[NetBehaviour] despair of the tending of intervals

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Mon Dec 17 00:59:10 CET 2018

despair of the tending of intervals


between the kyizi gong and the erhu, one dying out, the other
emerging, the other dying out, the one emerging

a form of sonic hysteria, matching erhu to gong, slightly below
c among other notes

tending towards the erhu, fingers in the right position for
consonance of one or another sort

the gong always dying, the erhu always going on, the gong always
on its own, the erhu sounding simultaneously with the tending

the breathing of the gong, travel or journey of the erhu, tuned
in fifths, an old and somewhat battered but restored instrument

almost a folk instrument or least one one not for export,
brought back, the decorative top missing a piece

but new bridge, new bow, new strings, new qianjin from what
i can't recall, of course new rosin, new damper as well

and the gong, burmese kyizi, about twelve pounds, 13.5", 19th
century, using new mallets and rope/ribbon support, it twists

and the very slight lack of sync on the video between the mallet
contact and the resulting sound, taking 35 seconds to die out

during which i take up the erhu bow and the proper position, and
begin to attempt playing through maybe twenty seconds of kyizi

before i return to the mallets with my right hand, my left hand
holding the proper position, there's a kind of despair here

a kind of despair of the interval, a brief moment to sound the
divide, to construct, to hold, to improvise, to release

as if there were little life left to all of us, just precisely
this sort of interval, perhaps even of this length, after which

everything disappears, from the image to the sound, from the
imaginary to the real, from the discourse to fundamental lack

and what i remember from one interval to another, from one
release to the next, perhaps nothing in this absorbing room

or this room where life exists in such intervals at best, as
well as what comes forth and dies out, what sound or silence

the hearing, the heard, the memory of the hearing, the bells in
the distance in another town, now striking, chiming the hours

the kyizi tending towards silence between bouts of sound
slipping away among the bowing and the bells, now, here, now

where you might find it impossible to exist, as all of this, all
life, all sound, is slippage and denouement

what is replaced, this diminishing of all the orders of the
fecundity of the world, what we have grown accustomed to

while the bells sound, the kyizi rings, rings forth, brings
forth, the erhu hurrying to catch and maintain, to preserve

within and without the impossibility of preserving, something
new now coming forward, look, the instruments are put away

they're carefully returned to the safety of rest and silence,
waiting for other times where they might issue forth

and the erhu might for example lovingly matching the wonderful
sound of the kyizi

and the kyizi in turn might sign towards and around the amazing
tonalities of the erhu

as if they occupied the same neighborhoods, the same lands, the
same worlds, for ever and ever and ever

sounding, one after another, one into another, one among
another, one among them, without sadness or despair

sounding the clarion, sound the symphonic alap of the raga
playing all the seasons and hours of the world

playing among us, playing for themselves, themselves played,
and we are silent, do nothing, listening, listening, listening

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