The Human Voice – Lorca and Ibn Arabi

The human voice expresses the longing of the heart and connects man to “the soul of the world” as Ibn Arabi has expressed it.

Head Study

There is nothing like the power of hearing the human voice sung or chanted in a large space- solitary, beautiful, majestic and evocative, moving the heart with ease and passion. Whether it be written, spoken or visual, all art revolves around the human voice. The voice, whether figurative or literal, is the perfect instrument of deep feeling. It is the reason Lorca called for the revitalization of the form of Cante Jundo. Spoken words produce images and images produce words, either silent or spoken, in response, sending a message directly to the heart. This experience is at once shared and contained. Shared, in that, we can participate in the same experience of others and collectively be transformed (Lorca’s hope for his own work); and contained, in that, it can produce an experience of deep personal change.

The voice is nothing less than the longing of the human heart. In can manifest itself as an image, word, thought or dream. All speak of the human condition. Voice connects the person to “the soul of the world”, as Ibn Arabi has inferred. It connects him to his inmost thoughts and manifests them, with profundity, to reality. It allows man a “living” experience of the world because what he experiences within has impact beyond himself and can carry these inmost thoughts to others or even to a “silence” manifesting his own existence to himself. The human voice links man to that center, that unchanging aspect of the world or “being”.

The creation of art becomes the recognizable spiritual bond between man and existence. Art in all its forms, whether image, word or voice, is the transcript of that dialogue, that deepening of our own experience of the longings of the heart within the soul of the world.

I want to summon up all the good will, all the purity of intention that I have, because like all true artists I yearn for my poems to reach your hearts and cause the communication of love between you, forming the marvelous chain of spiritual solidarity that is the chief end of any work of art. ( Lorca, An introduction to a recital, 1933?)

Author: Judith Reeve

For nearly 30 years I've developed my painting practice in the studio, building on what I leaned from my student days at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art. Along with my daily journey creating images which I write about here on this blog, I am also currently writing a book on the color practice of Robert Henri.

One thought on “The Human Voice – Lorca and Ibn Arabi”

  1. Judith, Once again you write about something that I know on some level but you really bring it into sharp focus and it becomes much more clear. Experiencing a work of art with the human voice in mind makes me much more receptive to what the work is saying, even my own! A rewarding state of mind to cultivate.

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