I’ve started thinking in music. I have not the slightest idea what this means.
To be fair, I’ve always had a different relationship with music than most people. Music is as physical as it is auditory for me because I am a musician. I can feel the different places in my head, my throat, my chest, where the vibrations live when you sing. I hear the cadence of your voice as much as your words. Music is in the bite of metal violin strings in the fingers of my left hand, a weight on my shoulder like a living bird. It’s something you see on the page in a mass of black ink, hear in the air, feel in your hands. Like a living thing.
So if I think of music differently, I’m not often that surprised. Of course it’s going to take a different shape if you look at something upside-down.
But thinking in music?
It’s probably nothing at all. Like when you have dreams in a foreign language you’ve been studying, or at least you think you do, but when you wake up, it’s nothing but gibberish after all and you’re the same as you’ve always been.
It was very nearly like that, this thinking in music. Both times it was late and the game with insomnia had begun–oh yes, it happened twice. I wouldn’t have thought much of it if it had only been once. A fluke. A daydream.
I don’t know what I was thinking. The first time it was something that annoyed me, and the only response my brain could conjure was an entire section of violins screeching discordantly like a pack of flying starlings, as horrible as scraping a blackboard, but perfectly organized as if reading music from a page.
I had to remind myself that it was my brain and that I could make it stop. That’s how involuntary it was.
I remember still less what the second time was that prompted it. But suddenly there was a rich, rolling solo cello melody. Why? Because my mind told me that was the proper response, as much as saying “Indeed,” or “Thank you.”
Important note, here. It isn’t just sound. Both times there has been a meaning to it, a sensation or feeling if not a word, something so full and concise and vague at the same time that no word could possibly do the trick.
Thinking in music.
If I’m honest, it’s probably because of how I’ve been working the last two weeks. I’ve mentioned my Renaissance festival adventures before. I go as the fiddler. I don’t talk, if I can help it, but while someone’s being put in the stocks or something wonderful is happening or two armored mercenaries are punching each other to a pudding, I play. And I play what fits. Rains of Castamere, Love Theme from the Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean, sad fiddle tunes, happy fiddle tunes, different music for each of the fighters when they start to pummel each other, whatever I can think of. And often I have to think of it quick or the moment is missed. It’s like an eloquent joke if I do it well. But it would seem the process has had some unexpected side effects.
It’s weird. I wonder if it will stick.