Truth, Music and Creation

When you sing serious music, you must understand that there is no intrinsic Truth in the musical form! The musical form needs something to bring it to Truth and that something is human experience. Singing is intrinsically human when it expresses deep emotions, but the musical form–even the melody–is not true, so don’t be so proud you can sing the notes to an operatic aria or a song from Lieder. If you have not brought human experience to the song, it is dead. Songs have to be sung. They cannot just be thought. So when you sing you must bring to the musical form human truth and let it be shown and felt. You must stream the truth to the music as you sing and this we call acting. All singing is also acting if truth has been brought to the music. Otherwise music is just a form that we use to create a block to the awareness of Truth. How often we see this. Some “great singer” sings a great piece of music–let’s say Schubert’s Die Winterreise–and we see him standing by the piano, his arms by his side, and as far as we can tell, there is no human truth being given to either the music or the audience, and there is always an audience for singing, even if it is just nature or God. No song is sung in obscurity!! He sings the music very well. His phrasing is good. His timbre is good. All the aspects of the musical form are good, but it is as dead as any lifeless form. The music has captured his mind and it sings through him as though on auto-pilot, as though a robot were singing. He has forgotten that his mental attention must be ahead of the musical beat so that he can present truth to the music as it comes. This takes a lot of concentration, of course, and so he contents himself with “just singing.” He tells himself a lie, that the music doesn’t need to be acted.
One of the best tools for a singer is oral interpretation of literature. One must take the text as a text and interpret it with human truth. Only then is he ready to “sing” that text with meaning in a song or aria. The “acting” will then be very easy and realistic. You won’t just stand there with your arms in one position and we will see on your face and in your body the human truth that you have brought to the music.
In the Stanislavsky Method, there are two “beats” involved in singing, the first “beat” is the awareness in the mind of a choice for how the phrase is being interpreted. The second beat is the musical beat. So, the dramatic beat must be before the musical beat or no truth is offered to the music. The music is very good at hypnotising the conscious mind into falling in line with its beat. If that happens, the singer is just a singing machine and there is no truth!! But if you know this you can also tell that the music is very good at giving the mind imagination out of which a dramatic beat can be chosen. It takes work! Creation takes work! We see little of it happening today. Singers struggle just with technique to sing the notes. They have no energy left over for human truth!!! But I also saw this in the singing of two generations ago among singers we now consider “golden age” singers. They just sang and added on some gesture here or there and called it truth, but such is as much a lie as we see today! Creation has always been difficult, and only creation can be called “art.”

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Western society is crumbling from within

It doesn’t take a genius to see that Western society is crumbling from within. The reasons, though multi-factoral, stem from personality disintegration. If you look at normal developmental milestones, fewer and fewer children through teen years are developing them. Just look at the normal milestones for teen years:Adolescence is divided into three stages: early (12 to 14 years), middle (15 to 17 years), and late (18 to 20 years). While certain attitudes, behaviors, and physical milestones tend to occur at certain ages, a wide range of growth and behavior for each age is normal. These guidelines show general progress through the developmental stages rather than fixed requirements. It is perfectly natural for a teen to reach some milestones earlier and other milestones later than the general trend.Emotional Development

Has a better sense of self.
Becomes gradually more emotionally stable.
Has a greater concern for others.
Has thoughts about his or her purpose in life.
Has pride in his or her own work.

Social Development

Has become self-reliant and able to make own decisions.
Becomes more comfortable around parents.
Becomes interested in and concerned about serious relationships.
Can combine both emotional and physical intimacy in a relationship.
Has developed a clear sexual identity.

Mental Development

Has ability to think ideas through and set goals.
Has ability to express ideas.
Has developed a deeper view of life and may become involved in community issues (environment, homelessness, world hunger).

OK….now think how many teenagers you observe in your world who have never developed these milestones! Many of them cannot even read! These broken persons are sent out into an adult world where their decision making ability is immature, even mentally ill. Western society has broken down in the educational and maturational processes needed to bring a child to adulthood. Those causes are also multi-factoral but surely a great deal of the problem stems from the society and its political structures which really do not want to spend money on education and child development. Therefore the society continues to crumble.

As an artist this became apparent to me in my career. Audiences after WWII appreciated opera and the great voices on the stage. However, by the end of the Vietnam War, audiences were considerably less able to appreciate the arts. Johnny Carson, and Jack Paar before him, would bring opera singers on to the Tonight Show. But by the time Jay Leno took over, it was unthinkable to bring an opera singer on the show. The people simply had lost all appreciation, and more importantly, great artists were viewed as having psychological threat value to the weaker personalities that comprised the audience. As we produce more and more fragmented people, they have less and less ability to appreciate education and the arts. The Western Society we have produced reflects that. It is a superficial, anti-intellectual, anti-art, culture that we have developed. OF COURSE it does not want to spend money on education! It doesn’t value education!!! That is the vicious cycle that will eventually crash Western civilization…unless true visionary leaders appear!!! Where would they come from?