Music and Philosophy

Ideas about music and life

Here I want to share some essential ideas to music and it´s relation, meaning and effect to life.


I feel and I´m deeply convinced that everything is related or connected with each other. Music starts where words end and it is one medium (or language) which stimulates our mind, heart and soul and also our physical body. For me music is the center of my life since I am a small child and I studied (and still do) all aspects of music, it´s structure, psychology, the historical and social developement and influences etc.since then. Only who devotes himself completely and deeply to music can become a real artist.


Music can illustrate every aspect of life and my aim is to be able to express this as precise as possible. This is one reason why I am not connected to only one music style. Every style depends on it´s historical and social context. Music as an universal way of expression needs to be related to all of this, but in the same moment it should be independent and timeless.


For me music transforms to a fine art when concepts (like time, good and bad, etc.) desolve and musicans and listener will just remain in resonance. It is a moment of infinity and spirituality and maybe - for the ones who believe - a religous revelation, but at least it should be entertaining and inspiring.


To reflect about this ideas and to show my approach to music and life more precisely I want to share some of my concepts here.

I would be glad about response, critics, further ideas or inspiring impulses!

Dissent and integrative consent - a music philosophical study

 In this video I want to demonstrate the relation between dissonance and harmony in music and other (logical) concepts such as social, cultural or religious systems in 3 short examples. It shows how dissent or consent will occur between two arguing parties (relying on the same concept) depending on how they meet each other.

 As musical device I use the pentatonic scale. It contains 5 notes which stay in a harmonic relation to each other. All notes can be played at the same time and will amount to harmony. It has no gender (minor or major) itself but both gender are contained in it. It is also a universal musical concept as it is one (and maybe the only) commonness of all music cultures in this world.

Example 1: Pentatonic Dissent1
One hand plays the pentatonic scale in D sharp (minor) the other hand the same in E (minor). In the beginning I play the same note related to each scale with each hand, but they have a slightly different base - a half note. This notes are contiguous to each other. It sounds completely dissonant, no melodic structure and also no harmony is recognizable.
Both hands use the same concept and play the same notes related to their own system but it is total disharmonious because the fundamental note is different. And the difference is the lowest possible in music: A half note. 
 Even a small shift in base leads to total misunderstanding and complete clash of harmony. The more one hand insists on its opinion the other hands feels provoked to do so and it starts a fight for the right without any chance of conclusion or agreement but both parts use the same arguments and concept: a pentatonic scale system. Even if I change the base between the hands (left hand D sharp and right hand E) it has no remarkable effect as long as they don´t rely on the same base.

 The same conflict shows up in our life quite often. If it is between individuals (like couples or colleagues) or between nations or social, religious or political systems: Even if they use the same arguments or similar concepts, as long as there are some fundamental differences it leads usually to conflicts. Often the only solution is to find a compromise what usually means to find overlaps between both concepts. But sometimes there are no, like in our musical example.
Both are pentatonic scales but they don´t share any note. Although the structure itself is identical in every way, the different ground leads to a complete dissonance.
Interesting: Sometimes I play accidentally some fitting notes in this heated debate, but in this confusion it will not be recognized or there is no place for harmony anymore in this situation.

Example 2: Pentatonic Dissent 2
This examples shows the same effect as example1 and goes a little bit further.
First both hands want to work together and try to play the same melodic phrases but neither accordance nor unity come up. Later they just ignore each other and play chords each in it´s own key. It sounds even worse and sounds somehow chaotic.

That shows if whole structures or systems meet but have no common ground, unity or accordance is impossible even if they want to work together. If they just ignore each other, chaos will come up.
If you compare this effect to systems which are much more complex than a five tone scale it shows the problem clearly. Even the integration of a single individual, argument (or music note) will not work this way.

 There is one more very interesting effect: In both examples the peaceful sound of a pentatonic scale is not really recognizable (except in the beginning of example 2 where I play the same melodies with both hands. The melodic concept is common but appears corrupted.) It shows the destructive effect to each system as long as they are clashing without searching for harmony.

 One possibility would be assimilation what means transposing the individual, note or melody completely into the new system. But that means total loss of identity of the weaker part and is no solution and usually not possible or preferable. It is a totalitarian idea.

Example 3: Integrative Consent
 We live in a globalized and pluralistic world what means we have plenty of value systems and concepts to deal with permanently. We have to find a way to respect and tolerate different value systems or ideas (what does not mean we completely accept or agree) without losing or changing our own ideals. Here it means how to find harmony between the E and D sharp pentatonic scale.

 Integrative Consent is one possible solution to find harmony: I start playing the D sharp pentatonic in the right hand, then I add notes of the E pentatonic one after the other in my left hand and try to integrate them harmonically. My right hand still only plays notes of the D sharp pentatonic but leaves out that notes which would clash with the left hand notes instead of insisting on playing all 5 notes.

The listener will hear clearly: There is harmony! Why?
The combination of both systems will develop to a complete new system. Born out of two pentatonic scales new, different structured scales will appear. Every combination will lead to complete different sounding and surprising results. Call it metamorphose or evolution, sure is, it sounds right and feels good!

The trick is: One system just avoids to stress out the disharmonious clashing notes. Later I sometimes add them again without disturbing the harmony. If the ear is already used to the new harmonic environment these notes just broaden the horizon.
Moreover the left hand is not forced to play the same melody or rhythm like the right hand. It´s just there...

It is important to stress out, that both parts do not need to change structurally and don´t need to find similarities! A minority, an individual note can develop a majority into something completely new, more complex and - as you hear - always beautiful, enjoyable and enriching. There is harmony in every moment of example 3!

After the left hand played all notes of the E pentatonic scale one after the other combined to the halftone different scale in the right hand, my left hand plays all the possible 12 notes combined with still the same D sharp pentatonic scale in my right hand. 
Actually it doesn´t matter what my left hand does or is. It matters how the other part reacts to it. If there is a will for harmony it is very easy way to get it.

Shortly: It depends on MOTIVATION (trying to find harmony), EMPATHY (first listen to the other part and try to understand, then take action or argue), and TIMING (when or when NOT to play/stress out certain notes/issues) if dissent or consent appears.
It does NOT depend on the same system, values or base.

This example shows the concept of integrative consent in a musical improvisation between two 5 note scales (and later a 5 note and a 12 note scale). It works with all combination of scales and can not only integrate individual notes. As soon as you hear harmony you will find more fitting notes in both parts. If both act like this, harmony is guaranteed!
 It is possible to “weave” new scales and harmonies out of several different scales. I call this technique of improvising and composing “scale weaving” and  I will demonstrate it more detailed in a further video. It will show the fluent process from integration over weaving scales up to a  complete fusion of scale systems.