Synchronicity - The Reykjavik Grapevine



Published May 25, 2011

In some places in Polynesia it was common to play synchronous music in order to terrify the enemy in warfare. The music would indicate how well they were organized. An organised army is efficient and effective. If there is a clear pulse it synchronises with a master, a top of the hierarchy.
The marching band is a group that is to be used in warfare. As any other part of a military it has (or had) a strategic role. In some cases for instance, a military force would attack a city and the marching band came afterwards. The people of the city, who had perhaps never heard this kind of music before, were terrified. Hearing the loud synchronous sound of a marching band would be terrifying and additionally the people of the city would imagine that even more soldiers would follow the marching band and resistance would be futile.
Governments like to use festivities, science and art to remind people of their power. One clear example of this was the “space race” in the cold war. In the field of music, any well-trained army of people will remind one of the efficiency and organisation of the society. That way a symphony orchestra, for instance, has a clear militaristic role. It is a well-trained and efficient army of people that follows one ruler and executes very complicated tasks in great detail in perfect timing. Each and every member is aware of the strategic plan and has a chart with a two-dimensional graph or a grid, an action plan, that is very rigid and exact.
In a country that has no military, like Iceland, one might wonder what is the strategic task of these kinds of forces. Is it simply to be like everyone else? To have a Nike store because everyone else does? Or is it perhaps a business-oriented goal of giving the signal: “We are a European society and very cultured, disciplined and efficient.” In order to give a clear signal you need to speak a language somebody understands. In order to have a competition the rules must be clear and standardised. In order to enter a world competition you must submit to those rules. That way international conductors and soloists can make their regular special appearances, just like single functional objects can be replaced in a machine. They travel between similar institutions doing their art as well as making sure everything is right in every corner of the world. This way orchestras all across the world work together, synchronised.  

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