Summer Cobwebs

I’m dusting off summer cobwebs by sparring with a worthy adversary.

Popper 6: It’s fast, it’s got all kinds of string-crossings and finger-combinations which demand careful attention to moving slow fingers faster and more efficiently, repairing sloppiness in the bow (roll and yaw), and clarity of memory & focus.  The etude goes through the awkward adjacent finger double-stops in minor sixths and tri-tones (especially 3rd and 4th finger tritones) which rarely exist in nature, and pushes me into an uncomfortable space which I, in my day to day life, strive to avoid. It goes deep deep deep into my gremlins’ lair: generalizing, rounding off, and  usually leaving-off at good enough.

Always the larger questions loom up and drag us into the koan zone. What is lost if I don’t go deeper into this uncomfortable space of my own limitations? What is lost by aural compression algorithms and slow sampling rates if you simply discard frequencies above the threshold of human hearing? What is lost when you simply round-off the nuances of pitch to fit within the mathematical grid of half-steps described by the 12th root of 2. Or succumbing to other computer rounding: octal, decimal or hexadecimal systems? Or submitting our 3 dimensional ecstatic selves to algorithmic manipulation in which we are a mere point on a curve? Is it just good enough? Do you want a doctor that is good enough? At what point does healthy body maintenance veer into obsession and narcissism? At what point does institutional administration begin to administer in its own behalf at the expense of the institution? At what point does process overwhelm data? 

What is the ratio of greater good to good enough? The answer is plain in all our ecologies, personal, political, social and environmental. Artists and monks are simultaneously censured for their withdrawal from the society that supports them, and admired for their discipline, exactitude and rigor. Risking themselves for the greater good, to preserve us from the mere good enough. 

To answer the first question: that is what is lost.