September Speculations

It’s still early in the game, but after only two weeks into grad school, I’m already tossing around ideas for my thesis. Considering my background and my experiences in the world of visual and auditory culture, I lean towards exploring the science and psychology of sound, if not the senses in general: what constitutes pleasure? discomfort? What is it about that one, two, ten or a hundred songs that stops you dead in your tracks to listen? There are tons of scholarly books written on the topic, even on how sound can be inflicted as a method of torture. While I intend to write a review or two on recent publications of said books, I’m thumb-tacking this concept to the wall as a possibility to explore or include in my thesis when the time comes. The thing is, I’m turned on by everything. I’m only two weeks in and everything that’s already going on in my seminars is exciting the hell out of my spongy little brain. Learning about a variety of schools of thought on the “literariness” of literature, different devices used in different genres of literature for purposes worth speculating… it’s all fascinating. And while it’s still early, I want to be sure to craft the exact right topic for me to research, and my gut is telling me not to ignore the trends of poetic/artistic/literary/lyrical/musical pains and pleasures in my experiences and observations over the past ten years. It’s a broad scope, but I hope to soon pare it down to a more manageable focus.

I don’t know how to transition to my next train of thought, so I’m jumping the tracks.

I have this idea that a good song is like the moon. When looking at the moon, sometimes it feels like it’s looking back at you and only you. Likewise with a song, no matter what genre it might come from, if it means something to you, then it feels like it was created and performed for you and only you, despite how many other fans are also listening/looking at the moon. There’s a step towards self-preservation that only the individual experiencing the sight of the moon or the tune of the song can sense. These are just my theories.

I believe there’s an intimacy between the mind of the songwriter and the minds he’s about to influence when he performs that song. That which transpires between those minds is what I’m interested in quantifying. Yes, it’s music. It’s sound. It’s a drum track that mimics and dances with the human pulse. It’s vocal harmonies and distorted vibrations and profound or not-so-profound lyrics, but I’m of the opinion that there’s so much more than that. Music inspires experimentation and visual creations. It begets artists and perpetuates art. Literature, visuals and sound all start in one mind and end in another. These are the unpredictable interconnected cognitive lightning storms I’ve been chasing with no destination yet in sight, but I intend to never stop logging the journey.

With that, I leave you with this, a favorite, in honor of Roger Waters’ 69th birthday:


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