The Vibration of Silence: a New Piano Composition

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The Vibration of Silence: a New Piano Composition

The Vibration of Silence: a new piano composition

A new composition for piano came to life after an experience I had recently… First of all I would like to give my thanks to Federico Magnaguagno (Yoga teacher and founder of ASD Gymnazen) and Fabio Marcelloni (my master of Taijiquan, internal style of Kung Fu) for having conceived and organized, at the beginning of February and for the first time, an intensive seminar with the aim of bringing together Yoga, Taijiquan, Meditation and Qi Gong. An experiment to combine different but, at the same time, similar disciplines; a seminar focused on the intensive practice of martial arts and Yoga, but above all, on the inner research through meditation experiences: a true transversal element to any sporting, artistic or life practice.

A place that takes you out of the world

Fundamental to the success of the “experiment” was certainly the location: an ancient monastery that has now become a kind of farm. It has represented the ideal place to isolate us from the “outside world”, allowing us to concentrate only on practice without any distraction (at least for a short period of time). The Franciscan Oasis of Vicovaro is an ancient monastery built near the cliff that plumbs to the Aniene river where also lived St. Benedict who was called to run a community of monks autonomously settled in the place.

Where does the music come from? Some considerations on Taiji

Maybe it’s a rather pretentious question and maybe I’m not able to answer even in my case … I can only say that the days were very intense and, I do not know how, the practice of martial arts and meditation together with “isolation” has sparked my inspiration and creativity. I try to explain it by summarizing here a story of the Taoist essay Zhuang Zi:

“A sovereign commissioned to Qing the carver a wooden support for bells to be made in fifteen days. At the beginning Qing seems not to take care of the work by devoting himself to other activities without taking into consideration the passing of time. One day, looking at a tree, he exclaims that he has found the right wood and, once in his studio, concludes the work in a very short time. The sovereign is astonished by the beauty of the artefact. “

The Vibration of Silence: a new piano composition

A new composition for piano came to life after an experience I had recently… First of all I would like to give my thanks to Federico Magnaguagno (Yoga teacher and founder of ASD Gymnazen) and Fabio Marcelloni (my master of Taijiquan, internal style of Kung Fu) for having conceived and organized, at the beginning of February and for the first time, an intensive seminar with the aim of bringing together Yoga, Taijiquan, Meditation and Qi Gong. An experiment to combine different but, at the same time, similar disciplines; a seminar focused on the intensive practice of martial arts and Yoga, but above all, on the inner research through meditation experiences: a true transversal element to any sporting, artistic or life practice.

A place that takes you out of the world

Fundamental to the success of the “experiment” was certainly the location: an ancient monastery that has now become a kind of farm. It has represented the ideal place to isolate us from the “outside world”, allowing us to concentrate only on practice without any distraction (at least for a short period of time). The Franciscan Oasis of Vicovaro is an ancient monastery built near the cliff that plumbs to the Aniene river where also lived St. Benedict who was called to run a community of monks autonomously settled in the place.

Where does the music come from? Some considerations on Taiji

Maybe it’s a rather pretentious question and maybe I’m not able to answer even in my case … I can only say that the days were very intense and, I do not know how, the practice of martial arts and meditation together with “isolation” has sparked my inspiration and creativity. I try to explain it by summarizing here a story of the Taoist essay Zhuang Zi:

“A sovereign commissioned to Qing the carver a wooden support for bells to be made in fifteen days. At the beginning Qing seems not to take care of the work by devoting himself to other activities without taking into consideration the passing of time. One day, looking at a tree, he exclaims that he has found the right wood and, once in his studio, concludes the work in a very short time. The sovereign is astonished by the beauty of the artefact. “

Wang (oblivion) and Shen (spirit) are the two concepts present in this story. You succeed in your work because you forget the work itself. In fact oblivion means that, not thinking too much about the rules and the result, one naturally succeeds in one’s intent. However, the rules are not forgotten (they are in a place from which we can always draw) and awaken at the right time. We do not notice but the shen (a kind of collective unconscious) stores everything. For example a musician, while he is improvising, does not think about what is playing, but only performs using his knowledge that has formed with the everyday practice.

Now it is hard to say whether it was really the work of Wang and Shen but certainly I can speak on behalf of each artist stating that: with the context and the right attitude something mysterious still happens, just know how to wait … The Tao manifests itself, Taiji begins to take shape in the dance of opposites Yin and Yang and the rest is only music…

Do the notes also meditate? certainly not known, but they certainly do not do martial arts…

How to explain in words the genesis of a piece of music? It is difficult but I will try ‘… Let’s start by saying that there was silence (exterior and interior) and then had to be made into music, what better way than to write immersed in the silence of the monastery’s corridors? Even better if in the evening … in short, you only need paper, pencil and then … just need to know how to listen inside yourself and write on the pentagram the vibration in that moment lives inside you. I think the next step was to wait for the return and the settling of the experienced emotions. As a musician it is important for me to observe the emotions more consciously than when they happen, so I can feel them when I try to transfer them to the instrument or directly on paper. This way permits me to keep their genuineness and avoiding to implement too many “mental” filters that often can cause the composition become less spontaneous. It is absolutely essential to balance our inner Yin and Yang: reason and feeling, logic and instinct, notes and pauses, consonances and dissonances and so on …

Oh, I forgot, there was the mantra! “Ma Me Mu Tza” were the syllables intoned by the whole group during meditation. A sound but at the same time many sounds, a vibration that was felt inside before being projected to the outside surrounding everyone and everything. In my (long) past experience of meditator oddly I have never sung a mantra (well, there is always a first time) and, I have to say, that it was a very intense meditative experience … (among other things I have not been in a group meditation for a long time and I have to thank Federico for the way he conducted it). How to lose the opportunity to realize the second theme of the piece with the notes of the mantra? Federico thought them, we all entered into vibration singing them so they entered right into my compositional flow… These notes has represented a strong inspiration for me, so it was relatively easy to incorporate my feelings with respect to this experience that I could define as an harmony of inner silence.

Another essential element was the “crescendo”, the growing intensity, which in the days has gradually involved me more and more… (I also sensed this growing intensity in my group mates … We were increasingly “penetrated” into training and meditations, so I tried to bring it into music too, putting all my moods in it. Will I succeed? I hope so, but the listener will say …

When silence tells us something we must listen?

During the sharing phase after the last meditation meeting I felt the need to share some thoughts and emotions that I would probably have expressed better with notes rather than words. However, I felt that something had to be said and I would also take this opportunity to reiterate it here by telling my story. First of all, I want to thank all my friends, who I already knew and who I met there for the first time and with whom a beautiful relationship was born… there is a bit ‘of each of you in these notes. Thanks to Fabio for what he trasmits to us with the Taijiquan, and I can speak on behalf of all my comrades saying that I am grateful for the intensity and the passion he puts in teaching this ancient art that is surely making us better people. Then, of course, thanks to Federico who (perhaps by chance, synchronicity, I do not know …) has organized this intensive seminar, including meditation, just in the period when I am approaching the vipassana again (Vipassana is an Indian meditation I have practiced a lot in the past and then, for personal reasons, I have not practiced for a long time). This experience was certainly a push for me, for my inner research and for the artistic one, and maybe I will have to thank him again in the future if this will allow me to continue on the path of meditation that is always full of surprises …

When silence tells us something we must listen? I really think so. As an artist then I feel it as a need, but I also know from experience that it is not always easy to put ourrself in a listening state and perceive when our inner silence comes into vibration … There are always our outer borders to be overcome, then the more we go inside, the more our vision is not clear. But there is a moment when you can hear the vibration of silence… and that is why, as an artist, I try to bring it into my music, those few times when I feel it and I am surprised to be able to listen to it.

The Vibration of Silence

Wang (oblivion) and Shen (spirit) are the two concepts present in this story. You succeed in your work because you forget the work itself. In fact oblivion means that, not thinking too much about the rules and the result, one naturally succeeds in one’s intent. However, the rules are not forgotten (they are in a place from which we can always draw) and awaken at the right time. We do not notice but the shen (a kind of collective unconscious) stores everything. For example a musician, while he is improvising, does not think about what is playing, but only performs using his knowledge that has formed with the everyday practice.

Now it is hard to say whether it was really the work of Wang and Shen but certainly I can speak on behalf of each artist stating that: with the context and the right attitude something mysterious still happens, just know how to wait … The Tao manifests itself, Taiji begins to take shape in the dance of opposites Yin and Yang and the rest is only music…

Do the notes also meditate? certainly not known, but they certainly do not do martial arts…

How to explain in words the genesis of a piece of music? It is difficult but I will try ‘… Let’s start by saying that there was silence (exterior and interior) and then had to be made into music, what better way than to write immersed in the silence of the monastery’s corridors? Even better if in the evening … in short, you only need paper, pencil and then … just need to know how to listen inside yourself and write on the pentagram the vibration in that moment lives inside you. I think the next step was to wait for the return and the settling of the experienced emotions. As a musician it is important for me to observe the emotions more consciously than when they happen, so I can feel them when I try to transfer them to the instrument or directly on paper. This way permits me to keep their genuineness and avoiding to implement too many “mental” filters that often can cause the composition become less spontaneous. It is absolutely essential to balance our inner Yin and Yang: reason and feeling, logic and instinct, notes and pauses, consonances and dissonances and so on …

Oh, I forgot, there was the mantra! “Ma Me Mu Tza” were the syllables intoned by the whole group during meditation. A sound but at the same time many sounds, a vibration that was felt inside before being projected to the outside surrounding everyone and everything. In my (long) past experience of meditator oddly I have never sung a mantra (well, there is always a first time) and, I have to say, that it was a very intense meditative experience … (among other things I have not been in a group meditation for a long time and I have to thank Federico for the way he conducted it). How to lose the opportunity to realize the second theme of the piece with the notes of the mantra? Federico thought them, we all entered into vibration singing them so they entered right into my compositional flow… These notes has represented a strong inspiration for me, so it was relatively easy to incorporate my feelings with respect to this experience that I could define as an harmony of inner silence.

Another essential element was the “crescendo”, the growing intensity, which in the days has gradually involved me more and more… (I also sensed this growing intensity in my group mates … We were increasingly “penetrated” into training and meditations, so I tried to bring it into music too, putting all my moods in it. Will I succeed? I hope so, but the listener will say …

When silence tells us something we must listen?

During the sharing phase after the last meditation meeting I felt the need to share some thoughts and emotions that I would probably have expressed better with notes rather than words. However, I felt that something had to be said and I would also take this opportunity to reiterate it here by telling my story. First of all, I want to thank all my friends, who I already knew and who I met there for the first time and with whom a beautiful relationship was born… there is a bit ‘of each of you in these notes. Thanks to Fabio for what he trasmits to us with the Taijiquan, and I can speak on behalf of all my comrades saying that I am grateful for the intensity and the passion he puts in teaching this ancient art that is surely making us better people. Then, of course, thanks to Federico who (perhaps by chance, synchronicity, I do not know …) has organized this intensive seminar, including meditation, just in the period when I am approaching the vipassana again (Vipassana is an Indian meditation I have practiced a lot in the past and then, for personal reasons, I have not practiced for a long time). This experience was certainly a push for me, for my inner research and for the artistic one, and maybe I will have to thank him again in the future if this will allow me to continue on the path of meditation that is always full of surprises …

When silence tells us something we must listen? I really think so. As an artist then I feel it as a need, but I also know from experience that it is not always easy to put ourrself in a listening state and perceive when our inner silence comes into vibration … There are always our outer borders to be overcome, then the more we go inside, the more our vision is not clear. But there is a moment when you can hear the vibration of silence… and that is why, as an artist, I try to bring it into my music, those few times when I feel it and I am surprised to be able to listen to it.

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