For Spiral Muse, listening and attuning to one another is part of the creative process. The rehearsal that Dionne explains her vision for her latest song creation, we are in herchurch’s downstairs classroom with its bank of windows facing the setting sun, and Dionne is explaining how she wants the song’s energy to build. The song is called "The Sun Rose," and the beginning of the song is quiet, like the hint of light creeping up over the edge of the earth, smudging the horizon’s dividing line in the near-dark: sky, earth.
Gentle guitar picking evokes that faint glow filtering over the horizon. Dionne’s voice when it joins the guitar picking is also soft, because she sees in her mind’s eye the barely visible dew drops glistening on leaves; she senses more than sees them, as the sun’s rays have not yet brought them into view. Her voice deepens, a length of cello notes resounding from her chest, opening to the spectrum of colors humans can see when light touches our world. The swelling of her voice is like the first day, the beginning of creation.
photo credit: Elain Chan-Scherer
Slowly the other vocals merge in; the light increases. Alison and Kathleen intone higher harmonies; hushed at first and then also expanding, like the sun’s advancing rays. My violin, playing a lower harmony, builds upward in sustained notes because that is what Dionne hears—the slow movement of light stretching, touching, and awakening everything. I want to add bird trills, but in Dionne’s song, the notes build together in a blended, incremental progression. With my heart I listen to Dionne’s intention for the song and follow the flow of her energy, playing my violin in slow-sifting patterns of sustained notes that elongate like the sun’s rays, touching first the tippy-top of a valley’s trees (in my mind’s eye, they are redwoods) then illuminating their crowns in a blaze of brightness, and as the sun rises yet higher, sending a cascade of warmth until the redwoods’ reddish trunks are a flame of beauty and the earth stirs fully awake.
Welcome to our world of music-making, dear listeners. You are part of the enlivening process when you listen and take in the music and reflect back to us your own radiance. The song is not fully created until you hear it with your ears and hearts. You are an integral part of our songs' creation!