ken, my producer, called it a ‘thinking note’ and he’s right. he knew i’d get to the point, but i had to get past the moment of time during which i could not think. in music, the thinking note buys that time; you are held in the shallows of suspension until released into the rest of the sentence. it slows the breathing down a little; it gives rest where there is no rest.
since the instrument of choice for politicians is spoken word, the thinking note has become “look”. i would count how often we hear it, keep hash marks to tally it all up, but that would be unnecessary and tedious. instead, i giggle every time i hear it, viscerally knowing the person who is about to speak is maybe buying a tad bit of time.
in music, the thinking note is a prelude for more, the honest line of melody, perhaps an entrance into a new theme, the slight pause of artistry, the powerful momentary suspension of new sound. it’s the “look” spoken by music. sometimes, though, for me, as ken will tell you, it is simply procrastination, when composition or improvisation falls into the moat surrounding the synapses in my brain – stopping all forward thought for the moment – as i wait for creativity to climb out of the gatehouse and make it to the next note.
in politics, i wonder…does “look” serve the same purpose? is it a prelude for more, an honest line of narrative, an entrance delving into a new topic, a suspension of speak to take a breath and gather thoughts? is it useful, preparatory, formative space between a question asked and an answer given? or is it something else? it feels a little like over-convincing when someone says “look!” to you. a snap-to-it-pay-attention admonition. perhaps an entrance into a one-way conversation. a bit aggressive.
as an artist and not a politician, i’d have to say: look…ummm…i have no idea. maybe we should ask ken.