What I've been calling the oppositional principle in music is a way of singing, playing, or conducting in which the perforer moves relatively little, instead letting the music move through him or her and on to the public. In recent posts we saw Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Dizzie Gillespie, and an entire choir of male singers perform while keeping themselves quite still on stage. Today I'd like you to watch two different pianists demonstrating the approach: a very young Ahmad Jahmal and a not-so-young Mieczyslaw Horszowski (who was still playing the piano after his hundredth birthday). Jamal and Horszowski move their bodies only a bit here and there. They produce magically sweet sounds at the piano. And every one of the notes they play has a clarity of intention that make the notes "speak" as if coming directly out of the piano.These two great artists show that the oppositional principle knows no boundaries: you can embody it if you're white or black, young or old, a cool cat or maestro. What's also interesting is that by embracing an universal principle you'll remain a unique individual; Jahmal and Horszowski are completely different from each other, even though they're very similar! I'll go on a limb here and state that only by embracing universal and timeless principles can you really fulfill your individual mission on this planet.
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