Guest artist: Paul Rudy

HEALING DROP: Self-portrait of the artist at Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico.

Miracles fell like drops of healing sound…

Click here to play soundtrack: an excerpt from Paul Rudy’s “Miracles Fell Like Drops of Healing Rain.”

It has a million languages and even more dialects. From the sound of ice cracking on a lake to the trickle of a fountain to the steam of an espresso machine, water is one of the richest sound sources I know, second only to the human voice in its flexibility and variety. It provides me with infinite compositional inspiration. My first experience with water was in the womb. Splish-splosh, squish-squash nourished my mother’s heart through a pool of fluids in which I bathed. I felt that sound in every fiber. The mind does not remember…but my body does.

Water is a model for constancy with infinite variety…nature’s perfect artistry of micro-counterpoint, both visually and aurally…a paradox that defies understanding yet invites knowing. I once ate lunch overlooking the Missouri River as the sun was low in the west. The play of the light on the water was the most beautifully articulated texture I have ever heard, as it played in the pan-sensory theater of my imagination. The stereophony of a waterfall is as magical as the gestural splash of a tossed stone or the splatter of a child in the bathtub. The sound of water never loses its playful allure to my ears, just as my body never tires of its cool, nourishing taste. The sound of flowing, rowing, skiing, drinking, cooking, bathing, washing, squirting, slurping, pouring, falling, sloshing, freezing, raining, hailing, sailing, gurgling, murmuring, spurting, trickling or raging is, in every way, primordial: it is our origin sound…it is the sound of change, of energy, of flow…it is the sound of life itself.

And so, as water stands, seeps, meanders, flows, rages and crashes, it is infinite in its instrumentation, voicings and orchestrations. I have seen no end to its expressive capabilities, and I continue to return to its trough for the endless renewal of this magic and the possibilities it engenders in my creative collaborations with Mother Earth.  I am eternally grateful for the sound of water as it plays upon my body, mind, heart and soul. It has a million dialects, and I hear them all. ~ Paul Rudy

Paul Rudy is a Rome Prize (2010), Guggenheim (2008), Fulbright (1997) and Wurlitzer Foundation (2007 and 2009) Fellow. His music has won the Sounds Electric ’07 Competition (Dublin), EMS Prize (Sweden) and Citta di Udine (Prize ex aequo) and has received recognition and commissions from IMEB, Bourges (2008 commission), SEAMUS, Meet the Composer, the American Composer’s Forum, SCI and the National Music Teacher’s Association . He teaches at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and is currently the Elliot Carter Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Go to iTunes to learn more about his music and hear samples. 

Text, audio and photograph © Paul Rudy. For reuse rights, contact

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