Con brio

Imagine that the world revolves around music. Some of us play, some of us listen, most of us are critics or fans in one way or another.

We exist in an auditorium with a stage that, over time, has evolved to become almost infinite. Not only infinite, but open to anyone, at any time. The auditorium is cacophonous, a clash of keys and timbres and tempos. Everywhere you look, there are people playing their songs, shouting their music to the world, calling for others to join their band, summoning fans to watch them perform.

There are orchestras, and pop groups, and solo artists. Their fans rage; their critics rage; the artists rage to be heard over each other.

You’ve realized that you are a musician, and you want to play your own instrument. You’ve played for a while, unseen, off stage, while others clamored for their place on the stage. But you don’t want to hide it from the world. You don’t want to hide behind your instrument, either.

And how in the world will you ever be able to play when you can hardly separate the sound of your strings from the others? They twist the melody from your mind, overpowering you with their own syncopation, their theory, their practiced modulations and formulaic refrains.

But you’re not afraid. This is not the way that music has to be. It’s not the way you want your music to be, not the way you want to play, and you will not let them scare you from the stage. So you take your instrument and you climb onto the glossy wooden floor boards, and you turn yourself away, at an angle from the crowds, because you do not play for them. You hope they will like your song, but ultimately that is not why you put your bow to string.

You focus on your breathing, on the music in your head, and as the din around you turns to white noise a melody escapes you, and you play. Your song goes unheard, but you are playing, you are breathing song into the world, and your fingers are dancing across the strings.  The undermining modesty of your sound draws curious attention, but that is not why you play.

And suddenly, you do not know how, or why, or when, but all you can hear is the stream of your own song, notes ringing in the rafters, soaring and ecstatic. And you play and you play, and the music gushes until, all around you, the auditorium transforms. The music bends to weave between your notes, creating an abstract symphony.

And you play until you are exhausted—exhilarated, but exhausted. And suddenly you realize that the noise is still there, the noise is maybe even louder than ever, but you see the random faces in the audience turned towards you, listening. Thinking.

They heard what you did, even if you didn’t mean to.

Even if the noise remains.

It’s better than applause, this silent appreciation. Your sound may not have dominated, may not have pierced through the bedlam, but it reached who it was meant to reach.

And still, you played it only for yourself, for the sheer joy of communion with your muse.

Perfect synchronicity. Perfect unfolding. As you always knew it should, and would be.

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