Not long afterward, some other friends mentioned her
	    name. Then I discovered the Soho Music Gallery on the
	    corner of Wooster and Grand, about the only record
	    shop in the City where you can pick up, on the spot,
	    most of the more esoteric and limited-distribution labels
	    in all categories, including experimental, jazz, new wave,
	    and "non-Western." (This place has since closed. A new
	    and similar establishment is the New Music Distribution
	    Service at 100 Broadway). They had a couple recordings
	    of Monk's music. I bought them. And became a "follower."

      " 'Meredith Monk's works are in no way autobiographical,' Robb Baker
      has written. 'Yet they seem subjective in a highly unusual way in
      that they touch off memories from the viewer's own past or subcon-
      scious mind. Monk's works are all journeys, in a sense, back to a
      kind of collective childhood of shared images, shared tradtions.'
      As it happens, Baker was writing in Dancemagazine about about Monk's
      dance-theater pieces, but he could as easily have been describing
      her music.  Mostly it is music for the human voice, and for Monk
      the voice has always been an instrument of transformation and a
      means of getting in touch.

          "To many people, Monk is primarily one of the most
	   influential choreographers of the day, or a dancer, or
	   a deviser of theatrical presentations, [or in 1988, a
	   creator of spectacles, or a film-maker] and it is true
	   that for a time her music was more an element in these
	   presentations than a thing in itself. But Monk was singing
	   before she learned to talk, and she was reading music
	   before she could read words. It was only towards the end of
	   her college studies, which included studying the voice,
	   that she decided to concentrate on dance. That was in 1964.
	   by 1970 she was giving solo concerts devoted to her vocal
	   and keyboard music and beginning to gain serious recog-
	   nition as a performing composer. This is a period in
	   which the arts are much broader and more catholic than
	   the traditional categories and modes of criticism, and,
	   as often happens, critics of one art form, in this case
	   dance, had been slow to recognize the significance of
	   an artist's break-through in what they perceived as
	   another art form. For Monk, it should be emphasized these
	   art forms are not entirely separable. Her theater and
	   dance are musical, her music is often theatrical and her
	   voice dances." (Robert Palmer, notes for "Songs From the
	   Hill/Tablet," Wergo Sm1022, 1979)

    Some characteristics of the music:

	 Mostly vocal, but the voice used in an extraordinary
	    variety of ways, eliciting a wide range of emotions,
	    from giddy silliness to electrifying mysteriousness

	 Accompaniments often on keyboard or simple instruments with
	    drone melodic figures

	 Extended sequences of sections, carrying on through a journey
	    of emotions

	 Crests of child-like sounds, evoking laughter and the sense
	    of freedom in the play of a child

	 Particular vocal techniques: glottal stops, rhythmic acuity,
	    textural variation, etc.

	 Extensive looping of materials, with build-up in layers

       "If she wanted to," New York Time's John Rockwell has written,
       "Miss Monk could have a respectable career in conventional
       classical music. But she has already perfected her own
       technique ot emit amazing varieties of sounds rarely heard
       from a Western throat, full of wordless cries and moans,
       a lexicon of vocal coloration, glottal attacks, and micro-
       tonal waverings that lie at the base of all musical cultures." (ibid.)

	     "I've been trying to extend the voice in as many
	     ways as possible," she says, "utilizing as many
	     resonating chambers, different kinds of syllables,
	     positions of the mouth, the inside of the mouth,
	     the tongue, the lips and breathing techniques...
	     I've been trying to find a language for the voice
	     that's instrinsic to the voice." (ibid.)



	      Gestures from the heart through the voice



			     In dreams we hear a music
			     the precise shape is unclear
			     at times having
			     startling clarity

	 what is the relationship between our waking condition and
	       the dream state?

			  Have you ever heard music in your dreams?

						try shaping the sounds
						in your dreams

		       the Temiar Indians of Malaysia seek a guide
		       in their dreams    the guide teaches them a
		       SONG    the guide teaches them a SONG    the
		       song is taught is taught is taught to the
		       rest of the tribetribetribetribetribetribe
		       thetribeworks through the SONG in an all night

	       Theodore Roethke's line:

		   What can be known?   The Unknown.

	shifting the mind
	so you see behind

	and underneath
	and all around

			   the angle is changed


				      and alter the perspective

			     to be fully conscious and yet deeply
			     in touch with the unconcsious

     a trial, a test


	                           dream this music



     Harry Partch is  now acknowledged to be one of  the great American 
     individualist experimenters, like Charles Ives, though the road to 
     this recognition, as with so many courageous explorers, was marked 
     by neglect and misunderstanding.

     Born of parents who had been  missionaries in China (although they 
     later "lost" their religious faiths), Partch grew up in the Ameri-
     can Southwest, surrounded  by the influences of  Oriental visitors 
     and the songs  of Native Americans. He had  little formal training 
     in music,  but was a voracious  reader, and knowing from  an early 
     age that he wanted  to be a composer, taught himself  most of what 
     was  necessary.  The  knowledge he  thus  acquired  regarding  the 
     "rules" of Western music did not accord with his childhood experi-
     ences with more exotic musics, however.  He therefore became con-
     vinced  that there  were  other directions  to  pursue than  those 
     within the limitations of Western music's equal temperament.

     After composing in  the traditional idioms for a  number of years, 
     Partch decided to begin again. After burning his earlier composi-
     tions in a pot-bellied stove in New Orleans, an act which he char-
     acterized as an  "auto-de-fe," he set about to learn  all he could 
     about acoustics and tuning systems in  order to compose music more 
     satisfying to his own inclinations.

     Combining  childhood  training  in woodworking  with  his  musical 
     interests, Partch began designing and building his own instruments,
     utilizing the  "just" intonation  system, which  he felt  to offer 
     greater potential than equal temperament,  and which he determined 
     was the system employed by the ancient Greeks.  In the just tuning 
     system chords,  within a  limited range  of keys,  can be  sounded 
     which are perfectly in tune (no beat tones), whereas the twelve-
     tone equally tempered system is a  compromise to enable playing in 
     a variety of keys with chords which have beat tones. Partch's tun-
     ing system was based upon perfectly tuned 5ths and led to the cap-
     ability of having up to 43 increments within an octave.

     Partch  came  to  think  of himself,  perhaps  facetiously,  as  a 
     reincarnated Greek, and along with  extensive exploration of Greek 
     musical theory in the construction of his instruments, Partch com-
     posed theatrical  spectacles that  combined music  and drama  in a 
     manner thought to be similar to Greek drama.

     His earliest instruments were adaptations of existent instruments. 
     The Chromelodeon, for example, was a gutted pump organ with recon-
     ditioned reeds tuned to the just system. A viola was also adapted, 
     with special  fingering guides,  to play  in that  tuning. As  the 
     musical theory and  philosophy developed, so did  the instruments. 
     With his  skill as  a woodworker,  Partch created  instruments not 
     only  unique  in  sound,  but  also  sculpturally  beautiful:  the 
     Kitheras, modelled after  Greek design, the Gourd  Tree, the Eucal 
     Blossom,  the  Spoils of  War,  the  Maazda Marimba,  the  Diamond 
     Marimba, and  many others, each  one unique and  incorporated into 
     "total" music works in which the performers on the instruments be-
     came actors and dancers, and  the instruments themselves were used 
     as part of the stage setting.

     Partch's  music  was not  only  influenced  by ancient  Greek  and 
     Oriental sources, but  was also affected by his travels  as a hobo 
     throughout the U.S. during the Great Depression. That way of life, 
     the friendships, travails, sayings, and  so on, formed a permanent 
     repertoire of material for his  compositions. Partch was, in fact, 
     an authentic  hobo all  his life, never  holding a  "permanent" or 
     "secure" job.  When a  few people began  recognizing the  value of 
     what he was doing, he was invited to teach as a visiting composer, 
     at the University  of Illinois, and the  University of California, 
     San Diego,  but these, too,  were temporary positions,  and Partch 
     spent much of his  life living from hand to mouth,  in a houseboat 
     in Sausilito, for instance, and ending up his life mostly in soli-
     tude north of San Diego.

     Underlying Partch's  individualist approach  to composition  was a 
     solid grasp of  theory, acoustics, and philosopohy.  He wanted his 
     music  to be  "corporeal," not  abstract.  It was  to produce  gut 
     response. The music does have striking beauty, in sound as well as 
     structure. His largest  and last full-scale work,  The Delusion of 
     the Fury, combines  bathos and pathos on a plane  that carries the 
     listener through a sense of the human to the realm of the holy and 

     Partch also wrote a book about his investigations of acoustics and 
     the building of his instruments, Genesis  of a Music. The Author's 
     Preface to this book contains  a straight-forward statement of the 
     perspective from which Partch saw things. This may provide as good 
     a place for ending this essay as any:

          "Perhaps the most hallowed of traditions among artists of
          creative vigor is this: traditions in the creative arts are
          per se suspect. For they exist on the patrimony of standard-
          ization, which means degeneration. They dominate because they
          are to the interest of some group that has the power to per-
          petuate them, and they cease to dominate when some equally
          powerful group undertankes to bend them to a new pattern.
          It is not difficult for the alert student to acquire the
          traditional techniques. Under the pressures of study these
          are unconsciously and all too easily absorbed. The extent
          to which an individual can resist being blindly led by tra-
          dition is a good measure of his vitality.

          "Traditions remain undisturbed when we say: let us improve
          ourselves; let us become better pianists, teachers, con-
          ductors, better composers. They remain undisturbed when we
          say: let us increase the knowledge and appreciation of
          'good' music. Traditions remain undisturbed, uninvestigated,
          and therefore a culture of music based upon such palpably
          noble precepts is already senile.

          "The quality of vitality that makes any culture significant
          involves something else, the presence of which constantly
          undermines tradition; it is found in the perceptive fresh-
          ness of the Tang Dynasty poets, the bold curiosity of the
          Renaissance Florentines. In large measure it is compounded
          of investigation, investigation, investigation. In poetry
          and in many other forms of creative expression investiga-
          tion may take an entirely intellectual and metaphysical
          path, but in music, because of the very nature of the art,
          it must also take a physical path. A phalanx of good
          pianists, good teachers, good composers, and 'good' music
          no more creates a spirit of investigation and a vital age
          in music than good grades in school create a spirit of
          investigation and a body of thinking citizens. To promote
          a youthful vitality in music we must have students who
          will question every idea and related physical object that
          they encounter. They must question the corpus of knowledge,
          traditions, and usages that give us a piano, for example--
          the very fact of a piano; they must question the tones of
          its keys, question the music on its rack, and, above all,
          they must question, constantly and eternally, what might
          be called the philosophies behind device, the philosophies
          that are really responsible for these things.

          "Good grades in school are the result of a less commend-
          able ability, and no aspect of the musical scene could
          be more depressing than the prospect that those with the
          ability to get good grades in school, to copy others, to
          absorb and apply traditions with facility, shall hold the  
          fort of 'good' music.

          "Music, 'good' or not 'good,' has only two ingredients
	  that might be called God-given: the capacity of a body to
          vibrate and produce sound and the mechanism of the human
          ear that registers it. These two ingredients can be
          studied and analyzed, but they cannot be changed; they
          are the comparative constants. All else in the art of
          of music, which may also be studied and analyzed, was
          created by man or is implicit in human acts and is there-
          fore subject to the fiercest scrutiny--and ultimately to
          approval, indifference, or contempt. In other words, all
          else is subject to change." (pp. xv-xvi, 1949,1974)


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  Imagine, if you will, a real silence.  A silence behind the sound of any 
  voice. A  silence so deep,  so profound,  that your mind  becomes black, 
  empty,  void. The  silence of  dreamless  sleep. The  silence of  death. 
  Difficult to imagine because it is not a part of our ordinary experience,
  filled as  this is  with sounds of  all kinds, and  more sounds  all the 
  time. But that absolute silence is somewhere there and it forms the back-
  ground upon which all sound floats like rippling water upon a lake, waves
  upon the ocean...

  This silence we are asked to imagine is, of course, metaphorical. In the 
  poet Theodore Roethke's line, it is "the imperishable quiet at the heart 
  of form." It is the silence of what  some people call the eternal; it is 
  a spiritual silence, which, through its  very stillness, sings of things 
  transcending  material  reality,  sings through  material  reality,  the 
  singing of a rock,  the sea, the light of the sun.  But these are poetic 
  images which in the mundane world are becoming innundated with very real 
  sounds, undesired sounds, sounds which make it harder and harder to find 
  places of quietude  wherein that other reality, the  poetic reality, the 
  spiritual reality,  can have  meaning. The  poetic reality  needs actual 
  quiet for sustenance, and such quiet is more and more difficult to find.

  In an editorial in "The Saturday Review," Norman Cousins wrote: "Silence
  is not nothingness or the absence of  sound. It is a prime condition for 
  human  serenity and  the natural  environment of  contemplation. A  life 
  without  regular  periods  of  silence   is  a  life  without  essential 
  nourishment  for  both  the spirit  and  the  functioning  intelligence. 
  Silence offers the vital element of privacy, without which an individual 
  becomes something  less then himself... We  live at a time  when thought 
  alone represents the difference between sanity and total madness. One of 
  the prime requirements of such thought  is privacy and a little silence, 
  at least now and then."

  That was in 1962. Five years later "Life" magazine, addressing itself to 
  a much broader  readership, showed the same concern  for the destruction 
  of solitude by noise. "The  escalating noise problem," it editorialized, 
  "may  require  the widespread  re-discovery  of  the personal  value  of 
  silence.  Most religions  throughout human  history  have insisted  that 
  people need regular intervals of silence for spiritual health."

  And now we know that it is not just spiritual health which is endangered
  by noise, but,  as we shall learn, physical health  too is detrimentally 
  affected by sounds in our environment which are undesired--noise.

  Noise is defined by the American National Standards Institute as:

     1. any undesired sound
     2. an erratic, intermittent, or statistically random oscillation

  It is somehow outrageous, to use that word in its proper sense of "to be 
  outraged, filled with  rage," that we should  even have to plead  a case 
  for the ill effects of noise, that human beings don't have enough sensi-
  tivity or  thoughtfulness to  accept as  common assumption  that harmful 
  sounds intruding upon the private sound-spaces of people not electing to 
  hear those sounds,  that those sounds should not be  eliminated from our 
  environment. But  we know how  long it has taken  us to become  aware of 
  much less  subtle damage to  ourselves and  our planet: the  spraying of 
  crops with  DDT; the  dumping of  waste chemicals  into our  streams and 
  lakes; smoking  cigarettes; covering  up miles and  miles of  plant life 
  with asphalt; destroying delicate ecosystems like tropical rain forests; 
  contributing to the eradication  of 3 to 5 species a day;  and so on and 
  so on. We know of too many instances when human beings have not acted in 
  the best interests of survival, individual or collective. 

  That human beings can  have allowed pollution of any kind  to render our 
  environment ugly and unihabitable is part  of a larger malaise, the same 
  sickness  that keeps  us from  solving  the human  problems of  housing, 
  education, civil  rights, unemployment,  and health  care, while  at the 
  same time  solving the  difficult and expensive  problems of  faster air 
  transportation, a national highway system, sophisticated weaponry, and a 
  manned landing  on the moon. Human  beings, the so-called  "thinking" or 
  "reasoning"  animals (homo  sapiens),  display  an amazing  quantity  of 
  thoughtlessness and un-reason. Small wonder then that the ill-effects of 
  noise have barely  made a dent in  our consciousnesses, that it  was not 
  until the  end of  the 60's that  Congress even  began to  legislate any 
  setting of  ceilings on noise, legislation  which is not  not continuing 
  because of our current adminstration's notions about "deregulation". 

  In 1968 Congress  authorized the FAA to certify aircraft  for noise, and 
  in May of 1969  a new regulation required that industry  doing more than 
  $10,000  worth of  business  with the  Federal  government reduce  noise 
  levels so as not to deafen more than 10% of its workers. We all know how 
  effective legislation has been in reducing  airplane noise! And isn't it 
  marvelous that  only 10% of  government employees working  in high-noise 
  jobs should  be allowed to be  deafened! Some consolation for  those who 
  fall into that 10%. 

  And yet,  at least that legislation  gave some amount of  protection. No 
  longer. We  are somehow  to assume that  industry, of  its own  sense of 
  propriety, will regulate itself, will make the corrections in its safety 
  standards, will  install the  "costly" pollution  control devices,  will 
  manufacture that more  costly sound-muffler. If we believe  this, we are 
  truly fools and perhaps deserve the consequences of our stupidity.

  For obvious reasons, I  have a vested interest in the  conditions of our 
  hearing. My biases lead me in the direction of wanting the human species 
  to develop  ever more refined  hearing abilities,  to be able  to detect 
  nuances in  sounds, to  be able to  live in  equitable harmony  with the 
  myriad non-human sounds which surround us,  many of which are subtle and 
  require a background of  relative silence to hear. And, of  course, I am 
  interested  in those  conditions which  foster imagination,  creativity, 
  mindful responsiveness, meditative  alertness, balance of the  self with 
  the world--conditions difficult  to achieve in the midst of  the host of 
  interruptive  noises which  beseige  us:  jackhammers, airplanes,  cars, 
  stereos shaking the  walls, air-conditioners filling the  air-waves with 
  white noise,  blenders tearing vegetables  to shreds, lawn  mowers, leaf 
  blowers, etc., etc., etc.

  Murray Schafer stated the issue well in the introduction to Ear Cleaning:
  "The ear, unlike some other sense organs, is exposed and vulnerable. The 
  eye can  be closed  at will;  the ear  is always  open. The  eye can  be 
  focused and pointed  at will; the ear  picks up all sound  right back to 
  the acoustic horizon in all directions.

  "Its only protection  is an elaborate psychological  system of filtering 
  out undesirable sounds in order to concentrate on what is desirable. The 
  eye points  outward; the ear draws  inward. It soaks up  information. It 
  would seem reasonable  to suppose that as sound sources  in the acoustic 
  environment multiply--and they are  certainly multiplying today--the ear 
  will become blunted to them and will fail to exercise its individulist-
  ic right  to demand  that insouciant  and distracting  sounds should  be 
  stopped in  order that it may  concentrate totally on those  which truly 
  matter." (R. Murray Schafer, Creative Music Education, p. 49, 1976)

  Schafer's  speculation  about  hearing loss  has  been  corroborated  by 
  research. "There  are many  signs that  the hearing  ability of  men and 
  women of industrialized cities is declining. One of them is the shift in 
  the base line  for so-called loudness curves. In 1932  this baseline was 
  zero decibels. This marked the threshold of audibility for a healthy set 
  of ears. In 1956, less than a generation later, this reference point had 
  to be changed to plus-4 decibels. This shift is interpreted by acousti-
  cians to  mean that  the hearing  acuity of  the general  population has 
  diminished." (Robert Alex Baron, The Tyranny of Noise, p. 83, 1970)

  Noise also has adverse effects other than  to the ears. Here is a survey 
  of some of the damaging effects of noise on the human person, taken from 
  Baron's text:

     Sounds evoke much more than the sensation of hearing. The sound 
     signal is transmitted, via the brain, to almost every nerve cen-
     ter and organ of the body. Therefore, sound influences not only
     the hearing center of the brain, but the entire physical, physio-
     logical, emotional, and psychological makeup of the human being.
     The received sound wave evokes a combination of responses--audi-
     tory, intuitive, emotional, biological, asociative. Sound's
     impact is a profound one. (p.45)

     The most common and serious forms of organic heart disease are
     those affecting the coronary arteries which supply blood to the
     heart. When the passageway inside one of these vessels becomes
     sufficiently narrowed, or is blocked by a clot, a heart-attack
     may occur. The cause of death is the reduction of the blood flow,
     and consequently the delivery of oxygen to the tissues. Without
     the necessary oxygen, the tissues die.

     What causes the thickening of the arterial walls is the deposit
     of cholesterol and other fatty substances that float in the
     blood. Though diet is popularly associated with increases in
     cholesterol levels, stress has been demonstrated to increase
     cholesterol and other fat levels and contribute to the thick-
     ening of the arterial walls. Stress increases the secretion
     of adrenalin, and this in turn increases the amount of free
     fatty acids in the blood stream, an increase associated with
     an elevation of cholesterol. It has been demonstrated at the
     University of South Dakota that noise levels common to our
     environment raise cholesterol levels in rats and rabits (and
     also cause heart enlargement in rats). Dr. Samuel Rosen of the
     Citizens for a Quiet City in New York has stated that loud
     noises cause adrenal hormones to be released into the blood
     stream to intensify tension and arousal. (pp. 54-55)

     Rats subjected to excessive noise have developed hypertension,
     with the older rats showing the greatest sensitivity to noise
     stress... In one test, a popping paper bag raised the brain
     blood pressure more quickly than a hypodermic injection. (p.56)

     Noise influences the heart's beat. Experimental work in the 
     Soviet Union has shown a weakening of the contractions of the
     heart muscle from noise exposure. (p.56)

          Without awakening the sleeper, noise stimuli will
          constrict his blood vessels, change his heart rate
          and muscular tone. (p.59)

          Even noise of a low intensity produces arousal reactions
          and what is significant, prevents the sleeper from reach-
          ing the deep sleep stage. (p.59)

     Years ago, investigators were looking for a standardized stressing
     agent, something that would consistently cause abnormalities in
     animals [????]. By accident they discovered that noise could pro-
     duce the abnormalities they wanted: lesions in the urinary and
     cardiovascular systems, changes in the uteri and overies of female
     animals, alterations in the testicular structure of male animals.
     They also discovered that the acoustic stimulus could cause 
     changes in the body's chemistry: an increased production of
     ovarian hormones, and other complex hormonal changes that influence
     fertility, growth, and other essential bodily functions. (p.62)

           Epileptic seizures are sometimes triggered by noise.

       A department of Agriculture review of animal studies reported
       experiments in which rats exposed to noise showed changes in 
       the lining of the stomach, changes that could cause the appear-
       ance of gastric ulcers. (p.65)

          -A sudden rise in blood pressure may cause a headache
          -Noises causes a sudden rise in blood pressure
          -Headache pain may be caused by contraction of the head
            and neck muscles in response to stress.
          -Noise causes stress.
          -Many headaches occur when the blood vessels around the brain
            swell and impinge on a sensitive nerve, or when the blood
            supply to the brain is choked off by tense neck muscles.
            The muscle tension constricts the arteries, and the sub-
            sequent dilating phase is the painful phase.
          -Noise tenses muscles.
          -Migraine headaches are most often triggered by emotional
            factors in persons whose blood vessels are predisposed
            to painful changes in diameter.
          -Noise changes the diameter of the blood vessels. (pp.67-68)

       ...there is good reason to suspect that in addition to chemical
       and physical reactions, noise plays havoc with our minds and
       our emotions. (p.68)

  One does not get used to noise. Somewhere in the human body, that
  sound is being absorbed--at an as yet unknown price. (p.71)

     The most dangerous noise, stated Dr. Gerd Jansen, is noise we
     are accustomed to, that we do not 'hear,' such as traffic noises.
     These are the noises that cause physiological responses because
     of their intensities or frequency ranges. They do not lend them-
     selves to adaptation. (pp.71-72)

               To live with noise is no unlike living
               with electric shocks. (p.74)

          Sounds above and below the audible range also influence
          the living organism. (p.75)

  R. Murray Schafer, in The New Soundscape, notes some of the bizzare
  experiments being conducted with ultra- and sub-sonic sounds:

          The building is on a military installation somewhere in
          the United States...inside are nightmares.

          In one of the large laboratory rooms, two physicists and
          a biologist stand above a heavy metal table. They wear
          thick ear pads. On the table is a dial-covered device
          about the size and shape of a television set, with a trum-
          pet-like horn protruding from its face. The device is a
          kind of siren, designed to produce high-frequency sound
          of an outrageous intensity. The scientists are studying
          the effects of this sound on materials, animals and men.
          They are wondering if sound can be used as a weapon...

          One of the physicists begins the demonstration by picking
          up a wad of steel wool with a tonglike instrument on a long
          pole. He holds the steel wool in the invisible beam of sound
          that issues from the horn. The steel wool explodes in a
          whirling cascade of white-hot sparks...

          The biologist has brought a white rat into the room in a
          small cage. The rat is running around the cage, looking
          unhappy about all the noise. But his worries don't last
          long. The biologist lifts the cage into the sound field.
          The rat stiffens, rises up to the full stretch of his legs,
          arches his back, opens his mouth wide and falls over. He is
          dead. An autopsy will reveal that he had died of instant
          overheating and a massive case of the bends. There are
          bubbles in his veins and internal organs.

          Professor Rudnick and his colleagues built the most power-
          ful siren ever conceived to that date. It made what was, as
          far as anybody knew, the loudest continuous sound ever
          heard on earth up to that time: 175 db, some 10,000 times
          as strong as the ear-splitting din of a large pneumatic 
          riveter. The frequency range of this enormous howl was
          from about 3,000 cycles per second (near the top range of
          a piano) to 34,000 cps, in the ultrasonic range.

          Strange things happened in this nightmarish sound field. If
          a man put his hand directly in the beam of sound, he got a
          painful burn between the fingers. When the siren was aimed
          upwards, 3/4-inch marbles would float lazily about it at
          certain points in the harmonic field, held up and in by the
          acoustic pressure. By varying the  harmonic structure of the
          field, Professor Rudnick could make pennies dance on a silk
          screen with chorus-like precision. He could even make one
          penny rise slowly to a vertical position while balancing
          another penny on its edge. A cotton wad held in the field
          would burst into flame in about six seconds. 'To satisfy a
          skeptical colleage,' reports Professor Rudnick, 'we lit his
          pipe by exposing the open end of the bowl to the field.' 
          (Schafer, Op. cit., pp. 111-112)

  Robert  Baron summarizes  the case  for  recognizing noise  as a  health 
  problem as follows:

     We are being exposed to increasing amounts of a new and potent mix
     of stresses--chemical, physical, and psychological.

     Noise, at even moderate levels, forces a systemic response from
     the total organism. It is not only the sense of hearing that is
     involved . What is also involved is what happens after the brain
     receives the sound signal. The brain places the body on a war
     footing. The repetition of these alerts is exhausting. It depletes
     energy levels; it can cause changes in the chemistry of the blood,
     in the volume of the blood circulation; it places a strain on the
     heart; it prevents restorative sleep and rest; it hinders con-
     valescence; it can be a form of torture. It can so weaken the
     body's defense mechanisms that diseases can more readily take
     hold. The organism does not adapt to noise; it becomes enured
     and pays a price. The price of this 'adaptation' is itself
     a hazard to health.

     The effect of noise on health may--like radiation poisoning--
     be something that will show no clinically significant symptoms
     at the time of exposure or shortly thereafter. Conclusions must
     not be drawn from short-term observations. Nobody, even today,
     knows too much about how air pollution affects people. Doctors
     back in the 1920's were concerned about smoking as a health
     hazard, but it was not until recent years that medical science
     was able to establish a link between smoking and health. The 
     same lag applies to noise. Some doctors and scientists have long
     suspected that noise is inflicting damage, but the nature of
     that damage is yet to be discovered. (pp.85-86)

  It is  a well  known fact that  noise can cause  deafness: not  just the 
  trauma of an explosion, mind you, but the cumulative effect of prolonged 
  exposure to noise below the levels produced  by the Chicago and New York 
  train and subway systems.

     In 1961, together with an international team of physicians and
     audiologists, Dr. Rosen conducted a study of the primitive (sic)
     Mabaans of the African Sudan. These people were found to have a
     keen sense of hearing and no evidence of coronary heart disease.
     They live in an environment almost free of noise--a typical level
     is 40 decibels--with few emotional stresses. There was evidence
     that their blood vessels enjoyed a normal elasticity even in old
     age. Industrialized humans lose this elasticity; hardening occurs.
     Among the Mabaans, who live in an atmosphere of virtual silence,
     the hearing of even men in their seventies and eighties is the
     equal of healthy children of ten. (Baron, pp. 77-78)

     But even a few minutes of exposure to intense noise can cause
     temporary deafness. The users of noisy appliances, powered
     lawn mowers, for example, experience significant hearing loss
     for a variable period of time after using such products. This
     loss is called noise-induced temporary threshold shift. It is
     this that the members of rock bands experience wherever amplified
     music is played. Subjectively it may be observed as a muffled sen-
     sation and/or a ringing in the ears. One empirical method for
     detecting noise-induced temporary threshold shif is to listen
     to a watch before and after exposure. The degree of loss is
     indicated by the amount of time needed for recovery.

     Researchers at the University of Minnesota measured hearing sensi-
     tivity of band members following a four-hour session of music
     having an over-all sound-pressure level ranging from 110 to 125
     dbs. In 25 minutes there was a loss of from 10 to 30 decibels of 
     hearing in the critical 2,000 hz speech frequency. Recovery in
     some cases took from 18 to 50 hours. The longer recovery time
     could be serious if the individual re-exposed himself before
     full recovery occurred. In fact, after suffering an undetermined
     amount of acoustic assaults that cause temporary deafness, the
     amplified music addicts or the factory worker, may end up with
     noise-induced permanent threshold shift. (pp.78-79)

  Nature has made it easier for us to lose the ability to hear the upper
  frequencies first. This means that the first penalty of excessive
  noise is the ability to enjoy pastoral sounds and the full range of
  musical tones... Most members of an industrialized society, by the
  time they reach senior citizenship, will not be able to hear 10,000
  cps, let alone the 15,000 cps and above that stereo systems are able
  to reproduce. The decline in hearing acuity for the male in an indus-
  trialized society begins somewhere between the ages of 25 and 30. Many
  millions of human beings are exposed to a lifetime of noise so intense
  that they find it no longer possible to hear human speech sounds.

  I join Roethke in seeking that "imperishable quiet at the heart of form," 
  and if not  that, at least a  quiet unobtruded upon by  undesired sound. 
  Sounds are capable of violating one's  intimate sound-space, and just as 
  we would not prop  someone's eyes open and force that  person to look at 
  pictures, or  just as  we would not  go up  to someone in  a dorm  or in 
  another room in our homes and start tapping them on the head for half an 
  hour or more, so we should have  the considerateness not to invade other 
  people's privacy with sounds other people  might not want to be hearing. 
  Curt Sachs,  a noted  musicologist, summarizes  this predicament  of our 
  present culture eloquently:

          Western music, the pride of our culture, is no longer what
          it should be and was: the highlight of our day, edifying and
          blissful. Our modern lives are ad nauseum saturated with music
          and wouldbe music. I do not speak of the dizzying quantity of
          concerts and recitals--we attend them or stay away as we please.
          But we cannot have our coffee break without the blaring inter-
          ference of a non-stop loudspeaker on the wall or a jukebox in
          the corner; the savings-bank pours music over our head while
          we pass a check across the counter; railroad cars and buses
          feed us catchy or sentimental tunes instead of improving the
          service; and the neighbors force us to share in their radio
          and television orgies.

          People of high civilization have become voracious hearers but
          do hardly listen. Using organized sound as a kind of opiate,
          we have forgotten to ask for sense and value in what we hear.

          In primitive music, on the contrary, sense and value are 
          paramount qualities. Not only is singing indispensable
          for special events, like wedding and childbirth, puberty
          rites and death, and whenever luck must be forced on adverse
          powers in hunting, harvest, and sickness. It also acts
          when regular work, as rowing a boat, or rocking a child, or
          grinding edible roots, demands and gives a rhythmical impulse.
          In this inter-weaving with motions and emotions, music is not
          a reflex, remote and pale, but an integral part of life. As
          (the musicologist) Furer-Haimenpale, puts it exquisitely
          in words, this music 'resounds in the darkness, gripping the
          singers and blending them one and all, til they finally merge
          in the unity of the dance. This rhythm is more than art, it is
          the voice of humanity's primeval instinct, the revelation of 
          the all-embracing rhythm of growth and decay, of love, life 
          and death.' (The Four Ages of Music)






  For ruther information about noise and its effects, and what you
  might be able to do about it, write:

  International Society Against Noise
  Sihlstrasse 17
  Zurich, Switzerland

Directory of PC-SIG Library Disk #3472

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