Introspections

A few recordings played on BBC Radio4 this morning made me look up the visuals... and the story behind what is simply known as "bone music"...

I vividly recall how even allowed, but rare, recordings took many months, sometimes years, to get hold of during the communist dictatorship years. However, in the Soviet Union, where a lot of Western music was banned, people found ingenious ways of smuggling the music into the country.

One such method was the use of medical X-Ray images... The film was of course much softer than vinyl, and the recordings not only suffered in quality, but also lasted less... Still, they were quite listenable - and even after many decades, the well-preserved specimens still play remarkably well.

There is something very poetic about people using images of their inner anatomical world to also carry music for their similarly inner, but more spiritual, world. If this is not musical and visual introspection, what is...?

A short, but superb, article about these recordings and the troubled era they were born in as vehicles for music, together with examples of the x-ray images can be found here.

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