An entire life for a single tone

I don´t usually speak directly about myself. But this time I feel this prompting wish to share this with you all.

For the record, I am a composer and a concert pianist.


I have been practising these three partitas by Bach (in B major, C minor and A minor) for the last 27 years. I even played them in concerts. The thing is that… yes, the tones were there all along, the expression came out right, but something was always missing. My rendition of these suites didn´t feel convincing. Not accurate enough. Really maddening…Alas…Despite hours and hours of toil and hard work, something indefinable, something beyond my conscious reach didn´t allow me to feel settled…at ease…with this music.

Today in the morning as I was pondering this hopeless predicament, being utterly discouraged, I had a sort of epiphany: Before sitting at the piano, out of the blue I HEARD A SINGLE TONE…both inside and outside of me coming from nowhere…Not only that it entirely “held me”, but this very “inaudible tone” felt like the fundamental essence which is behind and contains all written and yet unwritten Music. The inner invisible structure of all music: GRACE.

It all happened in an instant. It felt as if a veil was taken from my soul. I was speechless. I couldn´t believe my senses: After all these years of working my fingers to the bone, Bach´s music was there in all its shining beauty. Simple in all its unfathomable complexity.

All those seemingly technically unsurpassable passages I had struggled with throughout the years were now seamlessly easy…

It all made Sense now. 

And it made sense, because I suddenly was free from any aspiration or wish to accomplish anything. I had given it all up. There was only this immediate and gloriously unmediated understanding which virtually took possession of me.

Such wondrous flow. It was not me playing anymore, instead the music was playing me. The joy and immense sense of fulfillment to feel this music in my grasp felt like heaven on earth. Pure rapture.

I was both the Mirror and the Mirrored. The player and the played…


Know that we simply cannot achieve this direct and pervasive cognizance, despite all our aspirations and targeted effort.

This kingly guest has to come and bestow us when we are ready.

I have waited for almost three decades. For the gift of One…

How long are you prepared to wait…?


About julienmatei
I feel an inner urge to express what I see, to communicate and share with others all these impressions. Often the things I see are there, not yet manifest, but waiting... to be observed, talked about, and embraced. These new insights need another approach, a more vivid curiosity... Due to fear and prejudice we prefer to see only "the official" truth - but THE OFFICIAL TRUTH IS DEAD - being dead, it has nothing to give... We can continue pretending Death is fascinating or... we can take the trouble to LIVE... THE NEW has no definition yet... Again, IT requires another "perception", the courage to apprehend everything differently, from a totally new angle, with new confidence and inquisitive touch. This blog is not about interesting concepts, it is about participation... finding new solutions, inspiration, togetherness.

13 Responses to An entire life for a single tone

  1. YOHAMI says:

    fuck yes.

  2. TBS says:

    Life-being in the key of Grace.

    The ‘inaudible tone’ that waits for us all.

  3. mystic1muse says:

    Your experience is closely correspondent with my own; SEE:

    • julienmatei says:

      “They radiate pure meaning that comes as chords of music.”

      Indeed, perfectly put, that is exactly what I too have experienced.

      “The essence of the future is there, and worlds of instruction live in each chord. With all perceptions altered, brightened immeasurably, you are grounded at last in reality. Your subsequent life, in so far as it is meaningful, shall be nothing but the translation into action of this music.


      THANK YOU!

      • mystic1muse says:

        Also, not indicated in that version of my text is the same aspect you mentioned in that it began for me with a single high piercing note. Another aspect not covered is that I was both in the body and outside the body at the time.

      • julienmatei says:

        “I was both in the body and outside the body at the time.”

        That is staggering…I wonder how you perceived yourself and everything from the “outside”…In fact, was there any “perception” left?…

      • julienmatei says:

        Also, I am grateful for you telling me this, namely that it all began with a single note.

        This ineffable note is in fact behind everything. Everything is rendered possible due to this Tone.

        Sometimes I forget, but I´m constantly being reminded, that it´s al just ONE TONE AWAY…

  4. mystic1muse says:

    “I was both in the body and outside the body at the time.”

    “I wonder how you perceived yourself and everything from the “outside”…In fact, was there any “perception” left?”

    The experience happened when I as about 24 years old; my body is now coming up on 70 years. It happened like this–I had laid down one day for an afternoon nap. I went to sleep in an ordinary way but there was no dreaming that I recall. How much time in seeming ordinary asleep I don’t know but I was “awakened” from the sleep by the high piercing note. I seemed to come out of the dark of sleep into full waking at the instant the note sounded. But I was not yet awake in the ordinary sense. Instead I was awake in some other space or dimension. I had no sense of body except that it seemed to me that the note had sounded in the middle of my head, except in that state I did not have a “head.” Instead, my “body” and identity was just the note. I had a sense of being present or floating in a space and a sense of being lifted upward by the note. So, as my brain now registers and interprets it, there was duality in the sense of a vague awareness of the background of space in which I was, and the sense of being lifted from where I was to above. So there is duality/direction in the way I registered the experience but complete unity in the note.

    So the more external part of my experience was somewhat like the out of the body experience or NDE (near death experience) that people describe where they are apart from their body. But in my case there was no traumatic event or illness connected with it, my life just prior being rather normal. I’ve come to think of it as my NLE (“near Life experience”).

    So, after the note; which soon became a series of ascending notes. I came slowy back into my ordinary body as it lay on the bed. It felt at that point like the “ghost” body dimension of my self slipped effortlessly into the body. But, here’s the thing–as I came fully awake, the note/vibration did not stop. Instead, it was present for a short time after I was fully awake, and then subsided. The memory of it has never subsided.

    “This ineffable note is in fact behind everything. Everything is rendered possible due to this Tone.:

    Exactly right. That is my sense as well. And I would add that anyone who has this experience, knows this. And they know it without having to interpret the experience in the usual way. Instead, they just absolutely know it.

  5. julienmatei says:

    “My “body” and identity was just the note.”

    “I had a sense of being present or floating in a space and a sense of being lifted upward by the note”

    “I registered the experience but complete unity in the note.”

    What you describe makes me somehow think of The Tibetan Book of The Dead.
    Are you acquainted with it?

    They say that the thing which separates “the living” from “the dead” is nothing more than a Tone. A vibration.

    I felt so many times that I was just a vibration away. Yet I couldn´t “reach” it, it had to come to me…

    So when you say that you were lifted upward by this note, it really does make sense to me.

    What we generally deem as “pervasive knowledge”, insight, inspiration is the very presence of this very Vibration.

    Thank you for being so generous as to share this with me.

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