It will not take hours to
tell this story,
but it may require a lifetime of music to fully
appreciate it and to assimilate it. Often when I
am performing a jazz solo I begin to feel myself
rocked gently by that droning bus and the untiring
words of Wilson explaining the entire known universe
of music, such as it is, by way of 'the chord theory'.
In his version he used various illustrations
in common language, not scientific terminology.
Imagine you are Apollo, or perhaps Orpheus, existing in an
open space surrounded by the planets, the nine muses,
the triangular life stages of the graces or fates, and into that
deserted place you wish to bring a little dance music.
You want to arrange pleasing sounds for your own
enjoyment and you discover that the number of sounds
that your little harp can make is infinite.
"Hold it!", you say,
I need a method of organizing these noises, blumps,
doinks and twangs into a system, a catalogue maybe,
or some kind of overview.
I need to know what is music and what it is not.
Theories are not science. They are working
ideas surrounded by gray areas, further surrounded by
empty space. Gradually, as you work, some of the gray areas
become working spaces brought to light by new ideas
This creates more gray areas
and so forth until the vacuum is pushed farther away.
So, what is the idea behind an arrangement of
sounds that are sometimes pleasant and sometimes not?
A great step pyramid begins to arise from the
noise floor. Out of the static and babble of the world
a few ideas and concepts are singled out and the great
pyramid is called MUSIC, while one of those huge blocks
is called CHORDS.
This particular building block is lying next to
KEYS, and each of these are resting on scales, harmony
and intervals. In order to understand what music has
become ( and is still becoming ) you may have to come
along on this incredible, snowbound bus trip to the
city and try to imagine as I did how civilization
developed this idea called music. When we arrive you
will have a new work space in your head where all