I woke up this morning before Katie's Amazonian parrot, Henry, which is unusual. I consider Henry to be both a connoisseur of sound and music and a talented musician in his own right. He responds to sounds which I think of as particularly musical- running water, and heated discussions, for instance. He also tends to pipe up when listening to female vocalists- Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Pasty Cline are among his favorites.
Last night I put on a tape Charles Weigl made for me- Silence/Time Zones (Black Lion), with Anthony Braxton & Richard Teitelbaum (and Leo Smith). Leo (who was a teacher of mine) has one of his break-through compositions on this record- Silence- which has huge stretches of silence connecting islands of texture and melody. The aleatory element is obviously strong here, and there's something about the overall rhythm of the piece that sets off the environmental sound elements with even more vividness than Cage's 4'33. I think it’s the interaction with improvisation that does this.
Henry got right in there immediately. His particular take on intervals and melody (He loves flat 6ths) fit in beautifully with both Leo's all-inclusive spatial melodicism and Braxton's tense bursts of timbre. Henry is also very deliberate in his phrasings and likes to wait before moving on to the next statement. You have to wonder what other creative processes are secretly being shared so closely with the animal kingdom. Is there an equivalent in poetry?