Flow and intuition in classical music
Today I am going to speak about intuition and flow in music. One day I was studying the danse macabre of Saint Sans and listening to the Recording of Horowitz. When I was reading the music during the listening, I realized my expectation of the music was different as all the written commandos in the score were very freely interpreted. Then I put the music aside, I listened again and suddenly the piece started living, it was amazing, how fresh and energetic and alive it sounded! Every note was captivating and I could not stop listening. Then I stood up and tried to dance to the music and do some arm and hand movements and was fascinated how organic the music performance was. It seems like Horowitz released an internal flow out of the written dead and dry ink on the paper."
Italian Humanist of Middle Age Leon Battista Alberti (1407 - 1472) once said, We shall borrow all our rules for our proportions from the musicians who are the greatest masters of this sort of numbers and from the music itself wherein the Nature shows herself most excellent and complete.” In the Middle Ages the liberal arts education consisted of Music, Arithmetic, Geometry and Astronomy, the so called Quadrivium. Surely at first the educated person would learn to master a musical instrument due to the mathematical and proportional aspect of music. But even then it was all very clear that actually playing music or even just hearing it would foster a creative moment – that would boost our instinctive facilities. At first it sounds like a contradiction: Music has numbers, proportions, strict rules and they all need hto be obeyed. But playing music is all about the intuition, inborn unexplainable facility to shape these numbers and harmonic proportions into tones. The magic moment of flow occurs when everything starts fitting it – your body movements, your state of mind, emotions and your personal something…
My personal experience was many times I had difficulties with some music pieces and would be searching for ways to cope with them. I would be doing everything written by a composer but still the essence of the music would escape. But then it could be some source of inspiration like reading a book, or walking in the forest, or dancing to the music that would give me a key. I cannot put it to words but it comes suddenly and then I have a feeling that it is easy to play this piece and the music just flows.
It would be interesting to hear your experiences about flow and intuition in music. How do you search for the flow moments and if you rely upon the intuition?