An interview with Tomás Marco

This post is also available in: Spanish

In some of your texts you compare musical activity with Science or Philosophy, which try to define the relation between man and world.

Yes, I think so, it’s an approach to the world like any other activity that people do or have done historically. We are always with this burden of the two cultures, Science against Humanities, and I think that we have to get over itC somehow because it’s fake. It’s fake until nearly the end of the 18th Century. After that they did split because of the circumstances. I think they shouldn’t remain apart. Music is an approach to the world, knowledge of the world. Art and artistic activity are generally a way of knowing the world, different to that of science, but no bigger, no smaller. In fact, there’s people even in the scientific field, mostly in neuroscience, that are discovering that even at some stages in art, some neurological mechanisms work like artists believed it to work, it is now established that they do work exactly like the artists thought. By this I don’t mean that art is an anticipation of science, but that it is a way to knowledge from another point of view and praxis.

Nowadays, many people believe that the sight is the predominant sense, like taste was in the Greek time. ¿Was hearing ever the predominant one?

Actually, it’s not that one of the senses prevails over the others but that at some point some results have been more valuable or bigger, that’s why we think that it has been produced like that. But we have, for example, literature. It doesn’t belong, in principle, to one of the senses like taste or smell. At the end, though, a huge monument like À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past) emerges from a combination between taste and smell, like the moment about the cupcake, that sparks off a whole river of novel. It is indeed true that in these moments we are heading towards a more visual civilization, but it’s because the visual lure is all around. From advertising to roads or television everywhere, or the Internet. But I think, anyway, to pretend that just one sense has dominated the others or has been the most important one would be an impoverishment. General knowledge, scientific mostly, leads to perfect the senses. Senses are learned throughout history and I think they all learn, not just one of them.

When Galileo claims he can see the sunspots, the Dominican order criticizes the fact that he can’t be sure that nature is exactly the same as seen through an instrument.

This objection was made in bad faith and from another point of view, but it’s absolutely true from a scientific point of view. Any observation device modifies observation. That we have known for a long time, but we can’t fight it. Any experience of reality is a mediated experience, not only by the devices, but for our own senses. We always interpret what the senses bring us. What we see, we can’t guarantee what we see but how our brain interprets a range of information that arrives through the eyes. As happens with the hearing and everything else. And, in the human case, it shows in certain frequencies and not in others. We know that dogs can hear frequencies that we don’t hear and that certain animals see in black and white or in a different way we do. This leads to the subjectivity of the senses and to consider carefully the vision we have of a reality that we tend to miss even if we are always trying to catch it.

What is the world made of?

It’s very hard to say what the world is made of, because the world is made of sensations, subjective to each one of us. We don’t even have the certainty that our sensations about the world would have much to do with the next door neighbor’s. How can we approach the world? In the easiest way possible, which is at the same time the most open: not trusting our own elements of approximation. And to ascertain that particular experiences take us to particular results. And being humble enough as to admit that those same results are what we believe they are. Whatever they are, that’s another story.

In which way does Music help us understand the world?

It helps us through one of the senses, the hearing, which is also governed by the mind. To a big extent, the musical results are results of a mental kind. Well, Leonardo already said that all Art is mental, which is true. It is sensory, but it becomes mental material. And Music helps us develop and educate the hearing sense, but more than the hearing, which is where it comes from, its profits are mostly in two important elements: on the one hand memory, on the other, time. Music is really only perceptible by humans because they have a short term memory but also a long term one. The shape of a musical piece depends exclusively on memory. I have read some article that asserts that a fish can listen to one of Chopin’s preludes without a problem because it has enough ability to distinguish the notes, but is unable to know that it’s a prelude from Chopin because its immediate memory is five seconds long. And a piece from Chopin is more than five seconds long. We have the ability to listen to an hour long symphony and string together everything that’s being lived there through memory and have an image like an only object in this temporal process. On the other hand, there’s the time perception sense. How time becomes an internal space, inside of us, and that’s where music itself lives, or we are the ones who live in the music, as Eluard’s poem claims.

Is there an equivalence between music and mathematics, like in Pythagorean times?

Yes, there is. There has always been, because music created an artifact called counterpoint and then harmony, which is actually translating to musical language elements that are mathematical. Harmony could be studied without relating to sound, without relating to notes, simply as a mathematical formula. What happens is that it is studied from the musical point of view. Even nowadays. During the whole project of the great music from the 20th Century there’s an approach to mathematical elements from the musicians, from Schonbergian dodecaphonism to microtonalism, electoracustic music, that is based in a technical element. And nowadays they work a lot with geometrical forms. From already deceased composers, like Xenakis, etc., till the use of fractals, which is very frequent in music. I don’t think that the Pythagorical ideal has been abandoned by music, but that we sometimes speak with a jargon other than mathematical.

Why is it pleasant to listen to a harmony?

Because of the external concordances with others from within and, mostly, because of the previous preparation with which we confront it. This is the problem of all new kinds of music. People listen to them with the hearing of the old music. Thus, we don’t ever like them. I don’t mean music from today, I mean Ars Nova or from 1400 or Monteverdi’s music. Once these prejudices are overcome, one reaches the conclusion that concepts of dissonance and consonance are historicist, subjective and, of course, they don’t have a real basis, mostly in a century like the 20th, which has been conquering further than the scale to integrate the possibility that any sound can be musical material, at least a priori. Then it has to be worked on, obviously. That’s why it’s like that. Afterwards, it depends on what each person wants to listen to. It is true that if a person is going to listen to a new work with the ears ready to listen to a Mozart symphony, he’s not going to like it at all, because it won’t sound like a Mozart symphony. There’s often unprejudiced audiences who don’t have all this previous experience and that’s why they receive it better. They like or not what they hear, but not in relation to what they were hoping to hear.

Do you think that dodecaphonic music has an egalitarian basis?

In a way, yes, but it’s not like that. The same way that the democracy speech is all right but at the end there’s one man who is the president of the government, and another one who is a minister, and otherwise it doesn’t work, in dodecaphonic music all notes are worth the same, but maybe the aggregates of the notes are not worth the same. They become themes; they are developed in another way, etc. Anyway, what is indeed true is that when the atonality of the dodecaphonism appears, it appears also surrounding the group of people who are linked to Vienna, a series of things that are very related amongst them. Know it or not between them, or like it or not what others do amongst them. What Schonberg does has a lot to do with what Freud does, in another way, or with what Kandinski does in yet another way. Actually, atonalism, dodecaphonism and abstract painting are born at the same time. In fact, there’s a very interesting correspondence between Kandinski and Schonberg, without forgetting that he was also a painter and not a bad one. Everything is related and, to cap it all for good or bad, it’s the same period when another German called Einstein formulates the Relativity Theory. Everything is related, but not because they relate amongst them but because there is a historical moment in which reality has arrived to that point and all these fields jump to another place, but because it is humanity who jumps. It’s like the appearance of democracy, etc. Everything is related, even if we don’t know when we are doing it.

Is there, in Music, a priority of time over space?

Music works more with time, a priori. But actually everything that music has ever done during its whole history is to try and make this time become spaces. And, in fact, the appearance of the counterpoint, in the Middle Ages, from Gregorian and subsequently from vertical harmony, is not but creating an illusion of space inside time. The same way that painting tries the same, in the same era, through the perspective, the third dimension. It also introduces space somehow, although painting is plain by definition. Music has developed like that from the things that have worked, like considering the space usable in music from the pure topology, like situating the groups in different places. The Venice School, in San Marcos, already did this constantly with the divided choirs. The polichoral style. This has been worked on nowadays a bit more, but they have come to the conclusion that working with space in music doesn’t only depend on topological space, but also on the inside space of the own music, that this time can become in a sort of space inhabitable by the listener.

Félix de Azúa says that music science tries to comprehend the Earth and the Arts, immortality. Music is in between.

From all the Arts, the one that closer is to Science is Music. Maybe it’s in between. But I believe that is still a dual vision that is false, that should be overcome in any case, between Science and Arts, and it’s all of them together which gives an idea not only about the universe but also about immortality itself. Because about the universe, at the end, one of the great questions is whether it’s mortal or not, and that hasn’t been yet answered. Is it going to end or not? If it’s going to end, how? Because some say it will be by expansion, others by retraction. Both are absolutely anti-ethical. I wouldn’t say that Science doesn’t search for immortality, it also looks for it, the same way that Arts look for reality; another kind of reality, or are another way of approaching reality.

What is your perspective on free will?

It’s a big problem. It’s in the Bible, in all religions and in the nucleus of philosophy. Even in Science: if we are so determined as some of the views of Science propose, from Darwin until the appearance of genetics, then… I think there’s a great temptation, in Science more than Arts, to believe in some kind of huge deterministic machinery. You can see that every time a new thing comes out. In a way, as I said it starts with Darwin, also with Crick when he discovers DNA chains: it seems like all of our genes are going to determine our behavior in a mechanical way. Later people have realized that’s not true, reality is much more complex and random.

I think that this always unstable relation between what Monod called chance and need has been constant throughout history and will be constant throughout the future. Maybe free will exists, although it doesn’t as far as we believe and that determinism, in a way also exists, but things aren’t as mechanical and simple as they make us believe. There’s people who say, quite cynically, that the problem is so complex that we can have for all our lives the illusion that we do have free will, have it or not, because we don’t know how to comprehend what there is around that matter. Anyway, I do think that some moments, despite what Einstein said, that God doesn’t play dice, nature, or whatever it is, has played dice and some things have appeared that could have appeared or not. From a planet like Earth, even life in Earth itself. I ignore if there is life in any other planet, as everyone else does, because we haven’t found it. We cold ask if that wasn’t chance and if it could not have happened. It could easily not have happened. Maybe, from those moments that look like chance, you can believe in free will. And going back to the human sphere, it’s something that, inside human relations, can be hold, be it scientifically supported or not.

What is time?

This question has been asked by many people since Pythagoras and no-one has answered it. Not even Einstein. It would be pretentious for me to define time, but it’s true that we humans have a series of things, not only time, that we don’t really know how to define with words, although we do feel what they are. It’s in this sense that I feel that an artistic approach to the gives us a vision of reality that maybe science can’t. Because there are things that may not be expressed with words and, nevertheless, we feel them. It’s the case of Music itself, of which we always say it’s indescribable. For the romantics it meant mystical, but indescribable means it simply can’t be expressed in words. Music is expressed only through music. Maybe time isn’t something to define but to experience. Unfortunately, we experience time lineally, since we are born until we die, and for others there are other kinds of time: Einstein’s time is different, because magnitudes are different. In that time we don’t inhabit more than a tiny part, but they aren’t incompatible.

¿As a musician, what has been your main obsession? In which quest do you feel you didn’t come out with flying colors?

One strikes up with time and tries to relate his life with time, which is what happens in Music. But, what is time? Apart from a physical magnitude, time is many things. Memory is also time, and human facts become memory and are also time. Culture itself has to do with time and, having to do with time, it would have to do with Music. For me it was very interesting to approach the culture elements, from today or from the past, and try to give a purely audible vision of what I feel about it. This could be a kind of answer. It’s very subjective, very difficult. Maybe I can make a very good work that represents only this cultural aspect that I wanted to express for myself and the other people won’t see it. The sensation that one doesn’t get what he wants is always there. That happens with whatever we humans do. We never get a hundred percent. It’s human condition, although it makes it stimulating somehow.

Do you think that music is more and more auto referring, like literature?

Not in the same way, but just like it happened in sooner literature, whatever they say, it also happened. The quote was a form, sometimes absolute. The Alexandrines only do quotes. Nothing original. And now it’s the same again, just instead of quoting we call it intertextuality. In music a lot, since long ago. All the elements of polistylism, quotes, but in the musical shape there has always been a very strong reference to earlier things. For example, when polyphony was born it was born in reference to a plain chant, the plain chant. They start there. Or, when tonality comes in, the themes with variations about other people’s themes or one’s own. The reference to other elements in music has always been present although, evidently, with the arrival of intertextuality in other arts, it has become more present and spread around other places.

In some occasions you said that Music is an anthropological universal, linked constantly to human life.

Yes, Music is an anthropological universal. No culture has been found that doesn’t have it. And there are really just a few things you can say the same about. Language is one of them. And maybe this is what has favored the theoretical battle, because it’s a silly battle, between predation, between Music and Language in history. And it’s furthermore something that nobody is going to solve, because nobody can get back to the moment in which it emerged neither music nor language. There’s people who claim that music emerged before the human voice could express linguistically. Darwin claims that, for example, and others deny it, like Pinker, who is utterly annoyed when someone claims it. Naturally, because Piker is not interested in music at all. But that’s Pinker’s lack and it doesn’t affect us. I think that you can’t talk about predation, that probably music and language were born at the same time, because they are born from the same place and for the same aim: a kind of expression. And probably, the first language with the glottis not yet properly placed, etc., helped by gestures to start with, and also by clapping, hitting, or by other things that have much more to do with singing than with phonation. I think it is so for a reason: in any culture, when we go back to the origins, we find that all literature, all poetry is sung. We usually ignore it because all the people who have investigated the Greeks lacks the musical experience and they talk to us about an ode from Pindar as if it wasn’t more than the lyrics, or as if the Iliad were only a novel. And it wasn’t. That was sung. Homer, or whoever played Homer, sang the chants of the Iliad; they are called chants because of that. Lyrical poetry, of course. And theater. In another way, but we don’t know exactly because we don’t have the direct experience. In fact, when opera starts to emerge in the 18th Century, it emerges because of a series of Florentine erudite, and then, in other places, they try to reproduce the Greek theater, and knowing it was sung, they make up a thing that has developed another genre, which has probably nothing to do with what the Greeks did, but it’s there.

What is the meaning of life?

That, you should ask Woody Allen. I think that if life has a meaning we would enter inside determinism and denial of free will. Probably, the meaning of life is the one we shape all together: nature, animals and man together. This meaning isn’t written, we are writing it. Although maybe I’m wrong.

Born in Madrid the 12th of September 1942.

I’m a musician for a living, but I also studied other things. I studied Law, for example. I even graduated, but I never practiced, I guess for the best for my potential clients. Outside Spain I took some psychology, sociology, German theatre courses. I had an interest in them because I’m interested in nearly everything. But my main education is in Music. I studied first in Madrid, then in France and Germany, with the great musicians of the avant-garde of the moment, like Boulez and Stockhousen. I even got to be Stockhousen’s assistant, and after that I have been primarily composing and writing about music. I have also done other jobs, nearly always in musical administration. For 12 years I was working in musical programmes in the Radio Nacional de España, then I moved to the Government’s Culture Department, where I was in charge of the National Orchestra twice, the Contemporary Culture Centre and the International Festival in Alicante. In a time that wasn’t maybe the most productive, but it’s easy to end up like that when you work in the administration. Then I was the director of the INAEM (National Institute for Scenic Arts and for Music in its Spanish abbreviation). Now I’m retired and I compose and write about music.

Question: In some of your texts you compare musical activity with Science or Philosophy, which try to define the relation between man and world.

Answer: Yes, I think so, it’s an approach to the world like any other activity that people do or have done historically. We are always with this burden of the two cultures, Science against Humanities, and I think that we have to get over it somehow because it’s fake. It’s fake until nearly the end of the 18th Century. After that they did split because of the circumstances. I think they shouldn’t remain apart. Music is an approach to the world, knowledge of the world. Art and artistic activity are generally a way of knowing the world, different to that of science, but no bigger, no smaller. In fact, there’s people even in the scientific field, mostly in neuroscience, that are discovering that even at some stages in art, some neurological mechanisms work like artists believed it to work, it is now established that they do work exactly like the artists thought. By this I don’t mean that art is an anticipation of science, but that it is a way to knowledge from another point of view and praxis.

Question: Nowadays, many people believe that the sight is the predominant sense, like taste was in the Greek time. ¿Was hearing ever the predominant one?

Answer: Actually, it’s not that one of the senses prevails over the others but that at some point some results have been more valuable or bigger, that’s why we think that it has been produced like that. But we have, for example, literature. It doesn’t belong, in principle, to one of the senses like taste or smell. At the end, though, a huge monument like À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past) emerges from a combination between taste and smell, like the moment about the cupcake, that sparks off a whole river of novel. It is indeed true that in these moments we are heading towards a more visual civilization, but it’s because the visual lure is all around. From advertising to roads or television everywhere, or the internet. But I think, anyway, to pretend that just one sense has dominated the others or has been the most important one would be an impoverishment. General knowledge, scientific mostly, leads to perfect the senses. Senses are learned throughout history and I think they all learn, not just one of them.

Question: When Galileo claims he can see the stains in the sun Edu, es algún concepto con traducción específica “cuando Galileo afirma que puede ver las manchas del sol”? the Dominican order criticizes the fact that he can’t be sure that nature is exactly the same as seen through an instrument.

Answer: This objection was made in bad faith and from another point of view, but it’s absolutely true from a scientific point of view. Any observation device modifies observation. That we have known for a long time, but we can’t fight it. Any experience of reality is a mediated experience, not only by the devices, but for our own senses. We always interpret what the senses bring us. What we see, we can’t guarantee what we see but how our brain interprets a range of information that arrives through the eyes. As happens with the hearing and everything else. And, in the human case, it shows in certain frequencies and not in others. We know that dogs can hear frequencies that we don’t hear and that certain animals see in black and white or in a different way we do. This leads to the subjectivity of the senses and to consider carefully the vision we have of a reality that we tend to miss even if we are always trying to catch it.

Question: What is the world made of?

Answer: It’s very hard to say what the world is made of, because the world is made of sensations, subjective to each one of us. We don’t even have the certainty that our sensations about the world would have much to do with the next door neighbour’s. How can we approach the world? In the easiest way possible, which is at the same time the most open: not trusting our own elements of approximation. And to ascertain that particular  experiences take us to particular results. And being humble enough as to admit that those same results are what we believe they are. Whatever they are, that’s another story.

Question: In which way does Music help us understand the world?

Answer: It helps us through one of the senses, the hearing, which is also governed by the mind. To a big extent, the musical results are results of a mental kind. Well, Leonardo already said that all Art is mental, which is true. It is sensory, but it becomes mental material. And Music helps us develop and educate the hearing sense, but more than the hearing, which is where it comes from, its profits are mostly in two important elements: on the one hand memory, on the other, time. Music is really only perceptible by humans because they have a short term memory but also a long term one. The shape of a musical piece depends exclusively on memory. I have read some article that asserts that a fish can listen to one of Chopin’s preludes without a problem because it has enough ability to distinguish the notes, but is unable to know that it’s a prelude from Chopin because it’s immediate memory is five seconds long. And a piece from Chopin is more than five seconds long. We have the ability to listen to an hour long symphony and string together everything that’s being lived there through memory and have an image like an only object in this temporal process. On the other hand, there’s the time perception sense. How time becomes an internal space, inside of us, and that’s where music itself lives, or we are the ones who live in the music, as Elit’s poem claims.

Question: Levelling of Music and Geometry. Actual Phytagorism, without the same role for Music.

Answer: Yes, there is. There has always been, because music created an artefact called counterpoint or it’s called harmony, which is actually translating to musical language elements that are mathematical. Harmony could be studied without relating to sound, without relating to notes, simply as a mathematical formula. What happens is that it is studied from the musical point of view. Even nowadays. During the whole project of the great music from the 20th Century there’s an approach to mathematical elements from the musicians, from shonbergian dodecaphonism to microtonalism, electoracustic music, that is based in a technical element. And nowadays they work a lot with geometrical forms. From already deceased composers, like Xenakis, etc., till the use of fractals, which is very frequent in music. I don’t think that the Phytagorical ideal has been abandoned by music, but that we sometimes speak with a jargon other than mathematical.

Question: Why does it pleasant to listen to a harmony?

Answer: Because of the external concordances with others from within and, mostly, because of the previous preparation with which we confront it. This is the problem of all new kinds of music. People listen to them with the hearing of the old music. Thus, we don’t ever like them. I don’t mean music from today, I mean Ars Nova or from 1400 or Monteverdi’s music. Once these prejudices are overcome, one reaches the conclusion that concepts of dissonance and consonance are historicist, subjective and, of course, they don’t have a real basis, mostly in a century like the 20th, which has been conquering further than the scale to integrate the possibility that any sound can be musical material, at least a priori. Then it has to be worked on, obviously. That’s why it’s like that. Afterwards, it depends on what each person wants to listen to. It is true that if a person is going to listen to a new work with the ears ready to listen to a Mozart symphony, he’s not going to like it at all, because it won’t sound like a Mozart symphony. There’s often unprejudiced audiences who don’t have all this previous experience and that’s why they receive it better. They like or not what they hear, but not in relation to what they were hoping to hear.

Question: Do you think that dodecaphonic music has an egalitarian basis?

Answer: In a way, yes, but it’s not like that. The same way that the democracy speech is all right but at the end there’s one man who is the president of the government, and another one who is a minister, and otherwise it doesn’t work, in dodecaphonic music all notes are worth the same, but maybe the aggregates of the notes are not worth the same. They become themes; they are developed in another way, etc. Anyway, what is indeed true is that when the atonality of the dodecaphonism appears, it appears also surrounding the group of people who are linked to Vienna, a series of things that are very related amongst them. Know it or not between them, or like it or not what others do amongst them. What Schonberg does has a lot to do with what Freud does, in another way, or with what Kandinski does in yet another way. Actually, atonalism, dodecaphonism and abstract painting are born at the same time. In fact, there’s a very interesting correspondence between Kandinski and Schonberg, without forgetting that he was also a painter and not a bad one. Everything is related and, to cap it all for good or bad, it’s the same period when another German called Einstein formulates the Relativity Theory. Everything is related, but not because they relate amongst them but because there is a historical moment in which reality has arrived to that point and all these fields jump to another place, but because it is humanity who jumps. It’s like the appearance of democracy, etc. Everything is related, even if we don’t know when we are doing it.

Question: Is there, in Music, a priority of time over space?

Answer: Music works more with time, a priori. But actually everything that music has ever done during its whole history is to try and make this time become spaces. And, in fact, the appearance of the counterpoint, in the Middle Ages, from Gregorian and subsequently from vertical harmony, is not but creating an illusion of space inside time. The same way that painting tries the same, in the same era, through the perspective, the third dimension. It also introduces space somehow, although painting is plain by definition. Music has developed like that from the things that have worked, like considering the space usable in music from the pure topology, like situating the groups in different places. The Venice School, in San Marcos, already did this constantly with the divided choirs. The polichoral style. This has been worked on nowadays a bit more, but they have come to the conclusion that working with space in music doesn’t only depend on topological space, but also on the inside space of the own music, that this time can become in a sort of space inhabitable by the listener.

Question: Félix de Azúa says that music science tries to comprehend the Earth and the Arts, immortality. Music is in between.

Answer: From all the Arts, the one that closer is to Science is Music. Maybe it’s in between. But I believe that is still a dual vision that is false, that should be overcome in any case, between Science and Arts, and it’s all of them together which gives an idea not only about the universe but also about immortality itself. Because about the universe, at the end, one of the great questions is whether it’s mortal or not, and that hasn’t been yet answered. Is it going to end or not? If it’s going to end, how? Because some say it will be by expansion, others by retraction. Both are absolutely anti-ethical. I wouldn’t say that Science doesn’t search for immortality, it also looks for it, the same way that Arts look for reality; another kind of reality, or are another way of approaching reality.

Question: What is your perspective on free will?

Answer: It’s a big problem. It’s in the Bible, in all religions and in the nucleus of philosophy. Even in Science: if we are so determined as some of the views of Science propose, from Darwin until the appearance of genetics, then… I think there’s a great temptation, in Science more than Arts, to believe in some kind of huge determinist machinery. You can see that every time a new thing comes out. In a way, as I said …[Se nota cada vez que aparece una nueva cosa. En cierta medida, como he dicho, parece en Darwin, también en Crick organice las cadenas de adn: parece que todos los genes nos van a condicionar para que todo sea mecánicamente, luego se ha visto que no, que todo es mucho más complejo y azaroso.]

I think that this always unstable relation between what Monod called chance and need has been constant throughout history and will be constant throughout the future. Maybe free will exists, although it doesn’t as far as we believe and that determinism, in a way also exists, but things aren’t as mechanical and simple as they make us believe. There’s people who say, quite cynically, that the problem is so complex that we can have for all our lives the illusion that we do have free will, have it or not, because we don’t know how to comprehend what there is around that matter. Anyway, I do think that some moments, despite what Einstein said, that God doesn’t play dice, nature, or whatever it is, has played dice and some things have appeared that could have appeared or not. From a planet like Earth, even life in Earth itself. I ignore if there is life in any other planet, as everyone else does, because we haven’t found it. We cold ask if that wasn’t chance and if it could not have happened. It could easily not have happened. Maybe, from those moments that look like chance, you can believe in free will. And going back to the human sphere, it’s something that, inside human relations, can be hold, be it scientifically supported or not.

Question: What is time?

Answer: This question has been asked by many people since Pythagoras and no-one has answered it. Not even Einstein. It would be pretentious for me to define time, but it’s true that we humans have a series of things, not only time, that we don’t really know how to define with words, although we do feel what they are. It’s in this sense that I feel that an artistic approach to the gives us a vision of reality that maybe science can’t. Because there are things that may not be expressed with words and, nevertheless, we feel them. It’s the case of Music itself, of which we always say it’s indescribable. For the romantics it meant mystical, but indescribable means it simply can’t be expressed in words. Music is expressed only through music. Maybe time isn’t something to define but to experience. Unfortunately, we experience time lineally, since we are born until we die, and for others there are other kinds of time: Einstein’s time is different, because magnitudes are different. In that time we don’t inhabit more than a tiny part, but they aren’t incompatible.

Question: ¿Cómo música, cuál ha sido su principal preocupación? In which do you feel you didn’t come out with flying colours?

Answer: One strikes up with time and tries to relate his life with time, which is what happens in Music. But, what is time? Apart from a physical magnitude, time is many things. Memory is also time, and human facts become memory and are also time. Culture itself has to do with time and, having to do with time, it would have to do with Music. For me it was very interesting to approach the culture elements, from today or from the past, and try to give a purely audible vision of what I feel about it.  This could be a kind of answer. It’s very subjective, very difficult. Maybe I can make a very good work that represents only this cultural aspect that I wanted to express for myself and the other people won’t see it. The sensation that one doesn’t get what he wants is always there. That happens with whatever we humans do. We never get a hundred percent. It’s human condition, although it makes it stimulating somehow.

Question: Do you think that music is more and more auto referring, like literature?

Answer: Not in the same way, but just like it happened in sooner literature, whatever they say, it also happened. The [glosa] was a form, sometimes absolute. The alexandrines only do [glosas]. Nothing original. And now it’s the same again, just instead of [glosa] we call it intertextuality. In music a lot, since long ago. All the elements of poli-stylism, quotes, but in the musical shape there has always been a very strong reference to earlier things. For example, when polyphony was born it was born in reference to a plain chant, the plain chant. They start there. Or, when tonality comes in, the themes with variations about other people’s themes or one’s own. The reference to other elements in music has always been present although, evidently, with the arrival of intertextuality in other arts, it has become more present and spread around other places.

Question: In some occasions you said that Music is an anthropological universal, linked constantly to human life.

Answer: Yes, Music is an anthropological universal. No culture has been found that doesn’t have it. And there are really just a few things you can say the same about. Language is one of them. And maybe this is what has favoured the theoretical battle, because it’s a silly battle, between prelation, between Music and Language in history. And it’s furthermore something that nobody is going to solve, because nobody can get back to the moment in which it emerged neither music nor language. There’s people who claim that music emerged before the human voice could express linguistically. Darwin claims that, for example, and others deny it, like Pinker, who is utterly annoyed when someone claims it. Naturally, because Piker is not interested in music at all. But that’s Pinker’s lack and it doesn’t affect us. I think that you can’t talk about prelation, that probably music and language were born at the same time, because they are born from the same place and for the same aim: a kind of expression. And probably, the first language with the [glottis?] not yet properly placed, etc., helped by gestures to start with, and also by clapping, hitting, or by other things that have much more to do with singing than with phonation. I think it is so for a reason: in any culture, when we go back to the origins, we find that all literature, all poetry is sung. We usually ignore it because all the people who have investigated the Greeks lacks the musical experience and they talk to us about an ode from Pindar as if it wasn’t more than the lyrics, or as if the Iliad were only a novel. And it wasn’t. That was sung. Homer, or whoever played Homer, sang the chants of the Iliad; they are called chants because of that. Lyrical poetry, of course. And theatre. In another way, but we don’t know exactly because we don’t have the direct experience. In fact, when opera starts to emerge in the 18th Century, it emerges because of a series of Florentine erudite, and then, in other places, they try to reproduce the Greek theatre, and knowing it was sung, they make up a thing that has developed another genre, which has probably nothing to do with what the Greeks did, but it’s there.

Question: What is the meaning of life?

Answer: That you should ask Woody Allen. I think that if life has a meaning we would enter inside determinism and denial of free will. Probably, the meaning of life is the one we shape all together: nature, animals and man together. This meaning isn’t written, we are writing it. Although maybe I’m wrong.

See this author’s biography.

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