• Preetham Vishwanatha

Discovering Musicality

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

Defining what music really means to us is so hard. This is because music is the most nebulous and creative form of expression. Music is both structured and unstructured at the same time. It is both signal and noise at the same time. It is both the notes that you hear and the silence between the notes at the same time. It may help to think of music on this dichotomous scale (branching into two opposite dimensions) to understand the creative aspects of this art which conforms to a genre and is also genre bending at the same time. This intricate, implicit and tacit knowledge of the quality or state of music is mostly referred to as 'Musicality'

One can surmise that musicality is both biased (preconditioned to the cognitive and biological conditioning of the consumer of music) and unbiased (based on the foundational structure of rhythm, time-signatures, pitch, harmony, melody, dynamics etc.). If this premise is true, then how can anyone teach or learn musicality? here-in lies the rub.

Time immemorial, humans have created, perceived or learnt musicality through emotional contagion and behavioral contagions. A contagion is something that is infectious. By that definition a emotional contagion is a phenomenon that triggers a similar (infectious) emotion in one human based on other human's emotional state. This can be happiness, sadness or even perceived imagination. On the other hand, a behavioral contagion is a phenomenon that triggers a similar positive (or negative) behavior in one human based on the positive behavior from another human. Think about 'yawning' for 5 seconds. And now resist to see if you can stop yawning!

Musicality being as nebulous and creative it can be, is learnt through immersing yourself into a perceived set of tonality, melody, rhythm and techniques that all uniquely manifests itself into a specific genre of music. This cannot be directly taught through structured learning. If you want to play Jazz, you need to immerse yourself listening to whole lot of Jazz. If you want to play metal, turn up Metallica!

Most of the greatest masters and your own music tutors advise you to immerse yourself listening to a specific style, genre or form of music through listening to different songs in that genre so that you can get infected with this emotional contagion. Listening immersion is one of the most effective ways to comprehend the nuances of the style or the form.

While listening Immersion helps you comprehend these implicit nuances of a style or form, It may not necessarily help you immediately express it in the form of your own musicality and expression. You will also need to immerse yourself in the behavioral contagion that helps you develop skills to express. As an example, you may speak Russian or Hindi but you may not know how to read or write in that language. You picked up speech patterns through a different form of contagion while oblivious to the skills and behavior of educating yourself to read and write.

Similarly, to express your musicality, you need to get immersed into the behavioral contagion of practicing different skills to achieve the expressive power of the style and form. Think of it as a contagion to acquire skill-sets that needs to be added to your repertoire. These skills can be practice techniques, ear-training, musical voicing or phrasing, melodic patterns in different scales, rhythmic patterns, or any other form of experimentation that other musicians are 'practicing' to develop their music muscles to express their musicality. Hence, getting 'exposed to', and 'practicing' these different skills is also important.

Where do you go to discover and develop musicality?

At Kena, we figured that there is a huge gap in the market with no single source or destination where you can go to immerse yourself into both the emotional and behavioral aspects of discovering and expressing your musicality. The sources on the internet to discover skills and develop musicality are far too fragmented.

Not everyone knows a great master to learn from. Or, you may not have other musically gifted friends to hang-out with. Or you may not be jamming with a band all the time. You are probably on your own, and maybe even self-taught and wading the backwaters of the internet to discover and develop your musicality. You may have hit a plateau or become stale with your current skills and are looking for fresh and current perspectives.

Launching - Kena Opus

Given the market gap and the challenges musicians face today, we at Kena are starting on a very humble journey to bring the global musicians onto a single platform and allow them to exchange notes and infect each other through skills and ideas that can benefit the overall community in general.

Think of this category as a "Music skill exchange". We are creating this category and intend to define it. We will strive to bring community and partners on board and enable synergy and efficiencies that should hopefully benefit everyone in the ecosystem.

We are launching our first platform called Kena Opus. (in music, Opus is defined as a set of compositions created by a composer). The platform works on a model based on community-sharing and pay-it-forward culture. It's a model based on collective effervescence. A culture where the music community comes together to share their thoughts and beliefs on a platform like Kena Opus to benefit the overall community in general.

Kena Opus enables you to tap into the skill-sets of global musicians by getting access to a shared community library of musical phrases, music diagnostics, techniques, riffs, melodies, practice phrases, and composition notes. We believe that by starting our journey here, we can get progressive in our exploration to eventually aggregate the emotions and behaviors that may help discover and develop musicality more efficiently.

In these humble beginnings we hope that we can fulfill our own inner journey of discovering musicality and we hope you shall too.

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