Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Thursday 31 January 2013

Quinta Tonantzin Retreat House Tepoztlan


Quinta Tonantzin Retreat House, Tepoztlan, Cuernavaca, México.

Cockerels crowing at 03.55, dogs howling before that.

Rising 06.14.


Morning Sitting with the Intro Team in the Ballroom at 07.30, entering ahead of time.
A door, that I have been quietly knocking on for decades, opened inwards.

Breakfast at 08.00. Silence visited, although not everyone around the tables was able to accept what was on offer.

A meeting of the North American Federation Of Guitar Circles Quorum at 09.00. Various comments, including that this is an authentic Level One without the large proportion of more experienced members we usually have on courses today. The ratio is of 28:14, or 2:1. Points of Seeing were presented.

Sandra left to join Rodrigo and Alexander with the House Team at 09.30.


11.08 Intro Team with guitars at 10.00.

Bringing attention to the soles of the feet, to the top of the head, to what is in between; benefiting this morning from the Practice of Presence.

Rules for motion within the Circle were presented.

In the Circle: 28 guitars.
Circulating with multiple notes.
Into two groups, with multiple notes on down and up beats.
To whizz circulating. Three Vicious Queens were assigned pole positions and the enhanced viciousness, perhaps even a little cruelty, were added to the whizzing power.

At the completion of the meeting: bringing attention to the palms of the right hand, the tips of the fingers, up the arm to the shoulder, and then waving at our friends in the Circle with presence and intention.

The Intro Team is returning to work with Curt, Leo and Luciano at 11.10.

As an addendum to the subject of Queens Vicious, Erin, a member of the House Team and Alexander Assistant on the present course, asked this question a few years ago:

Does anyone know the story behind the use of the word "vicious" in GC?

Words have power.

The word vicious conveys the power of viciousness to one so named, even where that person is seemingly gentle.

In Guitar Craft, the use of the word seemed to appear along with the Whizz, where the initiating player sets the Whizz in motion with a directed, intentional and committed act that transmits a sufficient quality and quantity of focused energy to get the Whizz halfway around the Circle, or down the Line. For more than halfway, the Whizz has to catch fire of itself.

Women seem to take to this, perhaps because in Guitar Craft and in the Guitar Circle men have been mostly in pole positions and directing roles.

Partly, a role has to be assumed for a function to be discharged; often where the role is not part of someone’s established repertoire. This is personal.

Partly, there is an energy available in the role sufficient to enable the role to be discharged. This is impersonal.

Partly, this is an aspect of the sense of play that informs, guides and catalyses work (and play) in the Guitar Circle. This is a blessing.

Several relevant issues:
Discharging a role.
The Assumption of Virtue.
Play is at the heart of creative endeavour.
Encouraging the active participation of women to speak with a feminine voice in a male-dominated environment.
21.02 Tai Chi at 12.30.

Lunch at 13.00.
Many questions, not all of them immediately relevant to what we are doing here. That this undermines the course, in several ways, is not seen. Perhaps the penny will drop in a few days.

Question from the head table: How do we know that a note is played with intention?
Alternatively expressed: What is the phenomenological aspect of a note played with attention, And otherwise?
The tone, the timbre.

There are both universal and particular judgments on timbre within music. JH of the Intro Team commented that sounds approved of in one musical community may be rejected in others (paraphrase), an example: sounds in gamelan.

Music is a quality organized in sound and in time, by particular people in particular places; ie there are personal, regional, historic and cultural elements in judging and determining the value of music and its component parts. Yet within the Balinese listening community, there will be a body of authoritative (or at the least, competent) members of the musical community who are able to make value judgments on the tone of what is performed within that musical practice.

To performance: the determining effects of place and other factors influencing the act of music.
To audience: audience is Mother to the music. If an audience is not listening, the music is not quite born into our world.

Then words of utility and necessity were presented for the benefit of the Gringos, on two subjects: the disposal of toilet paper and a scorpion alert. The first has a precedent: the GC Course in Switzerland (September 1987). The scorpion alert is a first for me. Luciano mentioned he disposed of a small scorpion in his room, near his toilet paper. In this small recounting, the two announcements were brought together.

Early afternoon working on The Writing Project and additional material for The Guitar Circle.

The Intro Team are meeting with Leo and Luciano at 15.00.

Afternoon views I…






Tea at 16.00 with lukewarm coffee. I returned at 16.50: it was only a little hotter.

The Five Relations at 17.00 with Sandra (Blog / Video)


Quiet Time at 18.30. A cellphone went off at the end.

Dinner at 19.00. A very quiet beginning, with Silence hovering. Following food, as Silence fell, the women present were invited to present comments.

Women don’t witter on about Important Ideas, like men. They are more concerned with what is real and practical. Good comments, including adjusting the circulating note to include the person on the left (this from Queen Vicious One).

Then to Man Comments, mostly good.

What to do this evening? Two comments from male members of the Intro Team men were brought together into: The Introductory Team Act From Their Own Initiative. The aims include taking turns to stand in the centre of the Circle, and to practice the exercises together.

A request for personal meetings: the Buddies will put sign-up sheets on the board tomorrow.

A table conversation with Sandra on JGB and articulating the qualitative dimension of number.

Returning to the room for an early night, that is, early on local time.