The Enigma of Music

In his lecture on the ‘Enigma of Shakespeare’, Jorge Luis Borges notes how “Shakespeare had the power to multiply himself marvelously”. Shakespeare’s characters, from major to incidental, are so well formed and pivotal to his vision. Borges concludes that “to think of Shakespeare is to think of a crowd”. He is everybody and nobody at the same time.

The best composers are enigmas in this way. In Schubert, thousands of feelings and characters are whirling around, sometimes in just one movement. Closer to our times, John Zorn’s aural universe encompasses chamber music to jam bands and everything in between.

Perhaps to think of music is to think of a crowd. Music runs an almost infinite spectrum of possibilities. Anyone that partakes in music chooses to explore this spectrum; chooses to be a crowd.

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