MUSIC AS MEDITATION

Music for me can take on many forms.I play for many reasons,mainly because I love music.I love the high,the beautiful place it takes me,the feeling during and after I play.
This to me is meditation.Being in the moment and at one with my own being.
No thoughts just allowing the music to come through me.

There are some techniques I use and have discovered on this musical journey,some of which I will discuss in the next section.

MANTRAS

A mantra is a sound which is repeated over and over until one begins to experience ones own inner being,or arrives at a point of identification with the here and now.There are no thoughts in this state of being, the mantra fills the conciousness completely.
In these terms anything can become the mantra,simply by repeating this action with total attention.The most basic mantra is OM,however one can use more complex mantras,with different vibrational frequencies which allow one to experience other levels of conciousness.
In my music I use melodic phrases,arpegios and rhythms as mantras.

RHYTHM

Most popular music is in time signatures of 4,2 (marching music,Sambas etc) or 3 (waltz).This keeps most people locked into the 4,2 and 3 conciousness.
In the late 60's I began experimenting and composing in unusual time signatures (5,6,7,9,10.11.12.13.15 & 19). I discovered that each one had it's own magical quality.
Complex rhythms need deeper concentration, and when they are repeated for a long time, one dives to deeper and deeper levels of conciousness.
When I am playing on my own I usually begin the mantra on the guitar and later the voice enters while the mantra (arpegio) is maintained on the guitar.The voice is free to improvise,spontaneously creating melodies and textures. In this way the mantra continues while one travels to various levels.

RAGAS and MODES

Ragas are the basis to the classical music that has evolved in India.It is spiritual music that is sometimes very complex in rhythm and structure,such as played by masters like Ravi Shankar.This music is linear or horizontal. There is only one melody played or improvised while a single drone note vibrates continually. This music is mostly modal ie. it is in one key and there are no key changes.Western music is chordal or vertical (as well as horizontal) ie. it has several notes played at the same time,which form chords.These chords can change with the melody(or melodies) and the music may also change keys.
Each raga uses different scales ("thats"), some being very strange to our Western conditioned ears. Each scale has a different affect on our physical,mental and spiritual body. These ragas have evolved over centuaries and there are ragas for different times of the day each affecting the various chakras (psychic nerve centres).
The ragas I play are not strictly ragas in the classical sense,since all I utilise is the scale upon which the raga is based.So in Western language I actually play modes or modally.
Having played and experimented with these scales for many years I have developed a sense of how they affect my being and emotions. I have found them to be very powerful tools in healing,relaxing and in energy moving.
Mostly I tune my guitar open.This is a way of tuning so that I can strum the guitar without placing the fingers of my left hand on the fretboard.The guitar has a droney sound with a few strings tuned to the basic key note in which I am playing.I use different tunings for the various ragas and create mantras (arpegios,rhythms and melodic phrases) to keep me in the present and which form a basis upon which I improvise and return.
Basically if I'm playing with other musicians we decide in which key we're playing and then choose the notes in the scale.The rest is improvised.

I do workshops which deal with the above topics.
For more information on any of the above,feedback,links,comments,enquiries contact :tarshito@hotmail.com

LINKS

http://www.the-insight.com/spirituality/dreams/


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