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Friday, September 7, 2012

Singing for the community

In an earlier entry I reflected on the concept of the `acoustic community': a community that is defined by the fact that it shares hearing the same sounds. The church bell outlining community borders, was the idea. And I wrote: `A house can be seen as a means of constructing the family as an acoustic community: the walls of the house keep the family sounds inside and the sounds of the world outside, thus making a difference in “our” sounds and “their” sounds'.

I was reminded of that idea when we were camping with the family in Denmark. Huge tent, little fridge, beds - the camping experience was rather limited compared to earlier camping experiences in the Pyrénées at 2000 metres in a little tent. But so it goes: you get older, kids come in, and gradually trampolines and indoor swimming pools replace mountain treks and nature's silence as the necessities of life.

The same as before, however, was the fact that by living in a tent suddenly your acoustic community widens enormously. You hear everything from everybody, with the effect that you really have to behave as a community - no use sending the kids to bed at seven when all the other kids stay up till ten, so you start keeping to the same time schedule as the neighbours; which results in meeting each other all the time because you are all doing the same things at the same time.

And one of the pretty things of this acoustic community experience is that suddenly there is music which belongs not only to others, but also to you. Yes, I know, having to listen to music which you cannot turn off yourself can be annoying, but when a mother every evening at about ten softly starts singing German folk songs to her daughters, you can't help feeling that that music is not just the mother's music, or her daughters'; it becomes in a strong way your music. In such a strong way that you really miss these members of your temporary acoustic community when they have left for another camping place. Not because they were friends, but because they sang your community into being.

The intimacy of the neighbors' music.


Now I start writing blog entries again after the summer holiday, I realise that I take up more and more topics which I wrote about before. I link to earlier entries, which makes this blog not only a linear thing but also a kind of network. Gradually, everything will be connected to everything else, and the feeling that there is not so much a cntinuous line of new thoughts and ideas but more a systematic working out of a couple of central themes you never were aware of really will probably be the result. I feel a bit like a character in a Paul Auster novel, groping about his way in a world which, he discovers, is governed not so much by coincidence, but more by an incomprehensible sort of necessity.

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