Droning On and On

An Everyday Life of Altered Thought?

The aspect of monastic life I am familiar with is the production of manuscripts (1). The history and development of music and musical complexity is an empty page.

It will not explain the origin of the material I look at nor could you suggest it is the central use of the material but it may say something about the situation the stories I study found themselves in and one of the motivations for the telling.

They say something familiar in an unfamiliar way.

If you are producing this form of highly technical and controlled form of sound on a daily basis, it is not a confrontation with high emotion that is the problem, it’s the everyday, mundane aspects of life that get in the way. Having a bad day, the little moments when the normal rhythms of life get interrupted, running late, a task proving more difficult than it should etc.

Hit the song with even minor levels of the emotions that result from life, it’s going to go wrong. It will start small and if you do not catch it, will end large.

I may not know the rhythms of monastic life but I do not think it speculation to suggest that monks had a life and that sometimes life gets in the way and its rhythm’s alter.

The history of music and the development of musical complexity is where this aspect will live or die. I know something of social life here, political and cultural aspects, relationship of the body with medicine and philosophy.

The sound scape has been dead as the relationship between spoken word and text can only be done by comparison and generalization.

As music is recorded in text it is a way into an aspect of sound scape such things lived in. It’s also a tradition that still has a place in the world, which can be explored and experianced directly. The distance is great but it is to let go. In this space anything is possible.

The further question would be to ask how the production of ritualized and synchronized sound may have affected ideas about the origin of language and the way these ideas were presented?

That looks like a series of questions.


(1) Manscript production and copying is a sound producing activity in the early scriptorium. It is a hive filled with the buzzing of bees. The monks spoke the words as they formed them on the page.

This relationship with spoken language has not yet moved into the distance and the margins of modern readings in the closed and silient word of the book.




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