If you are somewhat familiar with the music notation, you will agree that it is pure math. The pulse or beat is organized into meter and rhythm, there is an equal number of beats in each measure, the divisions of a beat are very precise, everything is held together in the same tempo, the musical tones form melodies and harmonies, and there are specific rules that dictate a certain use of chord progressions, and certain relationships between the chords, intervals and notes. All that brought to life as soundwaves is subject to the laws of acoustics, vibrations and the mechanical qualities of a particular piano in a particular space.
Yet, with all the mathematical calculations involved, we perceive music as a language, and it literally activates the language center in our brain. As we study music more and more, we begin understanding that the precise rhythmic notation is not as precise, and there is some deal of slight freedom and randomness in the way a musical phrase or pattern will turn out. Similarly to the possibility of saying “I see one orange on the table” in multiple ways, a musical idea can be expressed in infinitely many ways through small changes in timing, timber, dynamics, even notes and chords.
Let’s have a quick analogy from the present day: your GPS navigator, Siri or Alexa still sound a little odd and robotic. Modern technology hasn’t fully figured out how to teach the computer to completely resemble the freedom and randomness of human speech. If the timing of every syllable is somewhat too predictable and there is a limited variation in pitch, we know it’s not normal.
Similarly, if we approach music at certain frequencies that have a precise timing, it will sound no better than a MIDI file played by a computer. It is important to overcome the notation and convert the written down human idea about a musical context back to life as a human idea that makes sense to other humans. In other words, do not read letter by letter, just say words and combine them into phrases. Do not focus on every word but tell a story. The notation only supports the transmission of the language, but it is our role to interpret it and communicate further.