Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lines in Tension-

Music can be produced from a broad variety of instruments that have lines in tension. Guitar, violin, piano, and wash-tub bass. Many instruments which contain the potential for music in lines of some material drawn to a precise tension.

I find an analogy in ideas. Freedom and security, for example. A line stretched between absolute freedom and absolute security, representing the need to sacrifice freedom to obtain security, or to sacrifice security to obtain freedom. A line in tension.

With regard to this particular line, various people will prefer different points on the line as their particular place of comfort. Additionally, social orders that move too far toward one extreme or the other are more likely to fall than those that find a viable range somewhere toward the middle of the line.

A gross generalization, but one that seems to apply. There is no music if there is no tension. Too much tension and the line breaks. Not every sound that comes forth is music, either. Neither is music just one note.

Drums have planes in tension. A bell has a tension built into both the shape and the material of the bell. These instruments must be played in concert with similar instruments, due to the limits of their individual ranges. Even stringed instruments, though more flexible in range even in just one string, generally have several strings to expand the range of musical potential.

Many instruments come together to form bands and orchestras, bringing forth music from lines of tension.

I try to see families, tribes and nations in a similar way. Individuals living along various lines of tension, interacting with one another. Often it is noise. Sometimes it is music. Not always the same music, and perhaps not music to every one's liking, but a form of music none the less.

This idea of lines in tension sometimes aids me in understanding another human being. I look at how they live, what they are saying, what they are doing. I try to see the lines of tension that make up their individual life. Occasionally I can find a harmony between us.

This is a rather small thought to share. Not particularly deep, and perhaps not that insightful. Yet it is a way of thinking that might be helpful to someone.

That is why I share it. Let us make music together.

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