The sound phenomenon
par Jean Catoire
A. Distinction Between The « Sound Phenomenon » And Music
The title « Sound phenomenon » implies that this study will not deal only with music. But it will not deal with noise-making either, the sounds produced by electro-acoustical equipments, nor with « musique concrète ».
The starting point is the following : a sequence of sounds, organized according to the laws of writing, contains within itself two possibilities : the musical possibility, that is, the one which leads to a work of art ; and the other, the one which precedes the work of art and which is linked to the pre-sound archetypes. Certain works, called musical, are conditioned more by the first possibility, others, by the second. The purpose of this study will be, after having differentiated the two-possibilities, to study the sound phenomenon and the pre-sound phenomenon as they present themselves to the transcriber before, during and after the work.
In fact, both sound phenomenon and its antecedent, the pre-sound, can be found in their pure state in certain incantations, but they can be equally detected, in a more or less advanced state, in what is called music. A sound, given out by an instrument, by a voice, or by a group of instruments or voices, awakens certain latent faculties, but often asleep in man, and by this awakening permits him to come in contact with other states, external to his personality. This explains, when the incantatory phenomenon is of a positive nature, the birth of singular or collective phenomena, which are purely psychic and no longer emotional as is often the case in the phenomenon called « music ».
In opposition to the pure sound phenomenon is the musical phenomenon. This latter, born from artistic forms and artictic expression, had developed since the Middle-Ages alongside of the sound phenomenon and definetively replaces it during the course of the 18th Century. It is not that the music of this period is not sometimes based on pre-sound and on sound phenomenon, but the aim of all the musicians of this period is to have us take part in a work of art and not in a manifestation of a psychic nature. The works of the 18th Century represent, in the best cases, perfect balance between sound phenomenon and pre-sound on the one hand, and musical, artistic phenomenon, on the other.
Beginning with this achievement of the 18th Century, what had been gained, what had overcome, conquered primitive incantation and established a harmonious synthesis between pure sound phenomenon and music, begins to disappear and mush more rapidly than the realization of music. In Beethoven’s work, incantation is present once again, and pure sound data, external to music, come back into their own. The Beethoven revelation was to bear fruit which was not so much musical, in the domain of form for instance, as purely of sound-values. Sound phenomenon becomes a value once again with the composers of the 19th Century, particularly Wagner, and in less than a hundred years we were to come to not only the desintegration of musical forms and of the structures inherent in them, but to the dislocation of the very language of music, which would bring about the confusion of styles and the relinquishment of the very idea of music, that is the essential characteristic of the 20th Century.
The present state of things is neither an evolution nor a regression of music. It is the negation of music as it was conceived by the 18th Century : its primary data are achieved by non-musical sounds, although present-day composers do not know what they are manipulating when they write down notes, whereas the will and the generative idea of the composer still come from a musical thought and point of view over a hundred years old. Composers think that they are still composing music and structure their works according to the canons in use a hundred years ago, whereas the impulse of their compositions has been extra-musical for a long time.It is necessary to insist on the fact that the researches of the avant-gardists are not experiments that would attempt to go beyond music, but rather attempts to keep alive a corpse they themselves have deliberately been killing for over a century.
The 20th Century auditor, who listens to his music of his time, finds himself in the paradoxical situation of one who was educted to listen to music and who hears a phenomenon in which music is left behind, but its language not abandoned. He certainly realizes that there exists a rupture between the generative idea of the works, he is hearing, and the form in which they are carried out, but since he is told that he is still listening to music, he no longer understands what he is supposed to be hearing.
The present study does not intend to give, nor even to look for a solution of this state of things. Its purpose is to establish the topography of sound phenomenon within the level of its archetypal origin in pre-sound and within that of its realization which is the level of the sound phenomenon. The musical phenomenon, properly speaking, will be touched upon only to the extent that it is in correlation with sound or to the extent that it influences it, and this more specially in Section D, which deals ith the work of the performer.
B. The Pre-Sound
At the origin of all sound phenomenon there exists pre-sound phenomenon, an archetype not audible to the external ear, but which can be pereceived by the inner ear. It can equally be seen in the totality of its absolute realization, in its initial structures.
The term « see », when dealing with the non-material world, is certainly imperfect and is used only for want of a better one. In certain cases the « vision » is wholly outside of all hearing, even of the pre-sound, in other cases the inward seeing of the archetype and its pre-sound realization fuse in a synthesis of perception.
« Auditive vision » is not a « sense » in the current meaning of the term, it is an ambivalent faculty by which it is possible, while contemplating in fullness which is prior to the level of verbally realizable expressions and to their terminology (in this case, that of sound), to bring it about fully within the restricted framework of the mental, that is to say, to gauge what is not mental, but psychic, according to the possibility of future material realization of this eminently non-material phenomenon. He who possesses this « auditive vision », has to become aware of it in order to be able to formulate it in pre-sound values. For someone who does not become aware in his mental faculty of a manifestation, can understand it inwardly, but is not capable of transcribing it in values intelligible to the mental faculty which perceives by means of material hearing. It is necessary that he who transcribes adapt himself to the limited and limiting faculties of the mental function. The essential and veritable work of the composer consists of this : to realize in himself the state of a conscious medium, in order to transcribe for others what is shown to him on the archetypal level.
The relations between the physical ear, which perceives sound as sound and « auditive vision » which reveals (in the case of the transcriber, who transcribes) pre-sound structures, vary with, first of all, the mental and psychic structures of the transcribers and secondly that of listeners. One transcriber will perceive the work, which he is accomplishing, more by the channel of auditive vision, another by way of the ear alone. Some possess a perfect balance between these two faculties.
It is the same for the listener : he is reached by that faculty which is the more developed in him. If he is basically a seer, he will see the internal structures of a sound phenomenon ; if his hearing is more developed than his faculties of inward vision, he will hear the work. Some will make a synthesis of the two faculties ; and finally, some will be more apt at pereceiving the works of certain composers by the way of the ear and that of certain other by the way of inner hearing. There exists numerous ways to transcribe and to pereceive sound. The ways vary with the most secret elements of human beings.
Every sound work presents itself first in its absolute aspect, in its non-sound archetype, in which are peresent all the primary relations from which subsequent sound values will come forth. Then the work is perceived in its local space-time presence, that is to say that what will be a chronological phenomenon in its sound unfolding is perceived here in an absolute present. The entire work, down to the smallest details of its subsequent developement as sound, is then seen as a whole. This is a perception similar to psychic perceptions, but no longer a perception of concrete relations in which forms are perceived in a sensory way, it is rather analogous to perceptions where only value-relations remain, concentrations of energy, manifestations which in their internal structures are words of expression. But this is only an analogy, for the cosmic contact differs from the musical contact in that each of them proceeds form a localization of perception which is proper to it. At the beginning, nonetheless, they both possess an immuable archetype prior to their own respective subsequent archetypes.
In fact there exist two kinds of archetypes : the first, absolute, previous to all relations-in-manifestation ; the second, absolute as well, but possessing in itself, in latent form and in heir totality, the plan of its subsequent realization or realizations. The first type of archetypes possesses in itself, latent, all the subsequent possibilities, but it does not pring them about and probably cannot be the origin but only the indirect cause of pre-sound realizations, whereas the second type of archetypes can cause them directly. This latter type of archetype is more easily realisable in musical sound than in verbal sound, for musical sound can be traced back to its origin, whereas one would have to have available an original language, either non-existant, or disappeared, in order to accomplish this « return » with words.
No hierarchy of archetypes exists, because, when on the level or indentification one observes a state, one sees, simultaneous with it, the full multiplicity of all other states. Nonetheless, one must specify that each archetype of the second type posses, latent in it, but not realizable in their totality, the universal structures of the Energy of the Initial Archetype, a situation which will permit the later realisation of a precise manifestation of the archetype, glimpsed in the archetype of the second kind, in one or another domain, not yet decided on the initial level.
The potential of the archeypes of the second kind are so conceived that they permit us to glimpse on the level of their own manifestation the initial archetypes from which they themselves are issued. The archetype is a concentration of Energy towards a possible aspect of manifestation, and if we reduce our field of observation to a precise specific manifestation (for example, the one to be transcribed), we see all the others already realized or realizable, and in this consists the state of remaining on the level of archetypal energies.
The archetype is a partial structuring of the primordial Energy, in the case of the non-sound archetype a completely abstract manifestation in which only non-formal relations and structures remain. It is for this reason that, at the moment of realizing the abstract elements of the archetype, elements, which will be the base of the formal structure of the concrete sound, it is necessary to limit the vision of the archetype of the second type to the structures which, only, will be the elements of the pre-sound structures, and if one goes on to the level of sound, of the sound structures.
C. The Realization Of Pre-Sound Into Sound Phenomenon By The Transcriber
Because we perceive sound by means of a physical, auditory apparatus, this sound has to be physical. If it were otherwise, we would penetrate from the outset into the non-sound archetype. Physical sound possesses, in the depth of its reality, its own energy activity. That is why a sound, two ssounds, or several sounds emitted simultaneously and indefinitely, whether without changes or with certain variations, due to the structural developments of the sound data, place the person, who listens to them, in a state different from his state when is not listening or when he hears no sound. Sound, in effect, is an activively powerful reality, an absolute energy, which, by the material vibrations, which it contains, set into motion in the inwardness of the being or the object, which receives its vibrations, the non-material vibrations from which this sound unit had issued. And from this profound vibration, common to both the emitter and the receiver, is born, in the deepest part of the one who receives, the material vibration.
That which is prceived in the Absolute, takes on, at the time when the work of transcription is undertaken, the imprint of the ways of seeing and of thinking of the one who transcribes. If different beings transcribe the relations of this level, these relations will be different because each of these beings will have a vision which is proper to him and a manner of prehension different from that of the other beings who inscribe these relations, but also and above all because the inner structures of the archetype and the structurings of its manifestation, as well as the ways of its manifestation are infinite and incommensurable. For the relations and the srtuctures, written down from the archetype and which we know, are not the only ones, because the realisation, the reciprocical interpenetrations of the relations and the initial structures are innumerable not only on the innumerable levels of the Cosmic and of its innumerable manifestations, but they are innumerable also in the manifestations of the archetype themselves on the level ot the sound.
In order to be able to transcribe the abstract data of this archetype into sound values, it is necessary to locate and to realise the state which is internediate between this archetype and sound organized into sound values. For this purpose it is necessary to work out a material such that it proceeds from the archetype in its original values and that it can, from these values, produce the sound mould in which the sounds will take form. It is necessary in fact that each note of the sound material be calculated in the context of other notes, realised in time, but also in relation to another note or to other notes conceived simultaneously with it, as a mobile value in relation with other mobile values, ans all of these in their respective relations with non-mobile values realised in time and simultaneously with it.
The main problem in the working out of a work of sound consists in admitting that each written note exists in virtue of a « correspondence » which links it to the values of the archetype, but it consists equally in the fact that this is written note must possess the sound value that will make of the whole, consituted by this note and by all the other notes, a construction in sound. Once this intermediary material is found, the sound construction can be accomplished with the automatism of the construction of a building according to the plans already established and with the materials brought to the work site.
When the data of realms, differently perceived than that of the simple mental are reavealed to us, these data are either pure data, whose interpretation is not revealed to us and which impose themselves upon us in their expressive absolute ; or they are data which are indications to view to certain realizations. The realm of sound has to do exclusively with the first case. The archetype is shown in its absolute, but its meaning is not revealed. It can be revealed later, for example at the time of hearing the written work, to the listener, to the interpreter, to the transcriber, but it is never made fully explicit at the timewhen the archetype is prehended, nor during the work of transcription. The archetype does not reveal any particular meaning in the sense that, at the time of psychic contacts certain entities of the cosmic plane reveal wills, uncover the outward sense of their deep intentions. The archetype shows only its inner structures, revealed beyond the psychic contact and beyond the externalising outward-tending structurations of the Cosmic on the plane where there remain only relations and energies in their state preceding their structuration towards realization. The sound phenomenon proceeds from the archetype by three successive states : 1. the archetype ; 2. the pre-sound ; 3. the sonorous level. The sonorous realization, well inscribed, holds in itself the possibility to reach those three levels.
1. In the level of the archetype the notes are conceived as hieroglyphes anterior to any non-sound value (Second case) and sound value (Third case). The notes, read on this level, are pure, absolute values, in the way that they appear in the abstract sound archetype, the one where auditive vision and inner vision still keep their identity of expressive values. Such a passage is not heard, it is not read, it is inwardly realized in its expression of original synthesis.
2. In the level of the pre-sound, the abstract values, expressed by the notes, are read, but not yet heard on the level of the abstract sonorities of the archetype. Here, every note, or every group of notes is no longer a graph, representing one or more relations of the non-sound archetype ; they represent the first sound values which come to structure themselves at the beginning in that archetype, but structure themselves subsequently outside of it. For every sound ensemble possesses latent in itself its non-sound potentials, but from which the subsequent sound potentials come out. There, the notes represent not only the cosmic archetype, but the sound archetype also ? not yet expressed in sounds. Thus, the progression C-Eb, in C-E, moving from the minor third to the major third, which in the first case still represented a pure non-formal progression, becomes in this case a symbol of pre-sound progression, and this symbol, in contrast to the symbols described in the first case, is already read in time and no longer in the abstract synthesis of the archetype as was the case in the manifestation prior to any data whether sound on non-sound.
3. When the structures are adequately accomplished on the two proceding levels, the level of sound can be realized in turn. Sound then acts as pure sound value, but it contains within it the active potential of the two proceding levels, whence, if relations between the three levels are correctly established and if the primary vision is expressed, there comes an increased force, a direct force, not only in sound, but of auditive vision and of inner vision. In such a state, the sound groupings cannot be considered as music, but as groupings which are the result of structures prior to them and superior in expressive forces.
If these groupings are no longer listened to as sound phenomenon, but as abstract structures of notes and as structures of the archetype, prior to the auditive vision of the non-sound symbols and to the hearing of these non-sound values, the prior relation, from which these groupings have issued, reveal themselves to the listener. The act of listening then calls forth a three-part state of equilibrium, in which, by the way of one of the approached states, the two other states are realised. Such structurations can therefore be perceived as an absolute value of sacred symbols, representing what is prior to non-sound value itself ; can be read as groupings of notes anterior to sound values ; finally, be realised as sound structures.
No evolution of archetypes exists. Such an evolution would be impossible, for the archetype is outside of the notions of space and time ; the archetype proceeds from the Absolute and remains in the Absolute both before and after its concrete realisation by the transcriber. But there does exist an evolution of the means of grasping, of transcription and of relaisation of the archetypes and in fact composers of various eras conceived an realized the forms of transcription differently. The whole problem for a composer will consist then of not employing without discernment the means of transcription and realization of his predecessors. But lso and above all, of seeing in what measure the level of vision of his zone of archetypes is similar to or dissimilar from that of his contemporaries, but also from that in which he realizes his own preceding compositions.
Each transcriber possesses his own universe of archetypes. In this universe the archetypes,sometimes the most diverse, can structure themselves, bu thy will always possess certain common aspcts which will permit us to locte them as the archetypes proper to one composer or another. Each true composer works within well defined zones, sometimes even limited, but within these zones the archetypes, which he discovers and tries to transcribe, are different. For no work of sound comes out of the archetype of another work of sound already written, and if one wishes to apply to one composition the transcriptive apparatus already used for another work, one can certain of failure. Each work, down to the least, if it possesses a real valueand even if it resembles another to the point of identity as fr as the style of writing, nonetheless keeps its particular archetype easily identifiable and clearly differenciable from that of other works. When one says of certain composers that they have repeated themselves all their lives, one mixes up two things : the zone or zones of archetypes in which they have worked and the archetype itself. It is in fact possible that they have limited themselves to certain zones of archetypes, but the various archetypes prehended in these zones were always different. Every style is a limitation of means of expression. That is why the more the composer approaches the archetype at the time of the realisation of his work, the more he limits his zones of investigation and the more stripped down his style is.
As has already been said, the archetype contains within itself all the subsequent materials of its realization as sound. Tonality is the first form of the emanation to the manifested, by the very prsence of the structural values of the archetype which manifest themselves in it towards the relations of the realization as sound. The archetype equally manifest the elements which will cause the pre-sound to realize itself in one or another sound form, which permits us to see from the outset if the work, which has to be written down, will be written down for an orchestral group, for a string quartet or for whatever combination of instruments. Two different realizations, sometimes even several, can thus be manifested within the structures of the same archetype. Then there is produced a phenomenon of multiple manifestation from single archetype, that is to say that a single origin appears in several manifestations of simultaneous realisations, as for example, a composition for the piano being able to become a quartet or an orchestral work, but all of these issued from the same sound material, since this latter proceeds from the same archetype. But no archetype, like non pre-sound material and no sound material can be taken up again in new structural aspects of the sound form.
The archetype proceeds and remains within the level of the Cosmic. On that level there exists nothing having any tie to human concepts. Then, if the archetype is well transcribed, it keeps only its absolute value and reveals itself as sound-absolute in the non-sound-absolute. At this stage the notions of objective-subjective and of separate personality no longer exist. Only identification exists. If the work of transcirption is correctly realized, the listener identifies himself with the cosmic manifestation. Sound appears then as the revealer of this reality. But thi reality is not linked to human values and all that one would try to apply to it (such as notions of intimate psychology, ideas of joy and sadness, etc.), would only diminish the understanding, the intelligence and the intelligibility of this sacred state.
In fact, no creation exists. There are prehension of the archetype and transcription of it. The transcriber is only and intermediary between the level of the archetype and that of the concrete realization. The affectivity of the transcriber has created nothing at all. He who composes contemplates what remains on the level of the archetype. But he only contemplates it. He does not arouse it, he does not form it. He transcribes it with the means which he has elaborated for the zones of cosmic investigation, and which must with each work, even the least, be rethought, newly modeled. The ideal work would be the one in which the archetype would be rendered outside of the media of sound and affect. That work, if it were achieved by the transcriber and « perceived » by the listener, would arouse in him the state of primordial contemplation which is that of the being who transcribes when the work presents itself to him in its absolute form.
It is wrong to think that there exist sentiments expressed in the phenomenon of sound and that these are « sad » or « happy ». In fact, there exists the act of contemplation, which is neither sadness nor joy, but desire of identification which that is contemplated, desire also to transcribe it in order that others may, by the gimmick of sound, contemplate it also. And this desire for identification, passing through a more or less great affective perceptibility, may seem sad or cheerful, but it locates itself without these purely human states.
Generally the sound phenomenon, which is structured without words, possesses a force of incantation infinitely superior to that of the sound phenomenon written according to words. Nonetheless, certain chants of a sacred character from non-European civilizations, as well as gregorian chant in its continual return to the same vowels and the same sounds, attain a sacramental character very pure and very elevated, precisely because they are no longer anything but a purely vibratory phenomenon, expressing no longer the words of a text, but rather the initial purity of sound. Now, the vibration aroused by the human voice, if it is liberated from the constraint, which is imposed upon it by words and the deformed and ridiculous expression with which the composers dress up it for almost four centuries and which proceeds precisely from the overdeveloped notion of the expression of the notes and their emotive, even sentimental content, this vibration possesses a power incantation, one could almost say of casting as spell, that is extremely powerful.
Certain realizations of the sound phenomenon place the listener closer to contact with the sound archetype. These works require a great ascesis in the work of transcription, so that they are entirely liberated from the emotive element of the transcription, but they require equally an advanced intelligence and a stripping-away of the human affective element on the part of the listener.
In the usual state of things the sacred does not penetrate into the realm of the pre-sound, nor into the realm of sound ; certainly there penetrates some emanation of it, but not the sacred essence itself. Now, there exist cases where the sacred vibrates in the sacred itself like a presence, like a reality materielly expressed in the the vibrations of sound. At that moment, silence is imposed on the transcriber, either because nothing more is revaled to him on the level of the archetype, or because the transcribers, who attain to this level, leave the physical plane. Certain among them, nonetheless, can be kept on the physical level and it is left to them to inscribe what they contemplate, in order to show in values of concrete vibrations that which is the sacred vibrations of the archetype.
In those cases, various mutations take place in the very values of the expression of the sound phenomenon. Above all, duration becomes different. Each sound phenomenon possesses its own duration, its « time », which is particular to it. In every work, however, the idea of time remains. Now, in the sound groupings, which proceed from the expression of the sacred, time stops, that is to say that the evolutions of the sonorities structured in time continues, but these are no longer heard in a moving time, but in a static time which places the listener directly in contact with the time of the beginning. Such a phenomenon puts into vibrations elements identical to those of the usual sound phenomena, but it reveals them no longer through their channel of human sonority, but rather directly in their primordial values.
In the past sound was a value which opened upon itself, that is to say
upon those sound structures, or on those pre-sound structures, which lead
to the archetype. Here, when the listener awaits a prehension of those
sound or pre-sound elements, still structured as a sound structure, where
primordial sound and vision complete themselves, he opens onto the pure
primordial vision. Sound no longer realizes itself as an abstract sound
value, but as vision, as a direct psychic contact, that is to say that
the impact of sound, of the sonorous vibartion, aroused by such a work,
no longer leads to the sound archetype, or even to the pres-ound archetype,
but rather to the prior cosmic archetype, pure of the non-sound value
itself, which was being glimpsed, sensed by the listener when hearing
a sound work of « current » character.
There do not exist any good or bad sound phenomena in the moral sense of the term. Those are incompatible values. But the work capable of uniting in its overall whole of perception-reception-emission the listener, the performer and the transcriber, leads to the prehending of the sacred, for the sacred resides in every being, and every being can, if the circumstnces are favorable, contemplate the very structures which form the approach of its origin. Then, in the superior state of contemplation we penetrate into the fullness of universal contemplation, of unified and unifying contemplation. That is what access to the sacred is. That is why the work, capable of arousing this state, of bringing about this mutation, is an essentially sacred act.
D. Realization Of Pre-Sound Into Sound Phenomenon By The Performer
If the transcriber’s work of transcribing has been correctly effectuated, there remain two other data in the realization of the sound-phenomenon : permitting the performer to realize what has been written by the composer ; and having it understood by the channel of hearing by those who listen, even those who hear without listening.
While admitting that the performer understand on the level of sound structures the work that he should equally understand what the trnscriber has seen in the original forms and be able to identify himself with the state which the transcriberhas realized in himself in presence of the archetype. If he succeeds, he renders the work, he performs, to perfection. But the true interpreter is the one who, while respecting the sound and non-sound values, elaborated by the transcriber, can render what he himself has understood and glimpsed in the structures of the archetype revealed to him by the transcriber. For the archetype is immutable, but each one interprets it according to the state he is in when he prehends it. And the true performer is precisely he who, having localized the particular character and the initial means or perception of the archetype, effectuated by the transcriber, superposes on this, without suppressing it, his own intelligence of this vision, of this perception.
The interpreter penetrates then into the original relatons of the sound structures, which he can feel differently from the transcriber, but which, if he is a true interpreter, that is to say a medium, capable of going back to the source of things, leads him inevitably to the archetype. And the more, in his work of elaborating in sound, the transcriber will have been able to liberate the work, he is transcribing, from human affectivity, the more easily the interpreter will grasp the deep meaning of what he is to put into sound values in which the listener will participate.
For every being bears within himself the archetype of that which he contemplates in the silence of inner being. In his depths, every being is able to contemplate the sacred. Some understand by the mind that which remains the center, the reason of their being ; others are able to transcribe it. It is seers and mediums who in the present case are the transcribers and interpreters. Then, if a performer is not merely someone who makes music, but one who sees through what he performs the secret dimensions which the work contains, then he inevitably, by the structural data of the work and by the deep organization of his own being, goes back to the archetype and renders it in the sounds which he produces on an instrument or by a voice or by the means of a group which he conducts.
Those who, when they hear a work, attain to a realization in their consciousness of its archetype, follow the same path as the interpreter, but, while remaining passive. It is for this reason that, if the transcriber has correctly accomplished the work of transcription, which was suggested to him, and if the performer too has understood and has accomplished the work necessary in view of rendering the initial forms on the level of sound, the sensitive listener, he who identifies himself with the state of contemplation of the archetype. And the sound structures act then because the sound phenomenon is the only one which being associated with what is conventionally called art, is direct, is the one in which the vision of the archetype, grasped by the transcriber, realized by the performer and contemplated by the listener, does not pass through the level of concrete forms, but opens onto pure vision.
Such an interpreter conquers his audience from the outset. He permits the one who listens, by means of sound values, to return directly, without passing through the non-sound or pre-sound values of notes, to the archetype itself. And the very act that he has, in his comprehension of the archetype, superposed himself upon the composer’s understanding of it, permits the listener to find these two conceptions, that of the transcriber and that of the interpreter, but also and above all to discover in the abstract archetype, which is thus revealed to him, taht which he, the listener, there contemplates as most personal.
For the archetype remains immutable. It remains. But each one, the transcriber first, sees it from its own angle. And this is the major value of the work of sound : to show, even to suggest, but never to impose. That is why the psychic realm, and the realm called artistic, are those of free values, because there is union, communion in the contemplation of the archetype, each one being able to attribute to this archetype the value he desires. It follows from this that, if the audience has grasped the data of the archetype, each of the participants in the hearing realizes it on the level of his perception and it is equally for this reason that the listeners will never be in agreement on what a work of sound « represents ».
In sound realization these appears an element not existing in the two first phases, that of the structures of the archetype and that also for the structurations of the notes in their non-sound relationships : it is the emotive contribution included in the very perception of the composer. For at the moment when the thing contemplated passes into the mould of sound, it passes through the superior affectivity, that is to say accross the joy felt by the transcriber upon the contemplation and the prehension of the initial state. If the mechanism of transcription is correctly structured, the lower emotive element, that is the emotive human element, the affective part, does not pass into the sound form. If such an ascesis is not realized, it happens that the transcriber, whose archetype is particularly advanced in the margin of the structure evolution, at the time of the realization in sound of that archetype, lets filter into the contemplation of it affective elements, even sentimental ones. Then we are present at a phenomenon painful for the listener, a phenomenon which consists of this : that the mind desires to raise itself towards the contemplation of the archetype, but finds itself immediately led back toward the lower emotivity ; and if the spirit fixes itself on the lower emotivity, it glimpses the higher structures which are at the origin of the work which it is listening to.
Considering that the interpreter and the listener have at their disposition only the apparatus of sound, they contemplate the abstract archetype, disturbed sometimes by the excessive sensitivity of the transcriber, but above all their human sensitivity, which is their own, arouses then images sometimes different from those glimpsed by the transcriber. That is why, when the Idea, in the platonic sense of the word, is always perceived by the true performer, by the capable listener, the image which flows from it, varies according to the intellectual and emotional structures of the performers or of the listeners. It is that the archetype is perceived by the human channel and for each one this channel is different and when they have inwardly grasped the Idea, its realization on the affective level is different according to the individuals.
A work of sound should never be written for the purpose of serving a moral cause, still less a social or political one. The vibratory phenomenon, whether it be art in its plastic, literary or sound manifestations, or in the case which interests us, juxtaposition of vibartions independant of an artistic structuration, is free of this human contingencies. It proceeds from the order of the absolute. The phenomenon of sound then cannot and above all should not in any way be subordinated to any ethic whatsoever.
On the cosmic level, energies possess each one its potential for being and its potential for manifestation. It is possible, even probable, that sound, images, forms and words « act » in the level of the Absolute by the phenomenon of their concrete realization upon the beings who contemplate them or hear them, placing them in a state of dwelling in their higher being, permitting them thus to rediscover the structures of the archetype in which they accede to their state of the Absolute. But the artist, in the case of art, the transcriber, in the case of writing down the archetypes outside of artistic conditioning, the transcriber of structures and pre-existment relations into material or sound forms, must not think about that in any whe does think aboay. It, he is no longer an artist or transcriber, but a moralist, and the moralist in art or even more in the direct contact with the manifestation of the Absolute, does not possess any means of transcription.
Only his work - and this work is suggested to him, although he is still free to refuse to accomplish it - will teach him to transcribe correctly and honestly what he sees in the Absolute into concrete values, into tangible, material values. The beings who transcribe into concrete values the initial relations of the absolute, transcribe what others do not see, but which themselves possess in the absolute of their divine knowing. That is why those who, in the depths of their being « know » the state which a transcriber reveals, feel themselves, a the time of hearing this work, put into vibrations of sympathy with the work heard or listened to. The level of their « activity » is essentially different from everything which is from the realm of psychology, of ethics, of sociology, for the domain of these disciplines confines itself to the limited and limiting stage of human understanding. Only a transcriber, whether he expresses himself in the plastic, the verbal or the sound medium, or else a being of advanced psychic development, can understand the origins and the modalities of transcriptive realiztaion. And, transcribers and true masters have this in common - that they are silent.
The question will then pose itself : « To what end arouse on the
part of some the need to transcribe the archetypes, on the part of others
the need to contemplate them in their realization ? » To this it
will be necessary to say that art, and more precisely the sound phenomenon,
places man in a state permitting him to accede to the cosmic level, and
this not by an ascesis, and thereby reserved to a small number, but by
direct contact, which, provided that he who listens or hears possesses
in himself the necessary resonance, is granted in all freedom and independance
to all. And since such a phenomenon arises essentially from the level
of the sacred, no human dimension can be applied to it.
The sound phenomenon is free to artistic contingencies and forms and its structures and form, in the musical sense of the word, do not proceed from an artistic origin but from one of vibratory synchronization between the transcriber and the written composition, and between this work and he who listens to it or simply hears it. But if it arouses a psychic state in man, it is still necessary to insist on the fact that it should never be worked out as a phenomenon of psychic action on the human psyche, nor on the human mind. It is the origin of the archetype which acts beginning from itself by way of the sound which he who transcribes the archetype, works out precisely in fonction of that archetype. Every research effected in view of a specific psychic action is doomed to failure in advance. Only the transcriber, who synchronizes himself to the archetypal will of the forms, is capable of transcribing in sounds that which should by this sound lead the listener back to the archetypal structures.
© Jean Catoire / Organdi 2000-2007