Melody, Harmony & Prose

Casio keyboards are on sale down at the local music shop. I had been considering dipping back into music for some time. The weekend offered me an opportunity to dive in. It’s official. My new Casio Privia PX 160 is on order. According to the clerk, I should have it by Wednesday; Friday at the latest.

There are so many pieces I want to play. I would start with the ones I remember from childhood. Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata By Beethoven, Nocturne by Chopin, and Campanelle by Liszt. But there are dozens of others lying at the periphery of my mind; pieces that have been a part of my system since childhood. You see I may have stopped playing the piano when I hit my early adult years, but the passion never left me. The passion for music, for the keys, for the sounds that climb and undulate and fall and climb again. The softness, the subtle ebb and flow as well as the passionate crescendos.  

I purchased a book on music theory yesterday, one of those illustrated guides for people (so they suggest) of smaller intelligence. A back to the basics book on how to play the piano. What struck me was how little I recalled of having been instructed on theory. It was as if all those years ago, someone placed me on a piano stool, put the music sheet in front of me and just said, there- play that measure. And I stumbled along. I don’t remember loving playing the piano back then, and now that I think about it I was frustrated with it. As I look at the “101” on piano playing before me, it encourages me as I read from A to Z on everything from the keys on the piano keyboard, how they are divided from middle C up one side to the right and down the other side to the left. I relearn how many beats one note gets vs. another and what rests are, sharps and flats. Chords. The difference between a melodic interval and a harmonic interval. The more I read, the more excited I become. And my mind hears the music. I can see it and hear it and feel it. And I can imagine myself enjoying hours of play. No recitals. No pressure. No cracked whip, just me wanting to put in hours of time to get to a place of piano comfort. A place where I can relax and enjoy the delightful songs and release.  

And then it hits me. I need time. More time. When am I going to finish my novel if I am practicing piano, and knitting and walking the dog and working my regular job. There is just not enough time in my day to fully enjoy all the things I love to do. No time for boredom, that’s for sure.   

I am grateful for my interests. For my passions. These things that make life richer. So, I will find the time. And I will divide up the time in a way that pleases me, because this is for me- not above me or pressing me. No oppressing me. These activities are sources of joy and they will remain so. I will put the time in and shift my focus from one thing to the other as the inclination dictates and it will balance itself out. From these activities, I am recharged and refilled with joy. This is good. This is right.

I do have a feeling about this music thing though. As much as I love writing and can’t imagine life without it, I have a feeling the music will help drive my writing.   Very likely, t exposure to that other creative side will only enhance the art of words flowing through my fingers. That in some ways the words will grow with their own form of lyrical movements through the page. The right pause. The right lilt. The press, the push, the pull and the sway. They will all be there through dialogue, setting, movement and narration. That somehow I will find my voice through this secondary stream of subconscious connections to the rhythm of my heart and my blood, flowing through the music and onto the pages. 

For as long as I can remember, music forms specific imagery in my mind.  One song conjures rain drops on a windowpane, another brings up a picture of a man walking alone along the Seine River, his head bowed and a stiffness in his shoulders permeates his mood.  Loneliness.  Isolation.  Another piece evokes energy.  Like the horse rushing through the fields, moving up and down in a staccato gallop, it’s hooves thundering the ground below- causing any life beneath the surface of the earth to scamper in other directions. And this horse carries on this way until she reaches the shoreline and then sweeps herself into a curve of motion now running parallel to the crashing waves at her left side. Her gallop slows to a gentle trot until she comes to a complete stop in her favorite place, where the rocks and waves form a pool and she dips down sniff the salted water. She looks up and sees the high cliffs and the birds circling above. This scene forms through music in my mind. And I imagine the images of scenes such as these bubbling up as I play scales and chords and soft melodic movements highlighted by expressive chords. And I realize that Wednesday (or Friday) just can’t come soon enough.

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