Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Don't Tame Your Instrument, Let it Tame You!

Martin from Germany wrote this to me:

That guy in the music shop gave me a book you probably know: The Soul of MbiraMusic and Traditions of the Shona People of Zimbabwe by Paul F. Berliner (Berkeley/Los Angeles 1978). There is a lot written about African tunings. The most impressive to me: how mbira musicians feel while playing and how they react to new scales. Music is meditation, something very serious. When you play a "wrong" note, it's more like getting a new idea from your mbira...a.s.o. That last one I know from my accordion, what I think I play in a sort of African style. In Germany we have this saying: "Du musst das instrument beherrschen!" This means: YOU have to tame your instrument! Sounds horrible, hey? I can't help it--I see it the other way round: I'm getting tamed by my instrument most of the time, though there are moments when my accordion and me are like very good friends helping each other.

Martin speaks my mind!