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Music and the Integral Vision

Last post 06-05-2008, 3:53 PM by balder. 32 replies.
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  •  05-27-2008, 12:03 PM 53140 in reply to 53132

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Thanks Schalk,

    I'm with you on the inclusion of each meme but tend to hear a few memes expressed in any one of the genre that several of us have, for the sake of discussion, been associating with single memes.

    You're right about the Frontiers thread. That's in the board designated for theoretical/hypothetical discussion and is full of speculative postulations.

    (I'm at work now and...gotta go.)



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  •  05-27-2008, 1:05 PM 53151 in reply to 53140

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Hi again,

    Grass roots; I'm with you there too. 'As at home clogging with the buskers as in the concert hall.

    To continue with the above post, re: meme and genre, we have instances such as Public Enemy # 1 getting their green on, and Wagner wallowing in magic/myth. We've got amberland two stepping to the bright green of Martina McBride.

    (still at work..) to be cont.


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  •  05-27-2008, 10:38 PM 53228 in reply to 53151

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision


    I keep thinking that there is something wrong with the assumptions we make when we talk about "music."

    We tend to think of it as an artifact - like I was talking before about "laying down tracks" and getting the MIDI code set so that the music could be frozen into a "song." Maybe this is the problem why we don't have Integral music. We are trying to make frozen music.

    So, I am reading this David Byrne piece:

    He makes a very important point.

    "What is music?

    First, a definition of terms. What is it we're talking about here? What exactly is being bought and sold? In the past, music was something you heard and experienced — it was as much a social event as a purely musical one. Before recording technology existed, you could not separate music from its social context. Epic songs and ballads, troubadours, courtly entertainments, church music, shamanic chants, pub sing-alongs, ceremonial music, military music, dance music — it was pretty much all tied to specific social functions. It was communal and often utilitarian. You couldn't take it home, copy it, sell it as a commodity (except as sheet music, but that's not music), or even hear it again. Music was an experience, intimately married to your life. You could pay to hear music, but after you did, it was over, gone — a memory."

    What has been happening, especially beginning with the point around 1990 or so when every idiot like myself with a computer and a MIDI keyboard could produce a CD in his living room, is that music has become massively divorced from social context.

    I am not saying it has happened completely. But how many songs are listened to on iPods compared to listened to live in a community of listeners? The ratio is probably 1 million to one, right?  

    Music is primarily something that you layer on a computer and save in digital format.

    So what I am getting at is - people who are not competent to create digital music are now afraid to create any music. You cannot get a "non-musician" to sing a song, or try to plunk a tune on a guitar, or do anything except play "Guitar Hero." They are mortified.

    So, I am envisioning a time when people will re-discover the fact that they need not compare themselves with the commercial music they hear everywhere. They need not feel embarrassed by singing "badly." (Yes, mean green flautists, there is something known as "singing badly." It happens when you try to sing in key on tempo and don't do it remotely well. But, that's OK.) They need not hestitate to make music just because they can only play 3 chords on a guitar. Anyone can explore this line of development (music) and express any level of consciousness and any state that comes to them using basic and native skills. (And of course, they will develop musically as they do this.)

    Maybe the first step toward Integral music is to stop thinking in terms of complex instruments and mathematical codes and higher principles and simply re-vitalize the notion that making simple music can be as legitimate and useful as the way Indians organize chants or we sit down to play Call of Duty 4.

    We have to get over the propensity to scoff at or dismiss what seem like unskilled attempts to express ourselves musically. Janis Joplin was not a great singer technically, but she really threw herself into it and raised the red flag.

    Maybe Integral music will come about when Integral people start making simply music and infusing it with their "awareness" of Integral truths. After all, some of the most enduring music is actually quite simple. And some of the most pretentious music is massively complex.

    This is the thing I like about the bluegrass community - they understand the importance of making live music, rather than listening to it on an iPod.

    So, I am wondering - can 3 Integral friends make Integral music using their voices, a crude drum, and a flute? And why is it not happening regularly? What is our hang up?

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  •  05-28-2008, 7:52 AM 53325 in reply to 53228

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision


    In some respects it looks like human interface with media is increasingly becoming social, our new socialization. Every hour that a television babysat has consequences.

    One of my old ideals is to balance cultural production and consumption, an impossible task, but a compensation or countering, a way to be careful about the symbiosis of commercial forces with personal expression.

    I don't have your answers but it sounds as though you're responding to your own impulse to adapt with integrity.

    be well,


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  •  06-01-2008, 9:40 PM 54018 in reply to 53325

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    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Let me throw in something...

    It hard for me to imagine being integral in the creation of music.  As I understand AQAL to be a way of viewing things from all angles, it would seem that we could assess any existing piece of music from all quadrants, getting into levels within specific musically-oriented lines, and on and on.  In doing so, we may be able to rank two things:

    1.  The degree to which the piece is inherently integral.  For example, take Dylan's "Blowin In The Wind". 
      UL - We can infer from writings, interviews, and such that Dylan was a cynical idealist, and that the internal conflict between those two occupied a lot of his head space.  Moreover, his obvious rejection of conventionality - due to the insufferable nature of the harm done by it - indicates at least a green level of consciousness (at that time).  He might have even had peak experiences in 2nd tier.  Anyhow, that's my swag on his UL, and we could score him fairly highly for this song.  (say a 7 out of 10)
      UR - Dylan did some very innovative things - with his guitar playing, his melody lines, his phrasing, and his themes.  He ranks high on that "line," but he doesn't shatter any records with his basic use of the musical language - as in, the chord progression isn't particularly advanced (an occasional 7th chord, notwithstanding).  So maybe in terms of the external assessment of his music, he gets say a 5.
      LL - Dylan was expressing ideas that others had (or sensed) but often were incapable of sufficiently articulating.  In "Blowin In The Wind," he not only latched onto a shared sensability in a lot of people, he created new, shared sensibilities - hope, in particular, in a fairly depressed populace.  Further, his song succeeded in converting some people who previously did not have any internal reference at all for the angst of the time.  So, on the LL scale, he scores very high - say a 9.
      LR - Dylan could not have been more perfectly situated in the social fabric of the time.  He, no doubt, recognized his influence as a high-attention invidual (read: star), which makes "Blowin In The Wind", an anthem, one that simultaneously expressed the perceived negativity on the part of a growing population and proclaimed that the answers are out there (somewhere).  In the eyes of many, Dylan is the ultimate LR expression of the social situation at that time, so we would rank him very high.  Again, a 9.

    If we average the scores, "Blowin In The Wind" gets a 30 out of a possible 40.  That's a pretty integral tune, I'd say.  Others that might rank highly in one or two but nearly flat-line on the others would not enjoy such a distinction.  (BTW - like all endeavors such as this - arguments aplenty would be expected at any attempt to "score" a given song.  I don't intend to argue this, as it is only meant to be an example.  We'll be ok if it's a bad one.)

    2.  The degree to which the piece is likely to resonate with any given audience.  By digging more carefully into the lower quadrants, paying attention to musically-oriented lines of development, we should be able to make some guess at the which segments (or better, proportions) of the population will find the piece appealing.  For example, if we say that hip-hop has that tribal (or lower-level) beat, then we should expect that it will appeal to a lot more people than some bizarre time signature, though the latter is likely to be more sophisticated (read: developmentally advanced).  Taking the same Dylan song, we would expect (had we no access to real popularity data) that the song would resonate with quite a large audience - given its simple chord progressions, folksy beats, and anti-war theme (which can be seen as an example of a larger common theme - complaining about how things are - i.e. the blues).

    So here we have a couple of ways to perhaps evaluate music in Integral terms.  It might be interesting, but I don't know that we can do it ahead of time and get anywhere.  I guess what I am saying is that good music - i.e. music that fulfills its promise as communicating experience through emotion - cannot be reduced (as in reductionism) to the sum of its parts.  Thus, I fear this exercise is doomed.

    I just keep thinking about how so many factors come into play when it comes to a song's resonance with people that you get to a level of complexity that points to emergence.  So, with all emergent systems, the thing to do is to create the circumstances for it to occur.  And then you roll the dice a zillion times until something amazing happens. 

    So...yes, I think you can save yourself quite a few rolls of the dice by positing a starting point that does not exclude any useful possibilities but throws out that which will surely be nonsense. Perhaps that's really the question here.  If you were going to do that, what would that starting point be?  Is that what you're asking?

    (BTW - I'm not a Dylan fan (taking fan to mean fanatic).  The tune was the first that came to mind. 
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  •  06-02-2008, 1:02 AM 54031 in reply to 54018

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    This is really good!
    There are so many possible ways this can go. I don't think it is doomed at all.
    1. For example, you mention: "I think you can save yourself quite a few rolls of the dice by positing a starting point that does not exclude any useful possibilities but throws out that which will surely be nonsense."
    So, this suggests identifying principles that try to ensure that nonsense or ineffective elements are excluded at the outset as one tries to create a musical piece. This is one line.
    2. Another piece, you have developed below: looking at a piece of music and identifying how well it resonates with what it intended to resonate with, using a four quadrant perspective. This is another line.
    And of course, the first line can be aided by performing the work of the second line. By looking at a piece of music that seems to work, that seems to arrive well at the endpoint it was shooting for, we can see what elements were instrumental in that happening.
    3. Another piece might be to look at the lyrics of a song and assess the developmental altitude that they reflect along various lines.
    Take Blowin' in the Wind. Let's look from cognitive and moral lines to try and determine altitude.
    A man walks down a road. And man becomes a man when he is called a man. How many roads must he walk down before he is called a man? The answer is blowing in the wind.
    How many times must a man look up before he can see the sky? How many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry?
    What kind of man are we talking about? A member of a tribe? A man who can get what he wants through strength? A man who has principle based on what he believes are true principles? A man who is capable of honoring principles, wherever they appear in the world. A man who is all of these things and sees them all as valid but as transcending while including each of those before it?
    To suggest that one can look at the sky without seeing it suggests an awareness of the need for inner awakening, the development of an organ to properly see in a new way. Similarly, hearing the suffering of others with a new ear.
    So, we can say that the singer's perspective, just from these lines, is Zone #2 UL (looking at the inner ability of another man to wake up and be a man who sees and hears anew). And the altitude on the cogntive and moral lines of this perspective may be teal, but we need to look closer at that to distinguish it from green. It seems safe to say that it is not orange (insistence of a universal notion of what a man, the sky, or suffering is).
    So, we have looked at the cognitive and moral lines and they are looking green or even teal (2nd tier). This is based on the complexity and abstraction of the words (blowin in the wind is symbolic and can refer to that which is being passed around in the culture or that which evolution is cooking up for us or that which is uncertain and even unknowable) and on the focus on man as representing all of mankind who needs to develop and become more aware of higher consciousness in being (to be a man), the sky (spiritual), and feeling (suffering).
    We can continue the line of inquiry on other lines of development.
    4. But we then get to the possibility that the inquiry can point at non-lyrical elements of the song.
    The melody, simply the notes alone, is quite simple. Folk-tunish. And the chord pattern is simple.
    From an UR perspective (Zone #6 - my reaction upon hearing his sounds), is there anything that this type of simple melody and simple chord structure evokes as a pure combination of sounds? Does it cause me to have a physical sense of roots, old truths, depth?
    From a LR perspective, same question, but with regard to us collectively. Do we all feel a visceral sense of being around an old campfire, honest, passed down among us?
    From an UL (Zone #2 - my interior subjective sense upon hearing this motif) is there anything that is evoked by this combination of simple melody and simple chords, repeated? Or could we add a couple of 6ths and sus chords? And what might this do or represent with regard to a higher or lower reflection of consciousness on any of the lines? Would it begin to sound clever, or cooked up, or tricky?
    From a LL (Zone #4 - our interior shared) is there anything about this choice of simple melody and chord structure that can be gleaned? Does it remind us of a hymn, a call to arms, a lament? 
    5. So, we turn to the mere choice of instruments.
    Is there anything relevant that can be gained from the choice of a single voice, a guitar, a harmonica? 
    The voice is one man, not many. The harmonica requires breathe (as does the blowing of the wind). The guitar is a humble instrument (not too long ago it was regarded as a lower class instrument, with the strings in the orchestra and then the brass holding the prestigious positions). Would a miked up saxophone fit the song? Would a drum kit? A brass section?
    Which instruments fit which altitudes on which lines?
    6. The tempo. And the time (3/4 - a "collective"-signified time?)
    7. The metric structure of the lyrics (aside from the meaning).
    These are some of the possibilities.
    To summarize:
    1. We take a song.
    2. We look at the following elements:
    lyrics (meaning), melodic and chord structure, instrumentation, tempo/time, metric structure.
    2. We assess each based on what they reflect as the predominant altitude of consciousness on the various lines of development (cognitive, moral, self, emotional, spiritual, kinesthetic, sexual, etc.) as looked at from the four quadrants.
    3.  We also need to look at the question of states of consciousness: what state was the musician in at the time he created and performed the song, and what state does it seem to invoke for us (waking, dreaming, altered ...).
    4. We then try to determine what it appears the musician was trying to do.
    5. We can approximately score the success of how well the musician achieved the purpose.
    6. We can then identify the elements that worked and those that detracted from the purpose.
    You mention that this may be too reductionistic, since the whole of a song is greater than its parts. I am thinking that while there may be no "true" answers in the exercise of assessing the various categories, the effort may lead to major breakthroughs in generating new wholes.
    At a bare minimum, certain principles may become clear about what features generally resonate with various altitudes along various lines, with various states, and from various perspectives.
    I look forward to your comments, and anyone else's as well. I want to try and create a tighter injunction process for this exercise, and then apply it to more songs.
    Before I do that, are there any other features of songs or music that need to be included in the "algorithm?"
    Let me shift gears here just for a second and share something. It may also fit in.
    I have been sitting down with my daughter and talking about the funny way that good songs have melodic form (just the pure direction of the notes) that mirror the emotion that is expressed through the lyrics of a phrase.
    We were talking about Yesterday.
    "Yesterday." The notes on the 2nd and 3rd syllables drop and are held about 4 beats. We are talking about yesterday. Ah, yesterday. Hold that feeling. But what about it?
    "All my trouble's seemed so far away." The voice rises, the spirits are higher, and like a bird moving toward a cloud, the troubles rise and sail away, .. so far away. Can we hold that word "far" just a tad to emphasize "far?" Lennon could. But now?
    "Now it looks as though they're hear to stay." The voice drops, and then the abrupt "here", and back down to the sad present, ground zero. So, how do we feel now?
    "Oh, I believe, in yesterday." And the word yesterday ... rises again. Because yesterday, the trouble's sailed away. Upward.
    Does this have Integral implications? Maybe it does. From an emotional line, the meaning of the lyrics have to correspond with the musical emotionality of the tune. They have to go together. To the degree that the lyrical point is embedded in the pure musicality of the notes and their direction and their sustain and break, there is emotional altitude demonstrated.
    There are plenty of mediocre songs where the message of the lyrics is violated by the musicality of the melody.
    I'll bet there are other elements. Any ideas?

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  •  06-02-2008, 6:59 PM 54115 in reply to 54031

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Hi, Schalk,

    I've been following this thread and appreciating it, but unfortunately the comment that is getting me to join in is your doubtful-sounding question whether those of us writing on my "Integral Frontiers of Sacred Music" thread could actually get together in a room and make moving music, since we seemed to be so stuck in ethereal abstraction.  We were discussing the topic on a board dedicated to theory, as Kerry pointed out, so that's the direction we headed.  But I would like to think that those of us talking actually could make some decent music together.  Maybe not me anymore -- I haven't played an instrument in a number of years now -- but when I was younger, I played in a number of bands, and we crafted songs which did move our audiences.  Rock songs, folks songs, world-fusion instrumentals. 

    So ... that's me defending myself against what seemed like a dismissive remark.  I haven't heard Kerry's music yet, but if it's half as good as his artwork, it's bound to be quite good.

    I think Kerry's remark about eclecticism wasn't a dismissal or "forbiddance" of eclecticism, but just a warning that "Integral music" may not be an additive thing at all.  Although that is a direction we are likely to be tempted to go -- and it was a direction we went on the thread I started, only to realize it was probably a dead end, or at least overly burdened down with presuppositions about what "makes" Integral.

    As I came away from the thread, I realized I don't really know yet what a truly Integral music would be like.  My sense of the "unknownness" of this isn't an elitist, "above the commoners" type of position, though.   Like you, I do like dreaming aloud and brainstorming.  On a forum like this, that's all we can really do.  But my sense is that ultimately, we just have to wait for it to arise, organically, out of this community, as inspired musicians come together and begin to find ways to celebrate the Integral vision we admire and towards which we aspire.

    Best wishes,


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  06-02-2008, 8:41 PM 54123 in reply to 54115

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision


    First of all, I am always honored to be in the presence of a legend, which you are! I can think of few people who have contributed so much truly useful and valuable material to so many on-line. Thanks for doing all of that!

    I read through the posts of the Sacred Music thread. It was clear to me that there are levels of complexity way over my head, but I kept hearing things where I thought: "hey, that could be really, really exciting." But I wasn't hearing how it might be applied at 2:30 on Tuesday while sitting at the piano.

    Regarding my comment on locking everyone up and making music, there is obviously no way for me to know what the musical abilities of the entire group are. I would not want to bet that no music could be made. Or maybe there is one member who plays in the Boston Symphony. S/he could do the whole piece and it would logically belong to the "group." Clearly I could never know this, and the truth of the matter was not so much my point.

    What I was trying to get at is that I am floored, totally dumbfounded, how, in our culture, otherwise cognitively complex people are mortified about the prospect of actually trying to make music. We feel that if we are not virtuosi, we have no business singing or making music. I'll bet a good 60% of the people I know are very uncomfortable singing, even a simple song.

    Why this embarrassment? Is music only for the experts? What is there about music that is so intimidating that one person is mortified to play 2 chord notes on a guitar while another hits a coffee can drum and the 3rd sings like his/her soul is alive?

    Why don't rational adults do this or even try to do it? We are afraid to simply try and paint a soul canvas with sound, simple sound.

    To do it, you have to be "a musician." Everyone is a musician.

    What would happen if you got a group of Integrally minded people together and they spontaneously wove together their musical-aesthetic senses? With a very simple structure. Would it be useful or any good at all?

    There was mention that I used to play this, I used to play that. The fact is - we do play this and that, right? Maybe not well enough to join the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but we can play. Even if we have one finger we can play the piano. Dylan is barely a singer, and look what he was able to do in voicing some of his visions.

    What I was suggesting is that we may find it harder than we think to get a group of otherwise brilliant people to sit down and come up with something so satsifying as say Blowing in the Wind (which is a pretty freaking easy piece of music to write from the standpoint of complexity.) We might not know when to let enough alone, when to cut instead of add, when to keep it simple.

    Kerry's remark about avoiding eclecticism wasn't helpful to me. I think he even said that he was "warning me" not to do it, like there would be some universal wrath released if I made the mistake.

    What is Integral, if not eclectic? I of course can appreciate the kind of mud that comes out of adding everything in a big mosh. So there are choices to be made about selection. What are those choices?

    I have no idea what Integral music means, should mean, or could mean.

    1. Music that inherently contains "integration" (transcendence with inclusion) of every other kind of music? Just in a structural sense? Or from the perspective of the lyrics and their meaning?

    2. Music that is pleasing or useful or evocative for persons attempting to do Integral work?

    3. Music that compels you to confront 2nd Tier consciousness, actually pulling you to the gate?

    4. Music, no matter how mundane, made by 2nd Tier persons? Wilber singing Skip to My Lou? Is that Integral? Maybe. Maybe the very breath of a 2nd Tier person is holy.

    And on and on.

    I think, though, that for starters, we might consider which definition we would want to use.

    I am wondering if there isn't a lot more we can cognitively do to identify governing principles that generally seem to hold true for certain kinds of music. This is already done at 1st Tier E.g. the folk purists had a hard time permitting Dylan to go electric. I haven't heard a lot of accordion in 50Cent's work. And you best not be forgetting the bass with Snoop Dogg.

    And just from the standpoint of lyrics, much of the lyrical writing that tries to evoke 2nd Tier seems to involve the use of abstraction. Peace, love, light, etc. I am wondering if it wouldn't be more effective to engage in particulars? I don't know.

    1st Tier music (again, whatever that means) seems, when it is good, to employ certain devices. I wonder if the creators even know why, from an Integral standpoint, those devices work. Might we apply Integral theory to explain why certain things work. (Think of the students chanting in Pink Floyd's The Wall or the Queen chant in We Will Rock You.) We have loud, unison, chanting in two songs that involve a wall and a rock! Busting through the gross level? Is there some validity to understanding an amber reading of those terms as a literal wall and a literal rock?

    It would be pretty ambitious to try and create a hit factory here at the Integral Forum. But there seems to be a whole lot of useful things to say about how music is made when it is done well, the elements and principles that make it work, how they fit into an Integral map, etc.

    And heck, just for starters, couldn't there be one song that contains both lyrics and music that weave the 5 major color-stages in a clear way so that the listener can hear the progression from magenta consciousness, both words and music, to red, amber, orange, and green, and then who knows what the Teal answer would be to that. Should the instrument representing Teal be a Tuba? Or an angelic voice? Why? What is wrong with a Tuba speaking for Teal?

    That might be the most useful approach to Integral Music. Presenting Integral theory in common language with appropriate instrumentation.

    Or a song that contains the 8 perspectives of the quadrants. You can have call and answer that would create morphogenesis in the culture for the AQAL map.

    Or a song that delves into the co-validity of the lines of development. How would one represent the moral, emotional, aesthetic, sexual, spiritual .. lines?

    What would we need to hear in a singing voice to have a palpable sense that we are hearing Teal consciousness? Would we have to be Teal to hear it? Or could it be like a harp sending its sounds down the valley to us? We're not there, we can't see it, but it sounds real nice?

    Caveman made some really valuable contributions to using Integral to assess a song. It seems like he was suggesting a sort of musico-graph for determing the altitude of a song. We could reverse engineer the results of that work and create principles for replicating the product.

    In summary, just as the Integral vision has had a radical impact on religion, philosophy, psychology, etc. I am wondering if it isn't proper to try and extend that to the art of music making. I don't see why it is not a legitimate extension.  

    Again, thanks for all of the contributions you have made and hope to hear more from you Balder!



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  •  06-02-2008, 10:50 PM 54133 in reply to 54123

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Thanks again Schalk, and thanks balder for your kind comments,

    Maybe I can find a kinder way to say what I meant.

    I love the idea of reverse engineering in order to produce optimal arts. For me this requires a working view of how forms come about, of what comprises a form and what the 'lineage', or pattern-sourses of that form may be. Frankly it's been very difficult for me to explore this and feel like I'm free of the myth of the given.

    The 'eclectic' that I try to stear clear of myself is the kind of aggregating that aspires to be all to all. I've come to view the unfolding of musical forms as heavily influenced by specific mundane factors.

    For instance: J.S.Bach's development of the fugal form. There's a guy who, for most days of his adulthood, performed the chore of gathering kindling for a nearby estate. Putting ourselves in his shoes, imagine what a relief that spell of meandering might have been for him. In whatever state he performed that task, he was (thinking in his shoes,here) functionally focused on some simple basic features of his environment. Among these were the fractal forms of trees, and the visual/auditory correspondence between the diameter of a twig, where in the tree-form the twig sprang, where it gets snapped, and the note produced thereby. Imagining the persistance of that habit of gathering wood and what that might have meant in his own sensory life, I am not surprised that he sprouted fugues like there was no tomorrow.

    An important part of what I caution myself from is surveying diversity and sythethizing a unity. I'd rather notice where things fit and pay attention to what integration might already be presented [myth-o-th-given allert]. Of course my view gets skewed by my own fragmentedness, but I find it helpful to re-present only that which presents.

    Altitude,or the ability to place [noun] at an altitude, seems so complex to me. We've got musicians like Thelonious Monk, heard here playing his Epistrophy in Denmark in '66, who, when challenged by a concert pianist who began to ridicule his "altitude" one night at a club, responded by playing a piece by Tchaikovsky (as was planted in his performative memory during his studies at Juliard).

    Did Monk transcend and include Tchaikovsky? What might that concert pianist have transcended and included if he was, as was reported, clueless as to the value of Monk's idiosyncratic, post-conventional and fluidly evolving style, let alone able to replicate it. It's such a moving set of targets. Monk (credited as a founding "modernist")'s altitude was also impacted or influenced by his progressively degenerative brain disease.

    Bob Dylan (once my neighbor) had what appeared to me to be a solid amber / fundamentalist phase most of a decade after Blowing in the Wind. I recall a clear red response from him to a LIFE article on himself.

    My alti-meter may not be up and running just yet, but I find it worthwhile to refrain from persuing the transrational with a rational approach; to allow intuition the room it deserves to state what it will.

    gratefull to you, Schalk,


    'takes all kinds.
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  •  06-02-2008, 11:40 PM 54137 in reply to 54133

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision


    The Bach reference is exquisite. Thanks for that! Would that be an example of a kinesthetic line influencing an aesthetic line? And the two of them influencing a cognitive line (let's create a fugue?).

    I am in full agreement with you that a "works" type of pizza with a pinch of everything is probably just a bad idea.

    But, wouldn't you agree that the We Are the World project came off surprisingly well? All of these diverse performers, different genres, joined around a fairly similar melody, but just lifting off into what was really a new domain. Based on a notion that is worldcentric?

    I think that single song did a lot to plant seeds that moved amber to orange.  

    Imagine getting musicians that represent each stage of consciousness development and having them play together around a common motif, with each expressing the theme or guiding principle of their stage, and then having a 2nd tier voice make order of them. Metallica, Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, and Iasos, for example. Couldn't that be cool? And useful?

    Form demands boundaries and choices on what to exclude. The background and the silence and the instrument not played are critical.

    I very much want to not give up on the possibility of using cognition to make sense of what may seem to be transrational or intuitive. The signifiers may not be true, but they can be useful.



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  •  06-03-2008, 12:42 AM 54143 in reply to 54137

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision


    " example of a kinesthetic line influencing an aesthetic line?"

    Not exactly, or directly. I can't know how well Bach snapped sticks but we can safely say that his keyboarding influenced his twig breaking and vice versa.

    I'd say that that is an example of Nature influencing Self, in turn influencing Culture, so, there's the main domains not being inter-reduced, but co-informing together.

    Since this thread began I've been enjoying looking again at this interplay of I/We/It(s) in regards to a, a what, a developmental musicology. 'Trying to get at how music got this way, and from t/here 'look where it's going'.

    My central questions re: Music and the Integral Vision continue to center on how the biosphere might have it's say in our aesthetic progress. How the LR presents patterns which the UR become 'carriers of' (through ededic presence) and which are represented in the subjective and intersubjective quads.

    Whatever the processes are which shape human musics I'd also guess that these don't necessarily begin in any one quadrant, but are 'picked up on' by different musicians at different times, at any point in the flows of influence.

    all for now,


    'takes all kinds.
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  •  06-03-2008, 8:51 AM 54177 in reply to 54143

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Hi, Schalk,

    Thank you for your comments about my contributions to the online Integral community.  That caught me by (pleasant) surprise.  And thank you also for luring me back to post again in the Multiplex...

    I am not at all opposed to eclecticism in music.  In fact, I tend to be attracted to musicians who bring unexpected instruments or approaches or genres together.  Almost 20 years ago, after I was exposed to a number of different forms of music I'd never heard before in a music appreciation class, I began to dream and brainstorm about "world music" ensembles that would bring different instruments (and artforms, such as dance and shadow theater) together.  If I had stayed more fully on track with the development of my own musical line, I would probably be working actively to realize that vision right now.  (Instead, I'm enjoying talking about it with you!). 

    But thinking and talking about "integral (sacred) music" on the other thread, I began to realize that this movement to combine different instruments and genres wouldn't necessarily make the music "integral" -- someone could just as easily do it from an Orange or Green center of gravity, for instance.  So, I began to wonder ... what would a uniquely Integral music look like?

    Part of a music's "integralness" might be communicated through lyrics -- the messages that are communicated, the themes that are evoked.  Or you might create certain Integrally informed compositions, such as a long orchestral piece that takes time to unfold through different v-Memetic expressions of music, finally weaving all of the elements together at the end.  Or you might just have an eclectic, v-Meme-sampling style overall, writing albums that span a range of moods, technical styles, themes, and genres.  (For instance, a couple years ago, I had an idea for a new genre of Integral Travelers' Tales, where you would collect tales which evoke, from the inside, what each v-Memetic world is like, with an AQAL map at the front of each piece, letting you know where you'd be travelling internally as well as externally.  You could do something similar with an album of music -- maybe not "mapping" the songs, but just feeling free to explore a wide range of themes, moods, and styles on an album or in a body of work.)  And of course there are many other approaches possible, as well -- very many I am sure I haven't thought of yet.  On the other thread, I believe we discussed the performative aspect of music -- with "Integral" entering that way, in the active performance (mindset, affect, behavior) of the musicians, and also possibly in the ways the music is "realized" (with other supportive media).

    I hear you with regard to our culture's fixation on experts and our "fear" of musical expression.  I did express shyness/embarrassment about my the state of my own musical skills now, and that definitely does plug in to this overall cultural attitude.  But I have stepped out of that attitude (and enjoyed it!) on many occasions.  I recall how impressed I was in Indonesia by the communal nature of the music there.  In villages, there would be a central pendopo (sort of like a gazebo) where musical instruments were kept, and adults and children would gather together in the evenings to play.  The adults would practice and play various pieces, but children would be all around them, also playing instruments, dancing, joining in in their own ways.  It was wonderful.  And I experienced something like this in my own life, when I lived in a log cabin out near the national forest lands in Arizona.  Many people would gather at my house every evening and we would cook together, eat outside watching the sun set over the canyons, and then we would go inside and play music together for a couple hours -- often by candlelight, with the sound of our instruments punctuated by cricketsong and the howls of coyotes.  No one was a "professional" musician, some had no practice or training at all.  But I had a house full of instruments and we put them all to use.

    I loved Kerry's reflection on Bach's wood collecting duties in relation to his music.  Exquisite, indeed.  Thinking about how I-We-It/s have influenced the development of music, I am reminded how music often is a reflection of the natural worlds in which it is born.  In so many traditional forms, the instruments and vocal styles have developed actively and intentionally as an "echo" of the natural world in which the musicians lived -- as they attempted to replicate the voices of animals, the pattern and flow of the elements.  Even modern music like techno does this.  The "eclectic" impulse, I believe, is a reflection of this as well, since now our "worldspace" includes so much of the world -- so much of its various histories and geographies and cultural forms.  So, I think eclecticism can be a natural element of "integral music," even if "Integral" itself isn't simply the result of a deliberate effort to make an "everything pizza," as you say.

    Best wishes,


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  06-03-2008, 9:48 AM 54190 in reply to 54143

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision


    We can agree - Bach was probably a very awesome twig breaker.

    My question is - after breaking a twig at 0821 on Monday morning near the creek, he had to sit down at 0934 on Monday morning and compose a fugue. What mechanism allowed him to translate the "sense" of the twig breaking into the form of the fugue?

    By the way, I like the idea that one would train on the clavier in order to be a better twig breaker. "Julliard has produced more excellent rock skippers than any other school on the East Coast!"

    I am wondering if Bach had the sense of twig breaking in his nerves and bones like an open program. If his entire body was not carrying the data of twig breaking in a unified, booted way in his bodily OS.

    I am wondering if it is useful to explore the role of the kinesthetic and the spiritual lines in together leading the actual creation of music. Call it the "bodily soul sense" just for simplicity sake.

    We can readily see that some of us have a better developed bodily soul sense. Some are able to translate spiritual experience (at any level of development!) more coherently and faithfully through the body in the form of music. (Altitude)

    Also, there are times when a person's own bodily soul sense is more or less awakened. Sometimes we can be in a groove, and other times just plain flat. (State access)

    To be more present in demonstrating the altitude we inhabit, we have to get "present" in an awakened state where the bodily soul sense is activated.

    When we marshal and focus our awareness, bringing a spiritual attitude (the 4th sense Wilber uses, call it deep passion) to the act, we can coherently and vibrantly give life to the soul (spirit) as it is modulated through our body.

    We all know that to effectively bring forth the bodily soul sense in music, we need to sense the unity of the whole structure we are trying to translate in the body. There is an overall package or form that we must start with and adhere to, or the parts just fly off in different directions. And we have to be "filled out" with that form in order to faithfully translate it into music.

    This sense of the unity as felt in the body (twig fractals, etc.) then pre-forms a groove of sorts which we simply follow in the creation of the music. We when play music, we have already created and formed the music. It is loaded and is simply allowed to "play." We project our already-sensed-in-the-body soul through the musical instruments of voice, etc. And we can spontaneously tweak and flourish and alter the unified piece as it is playing through us (improvisation). But if we get caught up in the improv and forget the unity of the piece as a whole, we unravel. At that point it becomes a study in our psychograph form rather than in the translated form of spirit through the body.

    The mind and the body must be in unity, speaking to each other. And most importantly, we must be keenly aware of what they are saying and how each is representing the message of the other.

    So, we start with any event or experience on any line or in any state. We sense that it merits translation into musical form. We get to know the feeling of the spiritual fingerprint of the event or experience. And we then allow it to fill out our body. Making our crotch hot. Or our feet happy. Or our arms expansive. Or our torso sway. Our heart open. Our third eye beam. Our fingers shoot divinity. And on and on. We shouldn't be surprised when our body wants to move in odd ways, this is the spirit filling us out and unkinking us like a million little hoses.

    What is there in the world that cannot be accessed using a spiritual line of knowing? And what is there that cannot be translated from the spirit through a soul messenger into the body? And what is there in the world of events and experiences on any line at any altitude in any state that does not have its own unique and exquisite signature bodily soul sense?

    And my point is that 80% of the map of the human experience is not being translated! We have red emotionality coming out the wazoo! We have amber sexuality coming out of our ears! We have orange morality coming out of our ... How about green morals? Or teal cognition? Or turquoise self sense? These all can be translated by a soul-kinesthesia mechanism into absolutely stunning music.

    I am trying to get a sense of the basic injunctions to follow that would allow the Integral theory guide the creation of music that would properly be Integrally-attributed.

    Maybe a starting point in development would be to take one note on one instrument. Create a one note "song" that reflects the bodily soul sense of an event at a given line altitude and state. Really try to envision others assimilating the sound and thereby feeling with you at the moment of creation the specific bodily soul sense. Give it a few key words just to keep it cognitively clear and specific.

    One can strike a chord on a piano and there is a sense whether it was struck with full passionate awareness of translating this bodily soul sense through the fingers, into the keys and hammers and into the strings. I like to think of piano playing as hammering on strings instead of pushing down on keys. It helps me to remember that the piano does not know white and black keys, it simply has many, many strings strung in a line waiting to be hammered. I am making the strings ring with the sense I already have in my body of what my soul is asking to reveal.


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  •  06-03-2008, 11:47 AM 54219 in reply to 54177

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision


    Some people are shy about giving compliments. I am not. When I read what you write, it is like the clouds break over the world. You are eminently coherent, you get to the heart of the intent of the matter, you evolve an idea to a new and refreshing position, and one feels that there are people in the world who are more awake. This is important for me - to have the sense that what instinctively matters to me is actually important in the Kosmos and that what I am paying attention to has been recognized as useful by others who are clearly worthy of being emulated.  

    Your comments in black: "But thinking and talking about "integral (sacred) music" on the other thread, I began to realize that this movement to combine different instruments and genres wouldn't necessarily make the music "integral."

    "Sacred" connotes consecration, religious rites, and deity worship. I am wondering if this word doesn't limit us.

    Wilber points out that one valid use of the word spiritual is to refer to the highest levels of development along any line. Another valid use is in reference to the spiritual line itself, at whichever altitude. And then there is a 3rd reference to a spiritual state. And lastly, there is simply an attitude which we also might call love or compassion that is brought to any endeavor.

    I am thinking that an Integral orientation to music creation and appreciation should account for all of those events and experiences that most of us would not even think to call sacred. But, in the fourth sense above, the translation of the event, from the immediate sense of its soul as a unity, into the body as a feeling sense, and then into the music, there would be a necessary passion or love to do it right. Which would make the act sacred or spiritual.

    Otherwise, if we let it get "bagged" as spiritual or sacred music, many people will think, OK, this is music that floats at the highest levels of development (which is not for me), or, this is spiritual line music (and I want to engage the sexual or emotional line right now), or this is altered state music (and I want to listen to it while driving in the car on the way to a meeting). So, perhaps Integral music should be clearly spiritual in the 4th sense that it requires the passionate attention in creation and in listening.  

    "Part of a music's "integralness" might be communicated through lyrics -- the messages that are communicated, the themes that are evoked.  Or you might create certain Integrally informed compositions, such as a long orchestral piece that takes time to unfold through different v-Memetic expressions of music, finally weaving all of the elements together at the end."

    I agree! The lyrics could reference the world as seen through the various stages of development, from different quadrant perspectives, different states, along different lines. There are so many possible combinations, and if done right, any one of them could be exhiliarating.

    My sense is that Integral music could make the Beatles look like a horse and buggy looks to the pilot of a spaceship. It might have been an awesome buggy, but ...

    The Beatles "Day in the Life" is a model I think that could provide the framework for what you are alluding to. But rather than trotting out the Zone #6 third person perspective of a Zone #5 UR series of events (he woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across his head), you make it a Zone #6 and Zone #2 combination of perspectives on the Zone #1 or Zone #3 interior events of individuals or collectives ... at each level of consciousness development.

    If this eclectic, I would want more of it.

    Thinking about the Beatles, I have the sense that the reason they are perceived as so legitimate and eternal is that they wove structures and instruments from the world of classical music into their pieces. In essence, George Martin made what would otherwise have been a really good club band into a group that now sits in the Pantheon with Shakespeare and Michelangelo.

    I am thinking - the orchestral elements supported or provided the backdrop in many cases for the emergence of the Beatles' voices and licks. This exactly mirrors what society was doing in the 60s. The awakening vision of the youth sprung forth from the foundation of traditional values.

    And then George Harrison brought in raga sound which did the same thing and brought the Beatles from orange to green.

    This is the kind of idea I am suggesting can be explored. How to make the Rolling Stones gain the legitimacy and endurability of the Beatles, for example. London Philharmonic anyone? Metallica with a gamelon?

    Imagine an Integral song. You take the magenta and red grooves of Jay-Z sound and they serve as the backdrop just as classical music and instruments served as the backdrop for the Beatles. It would absolutely sear with truth that everyone knows! One cannot live with Jay-Z alone, but we need Jay-Z at one level. He is the platform that allows us to go to X.

    "For instance, a couple years ago, I had an idea for a new genre of Integral Travelers' Tales, where you would collect tales which evoke, from the inside, what each v-Memetic world is like, with an AQAL map at the front of each piece, letting you know where you'd be travelling internally as well as externally."

    Absolutely. I recently publ