Take out any musical score you like - by Mozart, Beethoven, whomever -
and look at it closely. You will find various symbols and notations such as “forte,” “piano,”
“crescendo,” and fingering numbers written in detail on the sheets.
That is to say, on a five-lined musical score a composition is set out in a visual
or tangible form. With a lot of practice anyone can learn to play music at one
level or another. But, alas, the results are generally not entitled to the name
So what constitutes a “musical” experience?
Suppose you had purchased a ticket for a classical concert this evening. Think
about why you wanted to hear that particular program by that particular
You must have had a reason for your choice.
It’s hardly likely that you simply wanted to hear some Beethoven; perhaps you
wished to experience and appreciate something like the conductor’s passion for
music, his interpretative nuances and spirituality. You hoped also to be
charmed by the way he commands the tempo of the music, the agogics, Einsatz
(entry), and ma (“subtle pause” in Japanese), too thrilling for words.
All these things cannot be written on a score.
They are invisible, hence “Intangible.”
The reason you bought the expensive ticket is that you placed a value on
Try to picture in your mind an image of a “five-lined blank musical score”
packed with such Intangible elements.
A musical score is tangible.
A composer creates music using it as a medium.
A conductor reads the score closely and gives it his own interpretation.
Musicians play under the conductor’s baton.
And there you are, the audience.
Music comes into being for the first time only when the trio of conductor,
orchestra, and listener resonate in ensemble.
In spite of the fact that music is an art form that vanishes instant by
instant into thin air, you are deeply moved and forget about the price
of the ticket. “ IntangiblePower”
trills you and gives you hope, and, thankfully, enriches your life.
Since a musical score cannot encompass everything, the conductor and the
orchestra members must grope, heart and soul, in search of what is Intangible. You are sure to feel it through the
notes they are spinning out.
An Italian music critic Renzo Allegri related an incident once told to him by
an old conductor involving the composer Richard Strauss (1864-1949):
Richard Strauss popped in all of a sudden at rehearsal and, after having
listened to his own composition Don Juan, said: ‘You play the notes impeccably,
but that is not the kind of thing I want. I should like you to know that music
consists of other things as well.’
… On hearing the grand master’s comment, the scales fell from our eyes. After
such strenuous practice, the results should be nothing short of perfect; but,
alas, our music lacked ‘soul.’