On Thursday of this week a Dead Alert went out on campus announcing that Mickey Hart was to lecture in Fred Lieberman's class "Music of the Grateful Dead." Lieberman and Hart are co-authors of several books including Drumming at the Edge of Magic, Planet Drum, and Spirit into Sound. Their shared interest in ethnomusicology and long-term friendship was evident.
Mickey spent a very lively two hours, first talking about the recent tour of The Dead and then the "Universe of Sound" that occurred sometime during each night of the performances. He took questions from students on a full range of topics from favorite percussionists to play with to ideas about sonic experiences from Huygens to Smoot. Lots of hilarious anecdotal comments got revealed.
Mickey said if there is one word that epitomized the Grateful Dead (and now hopefully The Dead) it's entrainment. He described the harmonic place musicians often feel when there is a synchronization of rhythms-- celestial vibrations captured from the Big Bang to the rhythm internally felt in the body and those encountered from the external natural world (think rainforest and crickets.) "Touring the Universe of Sound" is available at dead.net for all 22 nights of the recent tour. You can tune in and drop (into outer space that is).