Thanks to all of you, especially LaDonna, for making those two
weeks in Birmingham some of the happiest times of my life.
Meeting with old friends, making new ones, and creating some
exquisite art made the trip a fantastic adventure. Plus I got
some great recordings at the Zoo--Laughing Cookaburras and the
mating calls of Crested Screamers were superb.
I'm reading "The Singing Neanderthals, The Origins of Music,
Language, Mind and Body" by Steven Mithen. The book is based on
the widely held belief that early human species were able to
produce music before they acquired the ability for language.
The author cites research from psychology, anthropology,
linguistics and musicology. "Baby talk" or a prosodic (musical)
manner of speaking to infants is how adults teach them to
speak. He states that although there are similarities, music
basically communicates emotion and language communicates
Evolutionarily speaking, we were able to produce music before
language, and language is based on certain aspects of music like
rhythm, rise and fall of pitch, varying loudness, etc. I'm
thinking language is a particular type of music, informational
music, if you will. If that is true, then music, as the root of
language, becomes the root of all cultural activities based on
But it raises the questions: What is music? Do animals make
music? Some say music is only in the domain of humans who
possess the intention of creating art, but this is narrow and
does not satisfy. I prefer the Cagean approach which
acknowledges the potential of any sound being musical. In
fact, living creatures need not be involved when music is made--e.g.
a babbling brook, the ocean surf, a strong, fresh wind may all
be heard as "pure music." This makes what we're doing a type of
"human music," a specialized music that involves instruments and
voices and uses, or abandons, certain musical traditions.
Improvised music goes back to the original source, the
communication of emotion. The emotion has meaning. It is
something we can feel.
Peace, love, joy,