Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Watching the Sound

I had the most beautiful birthday weekend -- pumpkin and apple picking with friends, wandering the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, eating delicious food.  There was still so much in bloom, even in these late October days, and I saw these purple flowers poking up from the dried leaves...does anyone know what they are?

Yesterday, I saw Fiona Apple and Blake Mills at the Beacon Theater, a concert I'd been looking forward to for months. Fiona Apple is one of my favorite musicians. I hear something different each time I listen to one of her songs. Sometimes, I'll admit, her musical expressions confound me and that's why I listen so deeply and intently. Music comes out of her body in a way that is wrenching and uncomfortable and I long to understand.

As I watched her yesterday, I quickly learned that her music is an experience that you can watch. I saw that rhythm and sound is corporal to her, that it comes when she is kneeling, bunched up on the ground or against her shoulder blades as she drums the wooden sticks there or as she bends in a perfect arch over the piano seat.

It surprised me, this way of visualizing sound, the deliberate articulation of chalk against a chalkboard or flesh and bone against wood that became percussion. Even her voice rose up from some wrestling, snatching force from her gut. It was all very beautiful and strange. A new way of seeing music I'd only heard before.


  1. Sounds like a great weekend! Happy belated birthday.

  2. Hmm...think Blogger ate my first comment - if not, double the birthday wishes!!!

  3. Happy belated b-day, my dear!

    One of the reasons I love going to concerts is the very thing you mentioned: a new way of *seeing* music. I think each artist shows this in his or her own way of performing. There's also something about experiencing the music with a crowd that feels a whole lot like fellowship.

    Glad you had a nice time. I have no idea what those flowers are, but I *just* went to the Chicago Botanical Garden last weekend, so we were on the same page, but across the miles! LOL

  4. That's an interesting observation. I've actually spoken with deaf people who love going to concerts for that very reason--and because they can feel the music even when they can't hear it.
    But we have a joke around my home in Southern CT about "watching the sound"--referring to the Long Island Sound. It's just fun to say. :)

  5. I wonder if words written for reading can rise up that way, too. :) I remember seeing Fiona Apple on the Today show a while back and how she explained that she goes long periods without writing music. She has to go off and live for a while, and then return. I found that interesting. (And happy birthday! Another October lady!)

  6. Wow, sounds like an absolute perfect weekend. I might have to go to a Fiona Apple concert soon. :) Happy belated birthday!

  7. So glad you had a lovely birthday. :)

    I think the flowers are crocus. They normally pop up in the spring before daffodils.

  8. Hmmm, now I will have to do a search on Youtube to find Fiona Apple. I'm intrigued! I'm so glad you had a fun birthday weekend! (Also, no pressure at all, but I tagged you in a little blog tour. The post is going up tomorrow - but really, if it's not your thing, don't worry about doing it!) xo