[-empyre-] Wood, what calms (if one has the luxury of calming)

Christina Spiesel christina.spiesel at yale.edu
Tue Nov 25 12:42:47 EST 2014

Thank you, Alan, for these gifts of fall color and music from singing 
wood. Such things really matter!


On 11/24/2014 4:26 PM, Alan Sondheim wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Wood!
> (what saves me, occupies the space of anguish: the tending and
> playing of music, the physicality of wood. wooden instruments
> need a kind of stewardship; they're organic, they open other
> (sonic) registers, they restore balance, they quiet the world.
> I think of playing as curative, calming; the two oud pieces
> below present the anguish in another, more healing, register.
> on another note, Lakoff's update of Don't Think of An Elephant
> has arrived, and is useful in framing political discourse; it
> was recommended by Christina. I do remember reading it years
> ago, but given the state of political rhetoric in the U.S.,
> it seems as relevant as ever.)
> http://www.alansondheim.org/nny119.jpg
> http://www.alansondheim.org/msoud0.mp3
> http://www.alansondheim.org/msoud1.mp3
> returning from NY, finding the humidity below 20% and all the
> instruments untuned, even with a large-output humidifier going.
> so tuning up again - violin, oud, the sazs, suroz, gambus, all
> were wildly loose and luckily nothing cracked. the oud has been
> the most difficult to tune up again; at one point the twelfth
> (unused) peg fell out and I jumped; I thought it had broken. I'm
> now trying to adjust wood and string, keep the qin happy, set
> the humidity as high as possible in this dry place in a dry town
> (even though by the water), keep the temperature low, anything
> so I can stop running around like crazy, resetting the pegs,
> worrying the string tension, etc. tomorrow it's the hasapi and
> suroz, and that will leave the cranky bowl-backed mandolin for
> the last. meanwhile here are two oud solos, each played with the
> oud in a different position (traditional, or with the soundboard
> upright), each trying something different. with the dry air and
> the air dry, with the dry dry air, it's difficult to keep my
> hands from slipping, the oud from slipping, the pegs from
> slipping yet again, and so here we are; msoud0 is even a bit
> lyrical, a relief from the mourning music I often produce. msoud
> = Maurice Shehata oud, the name of the maker, the oud originally
> from Dubai.
> I would play wood! I will play wood! I would play wood!
> I would play wood! I will play wood! I would play wood!
> I would play wood! I will play wood! I would play wood!
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

More information about the empyre mailing list