September 11, 2011

Nature and Music

“Birds singing. Trees waving. These signs of nature reflect music. If you have a problem when playing the piano, go outside, communicate with nature, and see how it communicates its beauty.” As you can see, Tomoko is deeply in tune with nature.

Tomoko has a keen ear, and can recognize emotion evoked by nature. “In Rumania last year husband and I were walking, and heard a donkey braying. He was little, and had obviously left his mother to follow a cow. I am driving. He had a special way of calling.” Music formalizes that kind of natural emotion.

Thus, Tomoko can speak with authority when she remarks that “Beethoven was close to nature.” He was known for long countryside walks, and his Symphony No. 6 in F major (which he called the Pastoral Symphony) was inspired by nature’s beauty.

Tomoko uses nature as a metaphor for describing music and its play. She talks about a “simple accent, like a flower” to describe how to interpret and play a particular note quietly and delicately. Equally, Tomoko says that when she performs, she is sharing a “whole scene” with the sensation of a landscape. She uses the metaphor of a jungle to describe complicated music that the pianist explores. Likewise, she compares the challenge of a difficult piece of music to walking up a hill, and further contends that conquering the music is like looking back from the top of that hill or mountain to see where you have come from and to see the vista of the music. “It’s an exhilarating feeling!:

Tomoko does not think she is unique in her musical connection with nature. She contends that people have a natural, instinctive sense about music. She also feels that music helps give one balance, just as nature balances today’s technological life.

You can hear nature in Tomoko’s nuanced performance of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in E Major, Op.109, available at

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