There is a passage in the last chapter that I want to quote:
In my first year at the University of Chicago, the question I asked myself was, "Where does music come from?" The attempt to answer that question led to the composition of my first piece of music.
More than a dozen years later, still pondering the same question, I asked Ravi Shankar where music comes from. His reply was to bow toward a photo of his guru and say, "Through his grace, the power of his music has come through him into me."
Over time, for me, the question has evolved into another question: "What is music?"
For a while, the answer I found was that music is a place.He goes on to say that he means this poetically: you can take a plane to Chicago either in reality or in your imagination and you can go to the place "music" in your imagination. I think I have talked about this in several places. Just before a performer begins a piece on stage, he goes to that place called "music". I often think of it as a place in the mind, but it seems to be a particular place in the brain as well. There was the case of the German cellist who had a terrible infection in his brain that wiped out much of his memory: he could no longer recall his friends or relatives or place names. But he could still read music and play the cello, indicating that these functions were in a different part of the brain. Glass talks about this quite differently, but I think that the basic idea is similar.
Music is like its own universe, close to but different from the ordinary world. If you have the aptitude and the discipline and the devotion, you can inhabit this universe, at least partly. I also sometimes think of music as being like a bridge between people. I will never forget a summer spent touring Europe with a flute player. We spent months in France, Germany and Italy and never visited a single art gallery or museum, but we met thousands of people (including my future wife). A musician is a kind of ambassador from another universe. Since it can be quite a magical universe, music can bring you many friends.
So let me thank all the wonderful friends I have met through this blog, itself a kind of bridge.