the now of hearing
September 27, 2010 § 1 Comment
From the side of the room, the witness sees only parts of the muscians. She sees the left hand of the guitarist, his fingers moving over the frets and strings like the flicker of fish glimpsed in the sunlight. She sees the right hand of the keyboard player as it lifts and dips from view to strike many notes. The witness is puzzled. It appears that the striking of the notes occurs before she hears the sound: the now of playing seems disconnected from the now of hearing. She allows her gaze to travel along the player’s hand and arm, noting the small muscles and the large muscles that coordinate the improvised piece, and settle on his dark head bowed over the playing. She wonders how far in advance the neural impulses in that dark head are firing to action the fingers to move and strike the chosen notes that then travel through the speakers and into the space to be heard in her awareness. Suddenly, it seems that when mind tries to grasp the now it is already a memory; like the flicker of fish in the sunlight. Her attention moves, is drawn to the rise and fall of the breath of the flugelhorn.