Body, guitar, grief, nothing, things, waves, Pythagoras, notes everyone sings

We all have the same notes. If you’re anywhere in the post-Greek world, you’re under the Pythagorean measures for what notes and intervals are. No one actually sings those notes in those exact intervals unless they train for years, of course. But his standards are the closest to any way of talking about the different notes everyone sings. It’s nice to think of everyone going “hmmmmmm” the way I hear it in my head right now is humming somewhere around a C. Not exactly in the wavelengths required for it to be a precise C unless you are a singer trained in the Western traditions of singing. But close. Totally made up. C doesn’t exist, of course. But the actual notes people hit were not the big deal in the pythagorean scale. IT’s the intervals. That’s where it is. In the spaces between the vibrations we make with our bodies. How much to walk up and down and from where. Music is like a geography of the body. From here to here because that’s where you wanna go. The path is what you’re going.

The guitar–the same guitar–has been in my life for almost 20 years now (17-18). She’s like my own body. Not in a romanticized way. I mean like bodies actually feel: we hate them, we feel uncomfortable in them, they make us ache, they ware down, but they are you. The vibration, the physical vocabulary with which you make the vibrations to the outside world. That’s what a body does. My vocabulary with my guitar is enormous. I can play other instruments, make the notes, learn the intervals… but none of them is like my body like the guitar is. Even the drums are an expression of things I learned with the guitar.

I just changed the saddle bone and the nut in my guitar. They were the originals. They were from when I was 9. I got it because my grandpa had died. My mom talked to the music teacher. He’d said before that I was too little and I couldn’t handle the guitar, so he’d made me do keyboard instead. I remember walking out of the first guitar class. It was it. I understood why the keyboard had felt fake even though it was fun: it didn’t vibrate like wood and strings did. It wasn’t real. The guitar I could hold on my lap. I was so little I couldn’t wrap my arm around it. I played it laying it across my lap like a spaghetti western. I remember one day realizing I wanted to play like a grown up, so I straightened it.

I nearly destroyed it as a teenager. Just like my body. It came back to me like magic after I had abandoned it. Just like my body.

Longest relationship I’ve ever had.

I’ve been dreaming, two nights in a row: first that my mom had died, then my uncle. I’m afraid tonight it’s gonna be my dad. Even if I don’t dream it, I get the message. Things from my past are losing their bodies. Grandpa, grandma, somewhere in the next decade, very conceivably during my Ph.D., my parents. Who knows where my brother is going. My nationality, my religion (always ephemeral)… Whenever I do music, that’s the only chance for these things to exist again… in the vibrations that I make. Because vibrations are made by bodies, but they carry things that are not in bodies anymore.

I will need to be a thing other people are too if I want to be with someone. A religion. A country. But until then, while my body is making these vibrations that carry the disembodied things from before and the things from later, I can have the same notes we all make and vibrate things with them. Just like that song, AIde Jano. I think it says something like “let’s sell it all, let’s go dancing.” I can’t dance. But I’d play the song for people to dance to. I’m the provider of vibrations. A lone body amidst the movement of disembodied things. Things that I love.

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