technique or technology cannot replace emotions

20 03 2011

“If we study life today – in spite of the great progress of science, radio, telephone, phonograph, and all the wonders of this age – we find that the psychological aspect of music, poetry and art does not seem to develop as it should. On the contrary, it is going backward. And if we ask what is the reason, the answer will be that the whole progress of humanity today is in the first place a mechanical progress. This hinders in a way the progress of individualism.


It seems that we are restricted by uniformity, that there is no scope, you will find the same thing in the mechanical and scientific worlds. But in art especially, where the greatest freedom is necessary, one is restricted by uniformity, painters and musicians cannot get their work recognized. They must follow the crowd instead of following the great souls. All that is general is ordinary […] what is called uniformity has become a hindrance to individual development.” (p.98)


” When music has become commercial, its beauty is lost; it has lost much of its value.

There was a time in the East when every effort was made by the aristocracy of India to keep the art of music from being commercialised […] The musician was not restricted by his programme. He was left to feel by his intuition what the people wanted. He had to decide at the moment he saw them, and as he went on playing or singing he knew more. The chemical effect of the minds of the listeners told him what they wanted. So at the end it was a spiritual treat.

The secret of all magnetism, whether expressed through personality or through music, is life. It is life which charms, which is attractive. What we are always seeking for is life, and it is the lack of life which may be called lack of magnetism. If musical teaching is given on this principle it will be most successful in bringing about psychological results. It is on the health of the physical body, on thought, on imagination, and on the heart –which is often cold and frozen!– that the psychological power of music depends. It is this life which the musician puts through his fingertips when playing the violin, or through his voice when singing.

What the world is seeking, what human souls yearn for, is that life – whether it comes through music, colour and line, or through words. It is that life which everyone desires. It is life which is the real source of healing. Music can heal, if life is put into it. There is no great secret about it, if a person is able to understand the truth in its simplicity. When a person plays mechanically, the fingers running about the piano or violin almost automatically, it may create a temporary effect, but it soon passes.” (p. 100)




Hazrat Inayat Khan.

“The mysticism of sound and music”. London: 1996, Shambala Dragon Editions




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