Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

10.29.2013

When Music Imitates Life

Mountains
People who would never say "I don't like snacks" or "all parks bore me" blurt out their distaste for classical music with sweeping generalizations. I can understand disliking a piece or two, or even professing an avid aversion to a composer (Schoenberg, anyone?), but this? This I cannot condone.
 
A journey: this is classical music. It requires commitment, intelligence, optimism, and patience. But from that first note, you find yourself flying along, as though a magic carpet has swept you off your feet. The music soars into the treetops--you peer over the edge of the carpet and see the entire piece mapped out in front of you, like a charming village. Violins sing legato notes--the flute trills harmoniously. All is beautiful, perfectly planned, and wonderfully predictable. You could stop here, and everything would be clean, organized, and respectable.
 
Continuing on, however, brings a tangled mess. When you least expect it, the carpet dives for the ground with alarming alacrity. The cellos are rumbling, the oboe is crying, and the flutes are nowhere to be found. Everything that looked so clear and marvellous from the sky is now confusing and ominous. You crash into the earth with the mighty sound of the cymbal, and suddenly conflict reigns supreme as you fight your inner demons and those around you. Dissonance is everywhere. The tympani is thundering, the violas are wondering, and the french horns are plundering.
 
At the height of the loudest fortissimo, minor explodes into major and dissonance blooms into consonance. You find yourself on a mountain peak much higher than the aforementioned treetops, and the violins are playing their hearts out in gorgeous melody. Every single instrument trembles with passion as they create a lush, glorious sound of unimaginable beauty. Then slowly, slowly, the music drops to a soft, peaceful, comforting close. Satisfaction abounds.
 
The magic carpet lets you off, and you wonder at the journey you just experienced. It was not at all what you expected or planned. It seemed easy before it got ugly and frightening. But the ugliness turned into something beautiful; you're not sure how it happened, but you are sure that you would never have noticed the beauty if it were not for the former ugliness.
 
Do you understand now? Classical music is a journey of life. Don't scorn the dissonances, or you'll never hear the consonances. Don't cringe at the crashes and bangs, or you'll never understand the melody. Don't be content with your summit, or you'll never reach the true mountain peak. And don't faint when your anticipation proves false--the unexpected will bring beauty in the end.
 

8 comments:

  1. What a beautiful, rhythmic explanation of your passion. I SO enjoyed reading and wandering through this post. Thank you and love you!
    Aunt Hiedie

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    1. Aww, thanks, my dear Aunt Hiedie! Love you too!

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  2. What an amazing and incredibly descriptive post, Mikaela! You reminded me why I love classical music so much and also how much I miss attending live concerts (like yours) because it was always a musical adventure. :)

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    1. Western music and African music are certainly worlds apart, huh? ;-) When you come back to the States again, we'll have to get you hooked up with a concert. ;-)

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  3. I love this! I'm still learning to love listening to more dissonant pieces. I enjoy all of it while it's live, or when I'm learning it myself, but not so much a recording.
    This post is beautiful. I adore metaphors and music makes me speechless. God is amazing.

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  4. I am one of those people who made blanket statements about classical music. In the last 5 years I have had a growing appreciation for this music genre! I think you have to realize the time and talent that each piece takes to make it so perfect! And the fact that most of the composers are writing all the parts with out being able to hear how they sound together, until the piece is finished! Truly AMAZING!

    I love the way you described how the music flows! ;) Keep writing, I've been enjoying reading your posts!

    Elizabeth
    imhisservant.blogspot.com

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