Detritus 214

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> I just discovered the work of Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa – wow!!! Which are the common points of your experience of silence and sound in your work?

Toshio Hosokawa: For Japanese traditional musician silence is very important and very different unlike the European musicians. A good example of that difference can be shown with Japanese calligraphy – the Japanese calligrapher draws a line but he does not start on the paper rather the beginning starts at some point in the air. And what you see on the white paper is the drawing, but it is only one part of the movement, not the whole experience. I have to say that those hidden air movements are essential to the drawing and without them there would be nothing to see. For me, the music is like that. I can also use the Japanese traditional music as an example or the Japanese Noh Theatre… there is instrumentalists hayashi who played like this -with his hands, Hosokawa show us a visual and auditory example of how it sounds. He move one hand drawing a semicircle in the air and then clap his hands. There is a longer point you cannot listen, but then comes the hit, that is the sound. This part is the silence and the silence is as important as the sound itself. The silence makes the sound more intensified and without that the sound will be faint.
You can as well find this in my music. In Japanese traditional music we say: Ma- the silent movement – intensity – between sound and sound. In Japanese culture this Ma is very essential. Japanese architects also use it. We can find this interaction in the nature, between two seasons – autumn and winter, between night and day.
Maybe in European music the only important thing is the resound hit, that is a sonorous blow. This is like a big cathedral; where you can find eternity. But for us the beauty can be found in a cherry blossom and this is such because it remains very short time – there is no eternity. The flowers whiter but then they bloom again the next year. This is another example of “in between”- Ma. For the Japanese this Ma is very significant, also for life itself that is why life is beautiful. There is no eternity; we have no God.
Sound is like a blossom, because it comes and goes and the silence is not nothingness, the silence is full of sound if we could only hear it. If I can put this very strong intensity in the silence, then the sound becomes stronger. To make a strong sound we need a very strong silence.



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