I am an improviser and a musicosopher. An improviser whose only score is a well-tempered keyboard, one same soul in one same body, the same 10 fingers, and a certain trust in the unique instants music creates when it manages to emerge from the world of sound and unite a performer with an audience in one same feeling of certainty. A musicosopher, because of my dissatisfaction with the “musico-logical” approaches to music. I therefore turned to the philosophical seizure of consciousness, and to Edmund Husserl in particular. I found my happiness in the texts, the teachings and the interpretations of a certain number of wanderers of musical meaning hailing from the Eastern and Western parts of the world. They taught particular instruments, musical analysis and improvization; some were also choir directors. Then came the writings and conferences of conductors such as Ernest Ansermet and Sergiu Celibidache. They knew how to place human consciousness at the operative center of music, in practice and in theory. Then also came composers, such as Giacinto Scelsi or Slamet Abdul Sjukur, who had found their inspiration at the very heart of sound.

Today, such people still sing Gregorian chants in monasteries, or Orthodox chants in their own hearts, or Hindu mantras throughout the 2world, like Shyamji Bhatnagar. Street singers should not be forgotten either, as they proclaim the unhoped-for. The explorers of sound infinity must also be mentioned, for they know how to hear the world in which they live. The world that is here.

Through vocal inflexion, through the quality of touch, through the beauty of phrasing, many anonymous people also allow the Profound Chant, which we all have in common, to vibrate. I finally want to acknowledge the ones who succeeded in touching my Heart of Hearing, a place in which the Universal beats in each of us. All of these people made me understand the value of experiencing music in light of our full consciousness.

These are my forays in the world of music and with my peers, the instrumentalists, the composers, the improvisers and the entertainers. I am most of all referring to the common substance that connects us all, whether we are musicians or not, music lovers or not. This substance, it is the consciousness of music which I call “musical consciousness” and for which I try to understand the movement and the “work” it does in each of us.

I turned to afew composers whom I was lucky to meet, read or perform (Chapter 4, A Concertante Autobiography) and to others I have only heard recently (Chapter 7, A Few Steps Forward). I looked to a history that is already far away (Chapter 1, Orpheus’ Odyssey) (Monteverdi, Bach and Ravel) to the worlds of Debussy and Bartók (Chapter 2, Elsewhere and Now). I considered the role of the voice in our lives, in opera and in cinema (Chapter 6, The Ear and the Voice). And, finally, I turned to the presence, all around us, of musical styles that have survived the twists and turns of history and the uncertainties of Evolution. I see in the young princess Kartini, the feminine icon of modern Indonesia, a predecessor of my own writing. I have dedicated a short study to her and her exceptional ability to grasp the unifying consciousness that music can awaken in us.

3 I attempt, through my writings, to shed light on today’s interrogations and mutations in order to help open up incessantly expansive and more intensely conscious fields of experimentation.

I would, once again, like to mention the Indonesian composer Slamet Abdul Sjukur (1935–2015), whom I met in Paris in 1975 in circumstances that are recounted in the tribute presented here. I would also like to give my heartfelt thanks to his talented student, the composer and publisher Jenny Rompas, without whom this book would never have seen the light of day.