Friday, August 15, 2008

gearing up

Wandel; ein Trugschluß
Statik; eine Illusion.

zu benennen vermag es
der jenseits von Beschrei-
bung Gegangene.

since about two weeks, i'm in budapest at sweet love's place. while he works, during the day, i myself might either sit at home or meet with friends. when being here like this, there is nothing only few things better than having a permanent metro-pass and being as mobile as i want to.

so, after my arrival, we went to buy me a student discount monthly ticket, which is cheaper than a non discounted 14-days ticket. at the ticket office, my charming hungarian interpreter asked the girl on the other side of the glass if i, as a student from vienna, am applicable for the student discount. at this, she leaned sideways, looking for something. as mon traducteur later told me, he thought she was checking his very question while it turned out that the thing she actually did was checking wether vienna is part of the european union or not...

these days, i spend most of part of my time with looking at train schedules, rail connections and hostels. you, dear reader, might have guessed right: we're going interrail!
since i [paranoid sauerkraut-eater] didn't support our plans to go to istanbul anymore (at least in the current situation), sweet love [brave puszta-rider] reluctantly agreed to do this instead. and now, next tuesday, we'll kick of our journey from vienna to venice and then further up and higher until we reach oslo. on the way, hopefully, we'll meet up with friends and make some new acquaintances as well as not die from exhaustion.

it might not seem like, but i'm getting really excited about the whole thing and i dare say the count at my side also begins to feel a little bit agité about it.
our itinéraire, as it stands now, is the following: from vienna (austria) to venezia (italy), from venezia to fiesch (switzerland), from fiesch to paris (france), from paris to ternaard (northern netherlands), from ternaard to københavn (denmark), from københavn to røyken near oslo (norway) and finally from there back to budapest par avion.

in venice we'll hunt pidgeons, in fiesch the aletsch-glacier, in paris crêpes, in ternaard the sea, in københavn the tivoli and in røyken fairies. of course, this plan is open to change and enhancement...

anybody sitting lonely in one of those locations? now is the time to speak up or stay quiet for ever (or at least until one of us gets his hand son interrail tickets again).

for now je vous embrasse, but i might write again before we leave.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

memories in songs

recently, i've been thinking about the songs i play on the piano, an instrument which i play since about eight or more years. due to never having had lessons, in contrast to my sister [her being the reason there was a piano in the house, to begin with], my development was quite different to that of a normal student of the piano.

there are several songs which i've been playing since almost the beginning of my endeavours. having them under my fingers for so long, developing each by nuances, they have a thousand implications to me. a song, thus, is not just an entity in music, but a kaleidoscope of memoria and emotion to me.

in the beginning, almost all of the songs came from games of the final fantasy series. i played them not only for their musical value, but also for their personal emotional imprint. each time i played them, i remembered scenes from the games and how i had played them with friends.
with time, i learned more songs from other parts of the musical universe, and the memories connected to them range from strong emotional anchors and cues to small things like sentences someone said or the weather on a day i played the song. by all this, the songs have become larger than themselves. as a matter of fact, many of them i do not play for themselves anymore - as they might feel to kitschy or simply not so much my taste now - but rather for the things they carry. for the journey i take when playing them.

this journey is each time a careful tightrope walk between music and thought. even in the pre-piano days, when i had lessons in playing the recorder, i always had quite a handicap in reading score. though this has gotten somewhat better lately, it had a large impact on my development on the piano.
some people thought, i'd be talented enough to play everything from audio-memory. much less exciting and talented, my way was always moving through the score of a song at snail's pace and very quickly memorising it by heart. learning to play it at normal speed would then function mostly from memory. looking at score while playing a song mostly disturbs me so much that i fail to carry on playing.
now, i'm not telling this to boast about my memory, but because the fact i play every song by heart means that my mind is relatively free to wander while i play. this, though, is the ridge walk: i have to let my mind wander freely, to some extent, in order for my fingers to play properly [from their own memory]. but the moment my mind wanders too far and i start actively thinking about the things i think about, the memory of the song is disrupted and often i have to start all over from the beginning [or beginning of a passage] again.

thus, my journey during each song is mostly a movie being played by my subconscious, with the conscious mind carefully being silent. and that is the ground on which all kinds of memories and associations come up and float by my inner eye.
in one song [phillip glass - opening; koyaanisqatsi ost], at a certain passage, i remember telling my ex about how i like this part [and certain triad] to which he replied that he already noticed that. with another one, i remember a close relative telling me, on hearing the song [which then i only played with my right hand], that i should play it on the person's funeral; it being a funerary song [nobuo uematsu - aerith's theme; final fantasy VII ost].
i remember places that i've played the individual songs in, or the persons who ever listened to me playing them. i remember how sometimes my fingers trembled, and then my fingers tend to begin to tremble once more, just from the memory.
also, i look back and see each song today as a long development over all the years. some, for years, i couldn't learn properly and only somehow completed. nowadays, having learned their score from beginning to end, finally, the songs have come a long way.

much like my book of thoughts [i do not keep a normal diary] which my sister gave me for my 18th birthday, four years ago, i often wish to finish these episodes and move on.
the book, after all these years, still has a great many empty pages. but all the things it holds, though dear to me, often are an unwanted weight on me - something i'd like to finally close and put onto the bookshelf, to only take when nostalgia strikes me. each time i write in it, today, i desire for a fresh start, a fresh book, but of course i'd never leave the rest of the pages remain white and unwritten.
so, just the same, the songs stick to me like a skin with many carvings, and only very slowly i add new songs to my repertoire for which maybe, slowly, an old one might fade from memory. it is a process slower than my own growing, like a retrospective view in slow motion that i carry around with me, willing or not.

do you play? what does it mean to you, and what do the songs you play hold for you?