Time To Sing

Posted on January 23, 2011


 I joined the choir not because I have a talent in music but because I love to learn. The melody was a no-brainer. No thought. No challenge. Alto, on the other hand, required me to pay attention and to hear differently. Once I master hearing and singing the alto part without practicing it’ll probably hold no interest for me. Maybe I’ll concentrate on breathing techniques.

Today, after church is over, we’ll practice a very simple piece of music. At least it’s simple for everyone else. At one point in the music there are these two notes. The altos sing one, the sopranos sing the other. But they are side-by-side on the music scale and I can’t hear the difference when they are sung together. It’s driving me crazy! I can practice for a while and still sing the other note when it’s time to sing as a group.

Part of me doesn’t care about the mistake because I really can’t tell the difference. But because it’s bothering me I studied it a bit this morning and applied some of what I learned to life.

My dictionary says this about these two notes:

“An unstable tone combination is a dissonance; its tension demands an onward motion to a stable chord. Thus dissonant chords are ‘active’; traditionally they have been considered harsh and have expressed pain, grief, and conflict.”
These thoughts came to mind:
1. Learn what “note” you’ve been given (who you are) and sing it (live) well. You have a purpose in the “song” of life. The song that is yours and no one else’s.
2. It may feel “discordant”, and “harsh” in relation to others. It will probably be uncomfortable. But it has to be sung to move towards resolution.
3. It’s easy to be led by another’s “stronger”, “easier” note and to think that your participation doesn’t really make a difference or amount to much.
This is such an interesting concept to me as I interact daily with people who are on different paths from me. But then I realized that the two notes are a part of a whole piece. They are leading to the same end. Without either one the music wouldn’t be as exciting or moving. I like that. Instead of focusing on differences we can and should focus on how we all meld together to make a really great piece.
I’ll keep practicing that one note. I’ll do my best to keep it distinct and different from the others surrounding it at the same time, fighting to overpower mine. But I’ll smile and see the value in the struggle to the beautiful end.
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