Have you ever heard a tune you liked and tried to replicate it’s melody, whether using an instrument or your body? If so, I can tell you with confidence that you are, in fact, a musician. A musician doesn’t have to be formally trained in the classical works of Mozart or Beethoven, a fact that many casual performers and rock bands like The Shaggs have proven time and time again. Music, the art of sound, vibration, and rhythm, is a natural and in fact, a inseparable part of humans, such as an arm or a leg, and can be found everywhere considering if you search hard enough for it.
Every single sound is a note, a A flat, a G sharp, a tune, a jig, a melody. Say you dropped a plate on the ground (hypothetically). The sound of the air rushing past the plate as it fell is perhaps in the key of C, the plate shattering into tiny, little pieces is maybe in the key of G, and you yelping in surprise is possibility in the key of F sharp. You can even consider the sound of the ground vibrating in the musical piece of you dropping a plate on the ground. Bravo dear reader, you have just made music rivaling that of the masters of the old, of Chopin, Beethoven, and Mozart. However, before we go smashing expensive china into our walls and floors, remember that music isn’t just random sounds, but sound with a story.
Many composers write their music with a certain goal in mind, and just like literature writers, their musical story conveys a message, a meaning, a moral to the story. Romanticism composers compose long tear jerking pieces detailing a tragedy of romance akin to that of Romeo and Juliet, while others play short, exciting works celebrating the beauty of youth and spring.
However for me, well I could say I’m also a composer, however, I’m an artist who steals. In fact I wrote an essay on the topic of music, and defined it in my own words. I also wanted to finally start posting our publishing group’s works, our essays, our stories, our art.
I have a bad habit of humming songs every moment of free time I have. Most times I let the music flow in the shower, and other times I hum in between class periods. My friends usually find it annoying and tell me to stop, but I continue anyway, mostly to bother them for interrupting my performance. When I hum, my mind wanders into a trancelike state: my ears are closed and focused on my internal music. My foot begins to tap in rhythm with each rise and fall of the melody: music of the sole.
Every day on my way to elementary school, my mother would put on romantic songs like A Time for Us, and My Heart Will Go On. Each song gave a different perspective on love: passionate love, forbidden love, or even betrayal. However, at that age I was just too naive to know exactly what kissing or burning passion meant, so I just tried to listened to the “rhymey” words in each stanza. As I grew older, I began to notice little things such as what type of instrument was being played or a hidden melody that was carefully tucked under the main tune.
My knowledge of the performing arts increased when my mother took me to her cousin to learn how to play piano. There are major and minor scales, different variations of each, and different fingerings for each hand. Scales range from keys A to G, and reset back to A after passing through G. Each scale is comprised of a chord that incorporates three keys each a major 3rd away, or literally 3 ½ black and white keys apart. Fingering is complex and varies from the time period and style of each piece. However, as a kid, all of this information flew over my head. What I really liked to do was to press keys and make my own songs, which I failed with as a child, but succeeded as a teenager.
There are many types of music out there also: Classical, Baroque, Romantic, but I soon became tired of playing Chopin and Mozart. I created my own pieces time from time, and even stole stanzas that I liked from other composers. I would steal a series of notes here, a half rest here, and perhaps even a melody that sounded like smooth butter to the ear. Anything I liked, I saved it. Anything I loved, I stole it, but I’m not the only thief. Even in modern music, I can hear melodies and series of chords taken from the great masters of the old, Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin, being used in what can perhaps be called “parodies” of the original score of music. But these parodies incorporate what music truly is: Art.
I noticed that music started to play a bigger role in my daily life. Little sounds like a bell ringing, or a car honking made me listen for the tone, the volume, and the sharpness of the noise. Every single thing has a sound when disturbed. If I turn on a light, it makes a buzzing noise. If I close a door, it creates a vibrating “boom” throughout the house. Of course these things are obvious to the average person, but each sound plays in a different “key”. Perhaps the dog barking is in the key of F. Maybe the cat meowing is in the key of C. I may not be pitch perfect, but I know that music is all around me.