The gist of Tonal Refraction might be summed up in today's post title.  Musicians learn notes as if they are more or less neutral; we are encouraged to believe that words furnished by someone else - a theorist, a critic, another interpreter - take care of the emotional potential of the notes we play.  But such is not the case.
A composer  who knows her craft can configure a tone such that it embodies fear, dread, glee, drunkenness, sorrow, the precise content coming from the tone itself in a well-constructed context, to be sure.  Many a professional musician earns his bread by spitting out the notes in a sort of equalized neutrality: this is essential in order to tolerate the range of situations and demands that are made upon those of us who do gigs of any kind, classical or not.  But the artist feels and relishes the difference between this G and all of the others.   So does the child.  Every child.


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