Young and Matured Henry Cowell with his music note.
 
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Henry Cowell: Mind over Music

No sooner did I begin this self-training than I had at times curious experiences of having glorious sounds leap unexpectedly into my mind-original melodies and complete har- monies such as I could not conjure forth at will, and exalted qualities of tone such as I had never heard nor before imagined. I had at first not the slightest control over what was being played in my mind at these times; I could not bring the music about at will, nor could I capture the material sufficiently to write it down. Perhaps these experiences constituted what is known as an "inspiration."

I believe, had I let well enough alone and remained passive, that the state of being sub- ject to these occasional musical visitations would have remained, and that I would now be one of those who have to "wait for an inspiration." But I was intensely curious con- cerning the experiences and strove constantly to gain some sort of control over them, and finally found that by an almost super-human effort I could bring one of them about. I practiced doing this until I became able to produce them with ease. It was not until then that I began to develop some slight control over the musical materials. ... At first able to control only a note or two during a musical flow lasting perhaps half an hour, I became able, by constant attempt, to produce more and more readily whatever melodies and harmonies and tone-qualities I desired, without altering the nature of the flow of sounds. . . .

As soon as I could control which sounds I should hear, and turn on a flow of them at will. I was able, by virtue of studying notation, to write down the thought, after going over it until it was thoroughly memorized. I have never tried to put down an idea until I have rehearsed it mentally so many times that it is impossible to forget the second part while writing down the first.

I shall never forget the disappointment I experienced when I first wrote down a com- position and played it. Could it be that this rather uninteresting collection of sounds was the same as the theme that sounded so glorious in my mind? I rehearsed it all care- fully; yes. it was the same harmony and melody, but most of the indescribable flowing richness had been lost by the imperfect playing of it on the imperfect instrument which all instruments are. Since then I have become resigned to the fact that no player can play as perfectly as the composer's mind; that no other instrument is so rich and beautiful, and that only about ten percent of the musical idea can be realized even at the best performance.

(3) Logical-Mathematical'Intelligence. Gardner ends his treatment of musical in- telligence with some paragraphs on the intellectual competence "that in popular lore has been most closely tied to music-the mathematical sphere." He is clearly uneasy about this relationship, which he admits has occupied some musicians- and mathematicians-from Pythagoras to Schoenberg and, beyond, to computer- music composers. (He fails to mention cryptology, a field involving both linguistic and mathematical intelligence in which some musicians have had more than average
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Henry Cowell: Mind over Music