thoughts on magic and music

I can play a rusty ‘happy birthday’ on the guitar now. It’s fairly simple, nothing too complicated. Holding the guitar and playing a few notes, I can already begin to feel a similarity to when I started with magic. Get a deck of cards, tune it, then practise. This is the same with a guitar.

It takes time, you develop muscle memory and you just go. You forget all the details about finger positioning and think about other things, but when you start, it’s the details of the technique that you concentrate on. There’s always this urge to learn more and more, when really you only need to get down (perfect?) a few basic moves. Again, this applied to both magic and music.

Persistence, it takes persistence. Lots of it. There’s no other way around it, there is no instant gratification. Anyone can pluck a string and spread a deck, but not everyone can do it in a smooth and beautiful fashion, that takes time.

It’s interesting how there are similarities in practising, but differences in the performances and the reactions. I feel that music has the ability to go/last beyond the author/creator, more so than magic. Also the creators of magic are often looking for a shock value, and the shock value lasts that one time. On the other hand, with music and songs, you can hear them over and over to get that effect. With most magic it’s a one time thing, but it need not be. Often you’ll hear magicians talking about how their trick will fool people. If you want to fool people, you probably will, but so what? Instead magic effects (not tricks), like music, should be about sharing something beautiful. So instead of creating magic with the idea of fooling someone, magic ought to be created on the basis of beauty and rhythm. Which is why I love reading essays about magic by Ascanio and Juan Tamariz.

Most magicians don’t create their own effects, instead they learn what other magicians have done. This is fine, I have no issues with this. Often you will end up putting something of yourself into the effect, making it yours in ways. I suppose this is what good singers do with songs as well. I haven’t devised many magic routines of my own, just a few. There’s only one that I do on a regular basis. That routine came about when I was doing flourishes on the RT and a few people asked me to do some magic for them. I had no idea what I was going to do, even as I asked them to pick a card. I just went with the flow, piecing bits of magic together to arrive at an actual routine. I like how that worked out. Like musicians, magicians also have jam sessions.

Anyway, it seems like I’ll be spending quite a bit of time with the guitar. Also, watch this space for more happy birthday related material (bollywood style). =P

1 Comment

  1. On the other hand, with music and songs, you can hear them over and over to get that effect. With most magic it’s a one time thing, but it need not be. […] Instead magic effects (not tricks), like music, should be about sharing something beautiful.

    Loved this bit.
    It reminds me of when we hung out in Toronto, and no matter how many times you did magic, and even something as ‘simple’ as shuffling your cards or laying them out across the table with a flourish, it still blew me away every single time.

    And I loved finding out later – whether through facebook comments or your posts here, I don’t remember – how delighted you were by our delight, and what it meant to you to see your cards (through photos, for example) as we saw them. I’m sure when you do a routine over and over, it can become too easy to get bored. The beauty, then, in being an entertainer or presenter of any kind, is in overcoming that possible boredom, and being receptive to your audience’s reactions, even if YOU have done the same thing over and over.

    Liked this post a lot. =)
    And am looking forward to your further reflections related to your guitar, magic, and music.

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