Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Musician's Dreams

I had the oddest dreams last night: it seemed as if I was half-awake, obsessively thinking of, well, musical things. What things exactly? Those kinds of ambiguous harmonic gestures that you find so often in Bach, especially the cello suites. You know, where you have a melody split up into two parts: E D E C# E B E C# --that sort of thing.

I used to read a lot of Carl Jung. Not to say I was a disciple, but for a couple of years I found him to be very interesting. He talks a lot about dreams. One thing I remember is that a lot of the people and animals you meet in dreams are actually just facets of yourself. When I was a child I had some very odd dreams. For example, there was a whole series of dreams where I was being chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex and I kept running around trying to find a pin to poke myself with because I knew I was dreaming and really wanted to wake up. Don't know what facet of myself that represents! I also had some very abstract dreams where the environment was all geometric figures in odd colors. Then there are the ones where you are sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

But my dreams last night were really, really odd because there was nothing visual at all, just musical figures. Somehow they all seemed to be related, distantly, to the Bach Partita No. 1 in B flat, the prelude:

Yes, I know that those notes have nothing to do with the ones I mentioned above. There were two parts to my odd musical dream: one part was this prelude on piano and the other it seemed as if I was playing on guitar and those notes were played on the 1st and 2nd strings. Hey, it's a dream, it doesn't have to make rational sense.

A lot of music seems to be about dreams, like the piece by Sibelius titled Valse Triste which is like a musical representation of a dream:

There is also the lied by Grieg: Ein Traum:

And there has to be something by Debussy, but I can't recall it at the moment.

Anyone else have any musical dreams?


Craig said...

I once had a dream that I was playing a bass guitar (electric) with a good deal of virtuosity. This was rather thrilling for me because in reality I can't play a guitar at all.

The music I was playing was, I remember, unbelievably beautiful. So beautiful that you would have wept to hear it. Yet when I woke I could remember only fragments, and now it is gone entirely, leaving only a poignant feeling of loss.

That was truly one of my best dreams.

Bryan Townsend said...

Ah, the Jack Bruce fantasy! I had a few of those. But a typical musician's dream tends to be a nightmare about the orchestra playing a different concerto than the one you learned, or your strings breaking or going out of tune...

Anonymous said...

I once had a dream that everything was the same as when I was awake except J.J Cale was a color.

Bryan Townsend said...

Well, he sure has a timbre...