Juan Gris, “Guitare sur une table,” from 1916, at Helly Nahmad. Credit via Helly Nahmad Gallery.
Yea, though I walk through the shadow of the cloud of unknowing, I shall fear no malaise, for thy clef and thy stave, they comfort me.
I pause from the demented abstraction of this serialized soliloquy, this goofy guide, to reflect that what it is, actually, is praying — a beseeching of the Inner Power enfolded in the gray matter to grant me long musical life during which to unfuddle prior musical life.
It’s a form of prostration unseemly in better calibrated souls. It grovels for enlightenment in a manner similar to the ostentatious self-abasement of flagellating zealots in olden times.
It’s a quest for absolution from the sin of blind adherence to finger-fucking the fretboard in lieu of understanding the fretboard and melding with it in brain-sourced rites of hard discipline.
It’s an act of penance over having fallen for pusillanimous, bankrupt, complacent teachers who catered to delusions of chumps like me: “Sweet Home Alabama” was at our fingertips if we fingered just so, they purred.
It’s a striving to pay the same attention to fretboard position that we pay to not falling over when we walk — little or none. O Inner Power, let me swoop irreflexively, unerringly, to the note at 3-10F or 5-5D. Guide my finger.
It’s hapless effrontery, whether relieved or not with silliness like this. The truth is that, to the passerby, these mantric soundings towards a contrived musicology are as dry as dust, like Judges or the Book of Numbers.
To be sure, I don’t know what the praying does for me, but it does something. It steadies me. In the pregnant nocturnal silences I’m like, Musician, guide thyself, or whatever.
And there you have it. It’s time to see how naturally occurring diatonic semitones (NODS) can expand indwelling fretboard awareness — coming next.
(c) 2019 JMN