Tuesday, July 23, 2013

7:30 BELLS: “Art is the Perfected Imperfection”

A sunset, an exotic location, the cast of light on water—all these beautiful things can make the bells ring. But this week the bells began to madly peal when I ran headlong into a beautiful idea.  Not my idea—someone else’s.

I was reading an article titled Music in your Ears by Adam Gopnik in the January 28, 2013 edition of The New Yorker. He writes about the combination of neuroscience and acoustical technology. When I read that scientists have found that “people like music played with a bit of, but not too much, expressiveness . . . the two expressive dimensions whose force in music Levitin had measured . . . were defections from precision. Vibrato is a way of not quite landing directly on the note: rubato is not quite keeping perfectly to the beat. Expressiveness is error . . . ” I sat straight up--connecting this concept to literature.

Then a few sentences on: “. . . Levitin could show” (measure scientifically) “that what really moves us in music is the vital sign of a human hand, in all its unsteady and broken grace. (Too much imperfection and it sounds like a madman playing: too little, and it sounds like a robot.) . . . The art is the perfected imperfection.” (italics mine)

I leaped from my chair because this is exactly what makes good writing and because the idea was so beautifully expressed. The bells are still ringing so loudly, that I’ve barely had time to follow all the many reverberations. But I do know that a good idea can ignite y mind and imagination, as vividly as the canals of Venice, and nothing makes me feel more alive than that.


LORE OF THE BELL: A beautifully expressed idea makes the bells ring.

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