Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Living One Note At A Time

I do not know how to play the piano but I've always fancied the idea of being able to.  Every now and then I would hear a beautiful piece, obsess over it and fantasize about being able to magically play it.  This has been happening to me recently with a composition that seems to meld all the deepest emotions one can feel in one's lifetime.  It's magically powerful and powerfully magical!

Since I don't read notes but have been feeling desperate and adequately challenged to 'figure this song out', I've decided to rely on humming to be able to figure out the piano keys each hummed note corresponds with.  Then I numbered the keys and wrote the sequence on paper so I can 'play' the song.  I guess in some primitive way you could say I'm playing the piano ouido style. What's a desperate non-piano-player to do after all but improvise, right?

my VERY humble attempt

Interestingly, by doing this, I've found that most, if not all, songs have a certain set of notes they always go back to. After a while, it became easier and faster for me to figure out the piano keys because they were repeating or tended to go back to a few key notes.  I guess this is what makes songs melodious.  You introduce a few new notes here and there but you always go back to your key notes, the core melody, and in the end, you end up going back to the beginning. 

Somehow it's the same with life, isn't it?  New things happen to us and we do need to seek them out every now and then.  This makes us unique, makes our lives interesting and this is really how we evolve.  Without these 'new' and 'different notes', we would sound very flat and there would be no depth to our song.  However, it is equally important to not lose sight of your 'core notes', the elements in our lives that are familiar to us, the things we can rely on being there and those we always need to go back to.  Like a familiar song, each of us, I think, have certain thoughts, memories, that will always be with us and haunt us, if only to remind us of what truly matters and what defines us. We'll always have certain people who are 'home' to us; who, mixed in with our newer experiences, create a mellifluous life and memories woven seamlessly, not to perfection, but to perfect meaningfulness.                

In life, we don't get to choose our notes  all the time.  As we journey, some notes will seemingly sound off and not all notes will be our favorites.  But we make our song.  Just keep playing, making the best of what you have or what you'll find, because you'll never know when you'll stumble upon some remarkable notes that will make you a masterpiece, notes that will end up defining your song.


  1. Such a great post. You are a very talented writer and have great insight.

    Jen (Infertile Ballerina)

  2. Thank you for saying that Jen! That's very sweet of you :-))

  3. Hi Joy- Following you back! Can't wait to visit again! laura@imnotatrophywife.com

  4. new gfc follower from thurs. blog hop. please returnthe favour at http://www.simplyshopandsave.ca

  5. Woooo go you! I LOOOOVE when people pick up the piano - it's my original instrument.

    You're _awesome_ for playing by ear - not every musician can do that! The notes you keep returning to are because they're the ones in the key that the song is written in. I'd love to show you more in person if we lived in the same city :)

    Thanks for your comment - pre-diabetes is definitely cause to watch your nutrition and to exercise a lot! My mom is diabetic, as are my grandfather on the other side and I think my dad is hypoglycemic too. Sigh - such bad diets we all have!

  6. I found myself thinking while reading this, that maybe this is why some marriages disintegrate over time...it's like listening to the same song on the radio every minute of every day. Then one day, someone hears a new song and it sounds SO GREAT they just have to dance to it.
    Stretching the metaphor a bit, but this was a really interesting piece of food for thought. Thank you!!

  7. Beautifully worded Joy ! Thanks : D

  8. Great post, Joy. I think, at our cores, we each know which notes sound (or feel) right. Too often, we might listen to someone else's song and merely try to copy it -- wondering why it doesn't flow from our fingers. Or we might be too afraid to reach for the keys that look so far away -- like we might not make it back to our core notes. But, without them, we'd truly miss out on another level of beauty. (I enjoyed the analogy -- as if you couldn't tell.) :)

  9. Lisa and Kenya, thank you for those insights (and for loving the analogy). Lisa, you've raised an interesting point. There's much to think about....again...hahaha! Fun times!

    Thanks too Bev, Stacey and Sophia!

  10. Hi Joy- Following you back! Can't wait to visit again! laura@imnotatrophywife.com

  11. Hi Joy- Following you back! Can't wait to visit again! laura@imnotatrophywife.com


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