Q. Where would you like to be?
A. In a place of greater harmony.
Q. How are you lacking in harmony?
A. There’s too much counterpoint.
Q. Why is that a problem?
A. Because the counterpoint is dissonant. It reminds me of all the counterpoint toward the end of Musical Number Two in my new musical Eden in Babylon. Listen to “The Age of Nevermore” – skip to about 3:20 if you need to. When the counterpoint comes in at around 3:47, it’s the counterpoint of suffering and travail. It’s not consonant. It’s cacophonic.
Q. But didn’t you yourself compose that cacophony? I mean, intentionally?
A. I did. And that’s its saving grace. But the current cacophonic counterpoint is not being composed by me alone, but by a conflicting collaboration of a number of convoluted, confused composers. It’s a big mess.
Q. What kind of counterpoint would be better?
A. The counterpoint in Musical Number Nine: “Ode to the Universe”. I mean, listen. Where the counterpoint comes in at around 1:44, everything is happier. :)
Q. Why is the counterpoint in your life so unhappy these days?
A. Human relationships.
Q. Relationships? With whom?
A. With those whom throughout my life I have deemed most important to me.
Q. And these relationships are no longer harmonious?
A. Not sure they ever were harmonious, quite frankly. They’ve always been contrapuntal. But there have been times when the counterpoint was prettier.
Q. And now?
A. Our melodic lines are colliding. This creates dissonance and ugliness. I’m an Artist. I’m about creating Beauty. I can’t stand it when I’m even remotely involved in the creation of ugliness.
Q. But who’s to say what’s beautiful and what’s ugly?
A. You know the answer to that.
Q. Are you of such exalted Artistic merit that you can decide what’s beautiful and what’s ugly?
A. Well – I am the Artist, aren’t I? I mean – what are you driving at?
Q. Are not the others in these human relationships that you so prize, Artists in their own rite?
A. They are indeed. This is largely why I prize the relationships so highly.
Q. Then who are you to say that what they are creating is ugly?
A. I never said that! I said that the contrapuntal lines of the divergent melodies created by the — the three or four of us, let’s say — produce ugliness.
Q. Three or four?
A. Three for sure. Four pending. The fourth Artist has not yet begun his or her melodic line, at least not in a way that lets me hear it. But that’s besides the point. Let’s say it’s a Three-Part Invention — for now — and nowhere near the caliber of Beauty as such as have been created by J.S.Bach.
Q. So you are willing to concede that the individual melodic lines of the two Artists whose melodies conflict with your own might be individually beautiful in and of themselves?
A. Yes. In fact, they might even be harmonious.
Q. Harmonious? How can that be?
A. They may not be harmonious with me, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be harmonious with each other. When their parts are played separate from my own, they will no longer be in counterpoint with each other, but in harmony.
Q. Then can you not assay to be harmonious with them as well, and thus create a three-part harmony, rather than a three-part counterpoint?
A. Maybe. In the future, perhaps, after something changes.
Q. What needs to change?
A. The tonal structure of the conflicting melodic lines, obviously! We at least need to all be playing the same key, for crying out loud!
Q. But how can this ever come to pass?
A. You got me. From my position, it seems like the other musicians aren’t playing their scales right. They obviously haven’t been practicing.
Q. And you have been?
A. Yes. This is not to say that I haven’t been making mistakes. The mistakes just aren’t quite as glaring.
Q. Is there a way you can compensate for their mistakes, so that the three of you can still turn in a good performance?
A. Probably. I think it has to do with something that Jesus said.
Q. What was that?
A. He said: “He who would be greatest among you must be least and servant of all.”
Q. Are you implying that you wish to be greatest among them?
A. Not quite. Maybe second greatest.
Q. Why are you being so curt? And so vague?
A. Tired of the theme.
Q. Are you bored with the theme?
A. Not bored. More-or-less exasperated.
Q. Andy — what’s the bottom line?
A. You want to hear the bottom line? Then I’ll tell you the bottom line. The bottom line is that my sense of aesthetics, of what is beautiful and non-beautiful in the Creation of Art, is insufficient to compose or conduct the manner of three-part counterpoint that would elevate the current cacophonic theme to the level of a fugue as composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. I’m simply not a good enough composer. But I know Someone who is.
Q. Who would that be?
A. Who else? Who is the Greatest Artist? Who is the Artist so great, that He even created Art Itself?
Q. You refer to the Creator?
A. I defer to Him. He is the One who can can make the crooked paths straight, and transform the most ugliest of dissonances into the most beautiful, consonant resonance – it is through Him that the worlds have been made. Everything is formed through Christ, who is least and servant of All.
Q. And you?
A. Me? I’m just bangin’ on my old piano, gettin’ in tune with the straight and narrow.
The Questioner is Silent.
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4 thoughts on “Tuesday Tuneup 38”
He alone can make beauty out of cacophony, and I have borne witness to Him doing so.
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Isaiah 45:2. Thanks, sister.
Agreed – greatest artist of all is the one who creates the artists
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Right on. And if more of us Artists realized that more often, we’d all be a lot better off. :)
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