Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mental Map of Paper Topics

I had a dream, I was looking for a paper topic.  First, I was looking for my computer, to do some programming, then I gave up because it was all the way on the westside.  Then I was wandering on the streets of North Baltimore, trying to figure out how to use my time before picking up my son at the daycare.  Walked by a funny conversation in the street, on "what crickets eat" versus what other small animals eat, like frogs.  I gave up on picking up my son early at the daycare, and I went to the public library.  There I decided I was looking for a book, one that I already had: "Music in Greek and Roman Culture, by Giovanni Comotti".  Wandering through the mouldering stacks, I gave up on finding this tome, and then decided to at least sit down at one of the nice windows terminal computers and type some text.  Searching the library, most computers were used.  Some ice hockey dudes were eating subs at one.  Likewise, lacrosse chicks were gossiping over sprained ankles at another.  One had some computer code on it but its user was absent, I imagine he had long red hair.  Actually many computers had projects going but users absent; I interpret this is a metaphor for my own multiple projects at various stages of fermentation or fallow.  A few students, perhaps chemistry majors, were typing furiously at microsoft word.  What were they saying, it obviously wasn't facebook but how can you write a paper so fast without taking it personally?  I guess you can always write a letter to your boyfriend as an official microsoft document too...  Searching the whole library, I could not find a terminal.  Until I almost gave up and was just about out the door, dwelling on its threshold where the office plants are in the tiled atrium, near the help desk; this is where I spied one free computer, that no one had claimed because it was probably to close to the aging librarians at checkout.  I thought, maybe I should ask these librarians for a hard diskette, like from the nineties.  Like in a dream, one showed up right in front of the computer; I didn't need to ask for it!  So I sat down, no excuse but to type: I googled "Ancient Greek Music" and got some results that were in Italian, in Greek.  Now this is where the dream ends, because it was a useful dream, the kind that is a process to a waking state of new knowledge.  I didn't even have to type anything into that computer in the public library.  The dream was about giving up, not deciding, letting computers and books go fallow,  listening to the subconscious environment, and creating a Mental Map of neighborhood streets and public library to wander in, so I could wake up with a paper topic: "The Application of Ancient Music to Electronic Music".  Chapters:
  1. Personal History, making musical instruments inspired by the ancient ones.  On misinterpretation: we truly have no "recordings" of the ancients, and why this is important.
  2. Ancient Music and analog synthesis.  Sounds to imitate nature, such as crickets, frogs.  Lessons on the platonic way to play a synth.
  3. Ancient Music and computer music.  Tunings as theorized and transmitted by the ancients: Plato, Pythagoras, Archilochus.  Misinterpretation part II: Kathleen Schlesinger, Harry Partch.

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