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Gurdjieff Music

During his long traveling phase, searching for knowledge, Gurdjeff met different cultures’ music.In 1924, when he settled in Fontenblau near Priurè, he transcribed, with the help of the composer and disciple Thomas De Hartmann, the kind of music that he had been meeting while traveling, adjusting it to piano or orchestra. For three years they worked together and created a lot of music and new pieces; from this period there are reports from De Hartmann himself on his book “Our life with Mr Gurdjeff”.


Gurdjieff Harmonium

Gurdjeff music is unique in its kind and cannot be compared to any other kind of music.

First of all we have to remeber that it is music written from an awaken man and it’s made with the purpose of creating an inner state not connected with any mental or emotinal state, like other kind of music we might be used to.

Gurdjeff life’ only purpose has been the one of helping humanity to wake up and the musicas well is in tune with this purpose. Gurdjeff music cannot be understood as we can try to understand Mozart or Chopin music. In fact it’s not even meant to be understood.

It is a kind of music that doesn’t give any reference point which may possibly be recognized on both mental and emotional level. It’s a music that seems to be coming from far, away, from the depth of the being; at times extrimely simple.But in this simplicity you will perceive a sense of completeness and essentiality which seems to be trascending history. It’s a music that reaches the essence of the being, activating the deepest level of the human being.

A friend of mine, with a high sensitivity on music, once told me: “This music works on the cellular level, breaking down the previous structure and building up a new one, which we do not know or at least we had forgotten”.

Gurdjeff Music, as well as Movements and all his writings, they all come from the same source, and they all have the same purpose: to help mankind to wake up. Gurdjeff had understood that it is not possible to work in a direct way, and all what he did in his life has been pointing at the same direction: the core of human being.

Here below I offer a brillant conversation between Helen Adie, piano player and Gurdjeff disciple, and one of his students. It suggests in my opinion the best attitude to bring within, when listening to this extraordinary music.

Student: When I try to watch my feelings I become confused, and cannot focus, the same happens when I listen to Gurdjeff music.

Mrs Adie: Years ago you were saying that it was difficult for you to be listening to this music, that you were not able to understand it and that it was not effecting you in any way. Maybe in same way you are now trying to grasp it with your mind. Do you have the same kind of difficulty with other kind of musica s well or only with this specific one?

Student: I’ve been told that I do not have “musical ear”

Mrs Adie: Well, in a way it is easier to listen to this music without musical ear, because people who are looking for some kind of conventional way or form of it, they won’t be able to find it. There is no conventional form at all. Well, so just try to receive impressions from the music, without trying to interprete anything, as you cannot anyway. Maybe you think you are not receiving anything as you cannot define what it is. You do not say to yourself all the time: “ah, it’s great”, or “I don’t like”. Just receive it and leave all the rest. This means to be listening. You just listen. Let the vibrations of sound reach your being. Do not move in any direction. If you try to think about the music, you will create a wall. So try to be free from thinking. Many people find it having great effect on their feeling and on their body too. But try not to think too much about the music, as your thoughts, as well as anybody else's thougths, they do not have the sufficient standard to think about it. This music is not made for thinking. It’s made to give specific, defined impressions. You know how Gurdjeff speak about objective music, he says that if music has an effect once, then it will have always the same one. And it is not that people do agree or disagree; either they don't receive it, or if they do receive it, then the effect will be the same. Did I answer you?

Student: Yes