I came across the term, “Wabi Sabi”, while studying music in Japan this year.
In talking to the idea with various people, I often ran into the idea that “Wabi Sabi is not something that foreigners can understand.” Perhaps not, but this attitude doesn’t seem to support my goals of fostering international understanding.
So of course I foisted my ideas on my unsuspecting English class, in that in the 21st Century we enjoy incredibly quick communication that allows people all over the world to experience arts from a variety of different cultures. So while Japanese people are enjoying western pop-music, perhaps a foreigner can appreciate a Japanese aesthetic.
Regardless, I was inspired to rewrite some chorales that I composed around some haiku by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), thinking about my studies this year in music and aesthetics as well is in the Japanese language.
I’m not sure if the pieces reflect the concept of “Wabi Sabi,” but I would challenge anyone who says that they don’t to find two people who agree on the definition of the term.
Three Haiku (score only) (formerly “Three Poems by Basho”)