Here is the last minute of the version of “The Sea Between” I recorded for “Bare Wood 2”.
The guitar melody that starts after the chorus ends came from an improvisation. I liked the vibe of the improv but the strings had been on the guitar for too long and one of them was clearly out of tune. I tried to get used to it, hoping that the mood of the playing might outweigh the handful of notes that were out of tune, telling myself that most listeners might not hear what I was hearing, but I could not. This week I learned the phrases and re-played the melody. It was interesting to learn the notes and spaces of an improv and turning them into a prescribed melody. I rarely if ever do that, often preferring a slightly strange sound, as from a piece of nail-glue that is coming loose for example, to trying to recreate the vibe.
It turned out alright though and I am happy with the feeling of it. I added an octave below for the start of the melody and like how that grabs the attention.
This spring, in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, more than 100 scholars sound off on evolution and universality of music. I love the din. The academic discord gives way to a symphony of insights into the meaning of music in our lives. It may be a cliché to say music is the sound of our shared humanity. But it feels transcendent to be in tune with a person from another culture. There’s something alchemical about knowing we share the same biology. Originate from the same place. Share the same desires. But there’s more to the story. My recent adventures in the fields of music research have instilled in me, deeper than ever before, the feeling that music is what makes us human. I also have a new appreciation of what universality in music really means.
“We’ve shown you don’t need to be familiar with a particular culture to understand and enjoy its music,” Samuel Mehr, lead author on the paper, told me. Mehr is a research associate in the Department of Psychology at Harvard, where he is principal investigator at the Music Lab, a psychology laboratory studying music perception and music production. “You can find music meaningful and artistically interesting, and even glean reliable information, objective facts, from music made in different cultures. That’s really interesting socially because it shows there’s a common ground in this artistic product across cultures.”
Music is the stuff that really connects us. We don’t have to know or understand or even like another culture in order to dig their music. Even more universal than food it is music that brings us together. It has been thus for millenia.
In this conversation, we talk about: how your social networks impact your mental health; how, when it comes to social networks, quality and structure are more important than quantity; why you’re not as bad at being social as you may think; the importance of humor; how status and privilege play into networking; the benefits of calling up old friends you haven’t spoken to in a while; and she will ask you to consider whether you are a convener, broker, or expansionist.
Here is a moment of beauty featuring Jon bowing his upright bass. He starts adding it about 8 seconds into the clip. Multiple single lines from the bass building up the chords. It’s lovely and I wanted to share. It’s part of Bare Wood 2, which will be released early next year.
I enjoyed playing with the incense video and decided that I should take photos of incense, too. Smoke can move unpredictably and can create all sorts of interesting shapes. I would gently blow in the direction of the incense and then smoke would begin to dance. I couldn’t rely on what I saw because by the time I could release the shutter the smoke would have changed shape already. It was mostly guess work and then eliminating the photos that didn’t work.