D'autres ont cherché soit à renforcer, soit à dispercer un état d'âme, une passion, à la modifier, l'attiser, l'oublier ou l'apaiser. Al-Fārābī abū n-Naṣr Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn Tarhan ibn Uzlaġ, Kitābu l-mūsīqī al-kabīr = Grand traité de la musique, Paris : Geuthner, 1930, p. 18
Often I do not even know what is occupying me inwardly. It is difficult for me to put my feelings, my mental state into words. "Feelings" and "mental state" — do they mean the same thing in the end? On the other hand, it's easy for me to give space to feelings in music and dance, so that they can unfold or also calm down. Is that because singing is so close to crying and laughting; dancing, beating or stroking an instrument so close to twitching, stomping and cuddling / caressing?
A state of mind that is familiar to me is exuberance. Exuberance, wildness and uninhibitedness — again, interconnected terms? The feeling of being "carried by the air". Feeling no boundaries. Wildness: not knowing the limits in the first place. The immediacy of feelings. The uninhibitedness that is a freedom. From such uninhibitedness comes an attraction, just as from norms. The attraction of the uninhibited is a nostalgic one: I am reminded of the time before culture, of the animal, primal state. Lion dance, oni. Uninhibited = power in the sense of "mighty" = nature = demon = deity. Uninhibited forces of nature and flow of things. Landslides, floods, earthquakes. No one can stand in their way. Uninhibited playing of the drums, the santur, uninhibited dance. A state that triggers the highest feelings in me. It just flows, it happens, with my body as a medium, without my intervention. Without my control or direction. Trance-like.
Letting go, letting myself drift requires trust - protection and support. The protection is provided by the privacy or — if in society — by the norms of the rites, the "privacy" of the rites created by initiation. Letting go of everything that supports me makes me vulnerable and susceptible to "getting lost." While a wall can protect, it cannot support. That's why I find a close circle of people in rites more supportive than a frontal arrangement (stage in front of audience). Coming back / arriving seems easier because the circle calls from all sides. The support comes in the form of human energy. The closer the circle, the more intense the energy flows. The energy can flow in yurts and small circus tents and amphitheaters. It can also be passed from the outer human ring to the next inner ring and so on to the center when all people are close to each other.
Initiation — making the gathering of people aware of the vulnerable, undefined, ambiguous state and demanding norms to protect and support the vulnerable — to become a "group". Initiation: the permission to enter the rite. An entrance fee, a security check cannot replace it. All present are privy to the fragility and protective norms: in this, the rite differs from the feast. All present have also passed through a spatial transition: a stone, a gate, they have stepped over a threshold, they have stooped under a beam or curtain, they have set across a river, they have boarded or landed, they have mounted a chariot or horse.
With appropriate care, jam sessions and artistic productions (concerts, dance performances) become rites of passage.
The more sensitive a community custom is to initiation, norms, protection, and support, the more ritualistic it becomes. Thus, many matsuri
are the performance of a long, huge rite, but also include more exuberant, insensitive phases that are more inclusive, festive, norm-free, and tolerant of "falling from the sky" events and non-initiates. For me, matsuri
are characterized precisely by the fact that ritual and celebration find a place in them, and both are given importance and recognition as a matter of course.
We all feel gratitude; being one with the world; leaving behind old worlds, our own pasts, people, places and objects that are significant to us, enduring the unsubstantial floating in the unknown, in order to then connect again somewhere, to attach ourselves. No one lives without sensations or without going through transitions. Rites provide the framework to do this with the inclusion of fellow human beings. I feel that rites can help us all to remain spiritually "whole" and "on the path."
Rites also standardize behavior and make laws superfluous - good prerequisites for harmonizing within a drum group and for growing together as a group: We want to be able to concentrate on growing (further developing). Content-related and formal disputes would rather hinder this. We integrate rituals (= elements from rites) into the tr'ensemble training
to stay familiar with rites: We play the rhythmic greeting 인사굿 insagut
; we start and end each training with a common greeting. Some participants make a ritual of their own accord when entering and leaving the training room. Our taster course is ritualized in that it deliberately concludes in an affiliation phase where the tasters and existing participants get to know each other.
I owe sufficient attention to the topic of rituals to the professional environment of my former work as an early childhood educator, in which settling in according to the Berlin Model and farewell and bedtime rituals are a matter of course. The fact that drumming, singing and dancing seem to play a central role in many rituals in different cultures has additionally fueled my attention to the subject.
When the state of the soul is amplified, the soul ends up speaking through dance, through song, through music. Endless repetition and improvisation are ways to get there. I wouldn't go so far as to ritually inflict physical pain on ourselves. By letting go, at least I become vulnerable enough. Letting go is very contagious. I trust the power of contagion. Whether we come out of a rite purified depends on our ability to harmonize as a group, to focus energy, and on our humility and willingness in the face of letting go. miyake-jima kamitsuki mikoshi daiko
is one of the tradtitions where I feel this way. CC BY_SA 4.0 韓 山 Han_San
Raw text fragment for "Drumming together".
Photo: James Alexander Jack, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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