audiation and wetsuits

In class yesterday I learned about a new word...


It is a skill that, I'm guessing, doesn't come naturally to everyone. To audiate is to hear a melody in your head, to create notes in your mind without using your vocal chords or playing any instruments. Audiation is taking audible music you hear and playing them inaudibly in your head. If you've ever "had a song stuck in your head" this has most likely has happened to you, but if it was just "Bad Romance" or some other popular track that was clinically designed (YES, IN A WHITE-WALLED LABORATORY) to become stuck in your head, I don't think that really counts. The word "audiate" is just so wonderful to me. Beethoven apparently audiated his later works, penning them completely without help from anywhere but his inside of his mind. Imagine hearing the complete Ninth Symphony, every note, every dynamic marking, every single instrument in the orchestra, all in your head, all at once. Wouldn't that make you go crazy? Still, it is one of Western music's finest creations, and Beethoven should rightly be considered a genius for the incredible skill with which he wrote it.

I watched The Graduate last night for the first time. I really loved it. I think it was one of the most well-made films I've seen, but I haven't really seen that many. Every scene and shot was like a perfectly coordinated work of art. The music (written especially by Simon & Garfunkel) was also a wonderful aspect, it threaded its way through the film wonderfully. I loved the contrast between Ben (Dustin Hoffmann)'s sullen, bored, uninspired attitude and the overwhelming happiness and optimism of his family and friends. It is so twisted, but so lovely. At one point in the film, Ben's 21st birthday party, his parents give him a full-body wetsuit (or whatever they're called) and tell him to come out and show it to everyone/demonstrate it. Even though he thinks it's ridiculous, Ben still walks out to the pool area and looks at the clownish people laughing at him. All you can hear is his steady breathing, and all you can see is the silly, made-up faces wearing hats and sunglasses and fashionable 60s outfits. He jumps into the pool, tries to float up but his father pushes him back in, and then he realizes how peaceful it is in the bottom of the pool, and sits there without moving. Maybe he just wanted to escape the stupid things people say when they want to humiliate you, but it was a very poignant scene, at least to me. Ben reminds me a lot of some character from a Murakami novel, I think it must be Toru of Norwegian Wood. Toru was a college student with not much drive, and not much desire for company. He just sort of drifted through life and people, girls and friends, with a keen interest in keeping to himself and developing his own personal interests such as books, records, films, etc. Behind all that, too, there is a sadness that builds only as his relationship builds with Naoko. Ben is a little different from that, but his attitude is all the same. He'll do anything to stave off the boredom, he'll be anyone, but he isn't really interested in anything. When something, or someone, comes along to completely enrapture him and give meaning to the meaningless, life becomes so much more than nothing. So, it's not bad to just flourish within yourself. To wait, and hope. Or something... It seems to me like that is one of the greatest ways to be. I might be wrong.

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