The Music of David Salminen

Secrets of Spontaneity

“Vera Rubin, an astronomer who has contributed greatly to our knowledge about the dynamics of galaxies… describes her recent discovery that stars belonging to a galaxy do not all rotate in the same direction; the orbits can circle either clockwise or counter-clockwise on the same galactic plane. As is the case with many discoveries, this one was not planned. It was the result of an accidental observation… Rubin was lucky to be among the first cohort of astronomers to have access to…clear spectral analysis of nearby galaxies – a few years earlier, the details would not have been visible. But she could use this luck only because she had been, for years, deeply involved with the small details of the movements of stars. The finding was possible because the astronomer was interested in galaxies for their own sake, not because she wanted to prove a theory or make a name for herself.” ~ excerpted from the book Creativity – the psychology of discovery and invention, page 2 (first Edition 1996) by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I highly recommend this particular book. It’s available from various booksellers; Amazon offers a Kindle version, as well.

“It may seem like a contradiction, but the truth is that the more complete the intention, the greater the element of spontaneity that enters with it. If you look at the work of a really great artist, the intensity of the intention that he brings to his work is the condition which allows spontaneity to enter. Do you understand? … Let us take musical improvisation. It is not true to say that when you improvise in music there should be nothing intentional about it. You have got to be able to see what comes by itself, how a theme will grow by itself and how you have to follow it. Out of what seemed to be merely an interesting theme, Beethoven could see spontaneously arising something which was really a divine inspiration. There was a transition from the one to the other, all by a number of spontaneous steps, but he was able to recognize them.” ~ excerpted from an exchange between JG Bennett and one of his students, 19 July 1964, quoted in the book Sunday Talks at Coombe Springs ~ by J.G. Bennett (Ken W.F. Pledge, editor). This 300 + page book (First Edition 2004) published by Bennett Books, was still available as of 2021 from both Bennett Books, and Amazon. It covers many themes, in addition to intention & spontaneity.

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