Category Archives: hypotheses and philosophies


The precipice. Maybe you don’t know of it. Odd that I do. Is that a human trait? Not just nurture but nature?

Why can I feel so dirty on the inside? I shower more often, but there does seem to be a difference between external and internal. Must there really be so much muck? Is that also something inherent to the species?

The precipice and muck are well expressed in music, it seems. But it is suggested that it goes the other way as well. If you are frequently expressing certain ideas and emotions in music, they will cycle back into your heart and life. I always thought they just went out into the ether. Into the ears and hearts of the audience, and the universe.

Sometimes I can comprehend the connections between internal and external. They do link up. Maybe the problem is using my sleep and dreams to determine these things. You have limited access to your physical self. You are all spiritual/emotional. It’s a good barometer though. It’s a pure version of the depths. Unadulterated.

I really need an internal shower. How does one accomplish that? Maybe some laughter. Maybe some enriching repartee. Maybe some whimsical music-making. Maybe a good team sport. See? These bridge the gap as I go along.

originally published on 4/23/10


Maybe I’m more of a philosopher than I realize. I was just reading “This Book Does Not Exist”, a book on paradoxes, and I noticed parallels to my thoughts on cello and bow experimentation. It describes philosophies which question reality – like whether 2 seemingly contrary things can exist simultaneously, and likewise whether 2 identical things can coexist – just the sorts of problems I grapple with when I am comparing or trying bows. How can I feel so differently from one minute to the next when the equipment remains the same? Perhaps I should be questioning reality itself. I tend to anyway, but this book makes me feel that I am not crazy in doing so.

The conundrum seems to be that at one moment I feel so sure about how a bow or cello is responding, then in the next I have an utterly alternate sensation. How do you reconcile them? Which one has more validity? Has something changed which I cannot perceive? Or, as I am now thinking, is my actual definition of reality askew? Maybe that gets into religious considerations as well. Sometimes it seems to me that religions are in the business of stretching the limits of what one considers reality. This can be frustrating and lightening at the same time. There seems to be a fine line between philosophy and religion. Maybe one is the practical application of the other. Of course some religions are more practically oriented than others.

originally published on 6/23/10


When I’m watching a movie I often feel very strong connections with the characters and the storylines. I often feel my needs and feelings are at least partially embodied in their personas. In other words, I truly get sucked in.

But I realized something tonight. The reason I get so caught up in the lives of screen images is because there are no obligations associated with them. It is not a 2-way relationship. You are absolutely at total liberty to safely immerse yourself in these projected people. It is fantasy, right? Therein lies the trouble.

You look for some similar kind of gratification in real life. And you wonder why it is so different, so much more elusive. It turns out it is like comparing apples and oranges, but not only in that it is different. Apples and oranges are both fruit, right? So cinema and reality are both derivatives of human experience. In deeper senses there is a comparison between them, but practically speaking, not so much.

I imagine it’s a good thing that one’s reality isn’t left up to the machinations of screenwriters and Hollywood A-listers.

originally published on 9/20/10

#1 Rat

I have recently been breaking down my LH technique into a few main components. It started when I got fed up with how uncooperative my first finger is. So the first thing I realized is that I have to keep each finger in mind individually. I cannot let one finger’s propensities bias all the others. They are really coming at the string from different places, at different angles, from different parts of the hand, from different lengths, etc.

On the other hand, the fingers are indeed unified in a lot of ways. I cannot forget that. The trick of course is to have that unified sensation combined with the above-mentioned autonomy. But that seems to be the trick with a lot of things. Permitting contrasting and even contradictory guidelines to all come into play seems to be a helpful approach. In other words, even if there is a unified theory of everything, I better not approach my craft as if there is. That is something which just happens. On a good day. When things align. Not when I perform some sort of fancy computations.

The other two facets of the left side which have been useful are the arm – neck connection and the variability of the arm height. Keeping in mind that neck tension has a direct affect on the upper arm on down to the hand has a great effect on my posture and symmetry. And utilizing a bouncing and releasing elbow helps to bypass a lot of irrelevant convolutions I go through in my vibrato and hand position.

originally published on 10/4/10


I definitely need to experiment with some higher power options. I remember when my atheistic propensities were put on the back burner and I was consulting with Him/It for some solace and support and direction in the recent past. It truly did help for awhile. I think I need to be open to some possibilities, and not let my concern for semantics be a total block for acceptance of wisdom of a certain nature.
God I had weird dreams. So vivid when you’ve overeaten and you’re not sleeping very soundly. I would write it down if I could get a good handle on the details in my conscious mind. John W, weird sheet music issues, winding staircases, musical colleagues.

My latest thinking concept for playing knottedness is my brain stem. It seems to be medical, internal and compellingly scary in enough of a way to get me going in a better direction physically and otherwise. I just remember that I am a product of the fact of human biology, which includes things such as a brain stem inside my head and neck. This is an immutable situation, regardless of whatever I may feel or however I may want to contort myself. As long as I am breathing/alive, I have an active brain stem. Which I find a bit gross to contemplate. But this may be helpful in keeping my attention.

The point is, with this in mind I can acquire a balance within myself. I have a focus that is basically not harmful. Sadly, that is often not the case. Maybe it’s a little like a higher power option to which I refer above. Human biology.

originally published on 11/27/06


Another connection I should not make is that between good technique and good intonation. Those things are oddly separate. And even if they’re not, you can’t make any assumptions. You can just go about your business aligning things nicely on both sides, while keeping an ear out for the end product. If they happen to go together, maybe it’s just a coincidence.

originally published on 10/4/10


So whom am I writing for? Myself? That has to be involved. Anyone who might be vaguely interested? So it seems. It is for fellow travelers, I guess. I could write about musical issues. Would that be directed more towards other musicians? Possibly. They might be the ones who would understand the jargon.

Am I writing to gain notoriety? No, I don’t believe so. Or to further my career? No. Those would not be the reasons. If something like that were to happen, I would figure out how to deal with it as it came. Is writing linked to playing? I think it might be. They are both activities derived from somewhere inside the murky place where the heart lives. They seem to make good bedfellows. There are a number of other categories which stem from that place.

Maybe I write a blog and have a website because I cannot play a concert alone. It is the next best thing. Really it is a different and separate thing to performing music, but in a way it fills a related void. Perhaps it is expressing philosophically versus the direct emotionality of music-making. Or maybe it is about the direct, real-time connection to an audience versus the gap between writer and reader. Of course there are times when writing is raw and in-your-face and music is intellectual or awash.

I don’t mind being either the same as others or totally different (so I think). It is really a combination. If I am true to myself, I’ll see that I have both elements. And so anything that I create would have some commonality and some uniqueness.

originally published on 4/23/11