Curating The Week: Terry Riley, John Luther Adams, The Universality Of Music

• An interview with Terry Riley.

“Beginnings and endings aren’t that important, because you’re just tuning in to a sound current.

Music is the involvement of the human spirit with sound.

If you know what you’re doing in the arts, then you’re doing it wrong. That’s a pretty good maxim.

I think before Indian classical music I was searching for a tradition within music that I didn’t know about, and when I found Indian classical music it had so many answers for me about questions I was trying to solve.

‘How do you use modal music in a form?’ That’s a big question for Western musicians because we had a big modal tradition in the 14th-century, and then harmony took over and musicians really didn’t know how to work with modal harmony and how to create a form with it, I feel. So they kind of abandoned it, and went with just harmonic structure.”

An interview with John Luther Adams.

“Music for me is a kind of spiritual discipline; it’s as close to religion as I get. It’s a way of being in touch with mysteries larger, deeper, older than I can fathom, and so, because of that, I’ve never really been interested in expressing myself in music.”

An article about the universality of music.

“The world is full of music we can’t hear…hidden in messages and melodies, patterns and harmonies that move through and around us all the time, beyond the range of our perception. It’s in the high harmonics of the swirling atmosphere and the subterranean chords of shifting plates. In the voices of creatures that communicate at frequencies far above and below our speech. Mice that squeak to one another ultrasonically as they move through our walls on padded feet. Birds that flicker by so fast we barely hear their songs—it’s only when we slow down their melodies that they sound like ours. Whales that sing song lines so leisurely they last for hours and transmit halfway across the ocean before they’re done.”

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