Being a percussionist is a contemplation of transferability of skills. Knowledge exchange occurs within one's own body. Practicing konnakol I deal with all the same issues I might deal with when using any external instrument but somehow, because the materials are simplified and pared down until only the tongue and breath is left, it seems close to the heart of musical structure. From here it is a simple(r) process to coordinate the strengths, sensitivities and contortions involved in particular instruments.
For a percussionist concentration on the simplest of structures leads to an infinite variety of sound making technologies and tendency towards cultural pluralism. But even for a percussionist it always seems to come back ultimately to the experience of the embodied voice. This is the root. All other technologies are emulations and amplifications of aspects of this source.
It seems more useful to me to work at the level of the soil than the leaf. I feel more soul in a berimbau than in a santoor, in a harpsichord than a pianoforte, in a midi controller than a sequencer window. Increasing technological sophistication demands more effort to collaborate with the conceptions and designs of many others, to reconnect the present means with the core purpose.
Is there a music that resides in an ideal, Platonic realm that is variously, imperfectly realized through different technologies? is this a description of the relationship between thought and language? What happens when the link between word and heart is weak or severed?
Once a movement or architecture is grasped in the heart (by heart?) it can find expression by whatever channel is most appropriate and available. It is important to get close to the insight, the experience, the breath, to the stuff of the body. This is to deal with the basis of the mind - it's primitive animality in the slime of the amygdala, it's neocortical strategies and aspirations.
This fact is more or less explicitly stated in many musical traditions. In Carnatic percussion it is clear that the human voice is central, followed by the drum, the mridangam. From these all the other instruments flow, each with its own character and sophisticated technical demands - ghatam, khanjira, moorsing, tavil, etc.
And memorization is important. Something learned by heart becomes embedded and embodied. It finds myriad expressions in an infinity of changing contexts. The same information written down leaves the body empty, makes it into simply a mechanical playback device.
The technology of the piano, or the computer is a form of writing, like a painting-by-numbers kit. The player need not perceive any truth, before expressing it.