Discover more from Pass Along Songs
Collaborations - Part I
The power of sync
“At the risk of sounding hopelessly romantic, love is the key element. I really love to play with different musicians who come from different cultural backgrounds.” - John McLaughlin
We’ve known for a while now that everything vibrates. Everything, even objects that appear to be immobile are constantly in motion - vibrating. oscillating, and resonating, at various frequencies.
But what’s even more interesting is that when two objects vibrating at different frequencies come together, they will often “sync up.” This means they will start to vibrate together on the same frequency. Examples include:
Fireflies - When certain species gather in large numbers they will start flashing in sync.
Lasers - These devices emit light that is coherent, meaning light waves whose frequency and waveform are identical.
Hearts - Our heartbeats depend on the synchronous firing of tens of thousand pacemaker cells.
Musicians - Every musician I’ve ever spoken with talks about the powerful relationship between the sounds they produce and their audience. When their audience is a collaborator - another musician who feels and responds to their sounds - then all kinds of music magic (Sync) becomes possible.
So this week’s topic is “collaboration” with an emphasis on how musicians connect, sync with each other, and build on their interactions with one another and their audiences.
Let’s start our conversation by listening to this collaboration between musicians performing at different times in different places in the world. The song is entitled, “The Weight,” and was produced by Sebastian Robertson and Mark Johnson for the “Playing for Change” project.
Because most of the musicians were not “together” as they were performing, how do you think this incredible “sync” was accomplished? I’m not talking about the technical aspects of mixing all the parts, but the very clear connection the musicians felt to the song and one another.
Have you ever experienced a sense of sync, either playing with another musician or for an audience?
What did it feel like? We know that sound waves can actually be felt by the body (not just the ears) and can trigger emotional responses in the brain. Can you talk about a piece of music that had a powerful effect on you?
Let the discussion begin!
P.S. If you are curious about the concept of “sync” check out this book by Steven H. Strogatz entitled, “Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos In the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life.”
Copyright 2021 by Jena Ball. All Rights Reserved.