the convergence

The Multiple Convergences Of Sound

Everything Converges

Your personal sound eventually results from many convergences, between

  • your body and your instrument,
  • your body and the ground,
  • inhalation and exhalation,
  • your sound column and your diaphragm,
  • your inner ear and your vocal cords,
  • your neck and your waist back,
  • your embouchure and your sound source,
  • your sound source (Hara) and your heels,
  • the Hara center and the instrument resonance,
  • your sound and your musical ideas,

and more globally, the mental images of the musician and their subsequent physical support, like his trunk bottom and his verticality feeling, as Alfred Tomatis explains it in The Ear And The Voice.

« Be indivisible.
Pull your neck from your back waist.
Build up musical phrases and not a number of notes.« 

Robert Pichaureau, Expressions favorites (Translated by Guy Robert)

your speech is free

 Being aware of your attitude at the end of your natural inhaling, linked with your relaxation delving into the ground through your feet, lets your voice converge with your body by freeing your internal resonance.

« Every evening between 8:00PM and 11:00PM for twenty years, I held seminars which led singers to become conscious of their proprioceptive sensations. As soon as they did, I knew they no longer needed my help to access the mechanisms leading to the control of the voice, since they could trigger them at will.« 

« Singing is a natural act that is superimposed on all other bodily activities. To begin this process, we have to take organs whose basic purposes are other than those we intend in singing, and tame them for our purposes. The hallmark of a high degree of mastery is that the spectator will not distinguish between the technical and the musical elements of a performance.« 

{the teacher points at what should be felt at any specific level}

(…) Then he shows how to achieve it through an imaged way, showing then that there are three dimensions, firstly, the one of the playing artist, on another hand, that of the instrument, and finally that of the sound that emerges when the body gets to resonate.

« The singer, now master of his breath, with his spinal column erect and comfortably seated over the sacrum, will have complete freedom of choice in his interpretation, as he breathes life into his vibrating, resonant body.« 

Alfred Tomatis, The Ear And The Voice – (Translated by by Roberta Prada and Pierre Sollier, adapted by Guy Robert)

the piano brain

As described in air and breathing, you may visualize that global convergence in your lower back, making you forget about blowing that you better vibrate, while avoiding any disturbing stress : George Kochevitsky discusses about the mental power driving this process, in The Art Of Piano Playing.

The aware practicing of your central nervous system fosters proprioceptive images, which facilitate the flow of your inner vibrating sound towards your instrument. This vibration is directly fed by your natural breathing, and may be visualized as arising from your deep sound source.

At this point, your sensation of being seated on the sound actually links your brain to your musical speech, making you forget about your body (your expression tool) and your instrument (your vibration amplifier).

« Practicing at the piano is mainly practicing of the central nervous system, whether we are aware of it or not.« 

« {In 1881 the noted German physiologist Emil Du Bois-Reymond delivered a famous speech on The Physiology of Exercise.}

Du Bois-Reymond said that motor activity of the human body depends upon the proper interaction of muscles more than upon the force of their contraction.

{Steinhausen on the psychic origin of technique : in 1905, several months after the appearance of Rudolf Maria Breithaupt‘s Die Natürliche Klaviertechnik, Dr. Friedrich Adolph Steinhausen’s Die Physiologische Fehler und Umgestaltung der Klaviertechnik (“The Physiological Misconceptions and Reorganization of Piano Technique“) was published.}

Since every movement is initiated in the central nervous system, practicing is, first and foremost, a psychic process, the working over of accumulated bodily experiences and the adjustment to a definite purpose.

(…) Through practice we can learn to move our fingers at the right time and in exact succession in accordance with a given musical figure. We can also achieve the ability to make fine gradations of tonal volume. But this learning is mental and has nothing in common with the degree of muscle development.

“A quantitatively small alteration in the brain has much greater importance than the most significant muscle enlargement.“

(…) Technique is the interdependence of our playing apparatus with our will and our artistic intentions.

« Repeated application of the unconditional stimulus (movements of the playing apparatus) diminishes the extent of irradiation and helps to concentrate excitation. This will then affect only the concerned cells of the cortex’s motor region. For best results this application should be carefully controlled : movements must be watched and unnecessary muscle contractions must be avoided.« 

George Kochevitsky, The Art Of Piano Playing

« Your body/mind fusion appears as THE device making EVERYTHING work together.« 

Michel Ricquier, L’utilisation des ressources intérieures (Translated by Guy Robert)

« The inner ear works in combination with the nervous system and brain in order to issue commands to the vocal cords.« 

David Liebman, Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound

don’t push, please !

By letting the tranverse abdominus muscle weigh on your “buoy“ surrounding your pelvis, you can then feel your internal sound flowing around, and realize that you consume very little air. Such a richest vibration is produced from the optimal configuration of this transverse abdominus, seized at its lowest position thanks to letting it loose at the very end of your natural inhaling : the real sound is laid at this very moment with the « ah » vowel, flowing through your heels and spreading during this non-pushed exhaling.

Playing For Yourself

The efficiency of those many convergences actually leads you to master your musical expression, together with achieving self-confidence and physical well-being, as Dominique Hoppenot‘s Le violon intérieur demonstrates it.

In that context, letting your relaxation flow down to your heels lets your internal vibration feed your sound column, and at the same time frees up the upper part of your body.

« We must keep in mind (…) that all problems are related. Any cutting, even a consistent one, remains a cutting of a whole and unique reality : “concentration“, for example, cannot be driven without “feeling“ ; “sound“ or “breathing“ could be placed on top of the chapters, but can they be achieved without your “body balance“ ?« 

« The exciting side of this work is that all the information so deeply felt through your body cancel at once the agonizing distance between what you want to do and what you are supposedly unable to do. Willing and power finally coincide.« 

« One who was patient enough to learn to focus throughout his learning work becomes capable in two seconds, whatever the circumstances, to come together to be able to readily express the essence of music.

When such a feeling of inner freedom is lived through, playing and practice as well become, without effort, sources of enjoyment and constant creation. It is then possible to speak without deceipt about interpretation and musical expression.»

Dominique Hoppenot, Le violon intérieur (Translated by Guy Robert)

Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom.
If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.

Charlie Parker

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