Thursday, September 24, 2009

Knotted Knowledge

It is a great pleasure for me to occasionally wrestle, like Jacob, with the angel of an idea I've never confronted before and to hold on until I understand it.

DB - The Vagabond
Fancy meeting you here.
I'm pleased to say that the Jurassic Monster that was suing me for my arms, legs and all my money has finally agreed to the settlement and dropped the case.
On day years ago just for fun I tried to harmonize and ascending scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B. C. It's not as easy as it sounds, at least it's not easy to make it sound interesting to the ear. The first triad, C. E. G is easy enough. But the next one, D, F, A has no tones in common with the first one which makes an awkward move. The third on E, G, B has two tones in common with the first triad so you're more or less back where you started.

It was then that I discovered the concept of modulation. As I said, it was many years ago, in my ignorant youth.

Simply put modulation enables you to go from one key to an unrelated key by finding a third key which has notes common to both. If it's a very far reaching move you have to come up to it with two or three different chords to get you there.

Then I began to think about the principle of modulation in acting. One of the big concerns of an actor is what motivates his character to do the various things he does. There is an over all objective to the role, but there are smaller objectives along the trail of the plot, and sometimes they may seem to be far from the goal the character has in mind. But they are simply ways of maneuvering things to suit the character and his circumstances. Shakespeare's King Richard the Third says "Why I can smile and murder while I smile and cry 'content' to that which grieves my heart and wet my cheek with artificial tears." Richard was modulating. He was pursuing his goal while seeming to go in an opposite direction just as the composer does when he wants to change the key.

Then I began to think of modulation in terms of human behavior. Take negotiation for example. One side may seem to agree that the other side will get everything it wants but then it will introduce a new consideration not thought of before and the circumstances are changed, there's a new key.

We've all been in a romance at one time or another. Think of the modulating you had to go through to try to win the heart of your loved one, whether you were the pursued or the pursuer.

Lately I've been considering this mechanism of modulation in terms of society, reading history to observe the side movements and adaptations that brought about the events that made our world to day, and watching the same changing of the tracks as society develops into what it is going to be,

Knowing about the principle of modulation has made me an informed skeptic. It's not a negative position, just one that is not ready to accept things the way they appear to be going.

There is still a lot more to be learned. The angel knocked Jacob's thigh out of joint, but Jacob kept wrestling until the dawn came. My thigh is out of joint. I don't think it was touched by an angel, but I'm wrestling with this idea of modulation until the dawn comes.

DB - The Vagabond

An Autumn Blessing to you.
If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be and why?

You have all Fall to answer if you wish, Reply here or at

Thank you



salemslot9 said...

in your acting career
did you ever have to cry?

Beth said...

I'm so pleased for you that the suit is dropped. Yahoo!

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Excellent news on the payment plan and dropping of the suit.

Modulation, a parallel of patience, very interesting :o)

Liz said...

Modulation in a musical term is a change of key within a composition. It is the composition that holds every key played as essential to the whole.