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Music and the Sublime

June 4, 2013

After spending two hours in the garden doing my psych readings — while tanning my legs of course — I decided to give myself a break by writing on my blog. After all, I have been working so hard the past week with the whole studying for my midterm and writing my papers thing.

With that decision made, I bounded the steps up to my room to collect my laptop. I also put some more water in the kettle so that I would have a nice cup of green tea to keep the creative juices flowing. I came back downstairs with laptop in hand only to find that the water still wasn’t ready. But that was fine with me, since it meant a couple of minutes to play the piano.

You see, the only time of the day that I actually have time to play the piano is when I’m waiting for the water to boil. Sad, but that’s really all the time I’ve got. But really, with the amount of tea I drink every day, I usually can get 25 minutes of solid practice time.

Obviously, this person gets me.

Obviously, this person gets me.

I quickly set my laptop down and pulled out my sheet music. Lately, I’ve been practising Chopin’s famous Waltz no. 2, op. 69. I think it’s rather lovely; it’s also very relaxing to listen to it. After a couple of minutes, I realized that someone had cleaned off the top of the piano and that it was now easy to lift the piano top without having to deal with picture frames and sheet music. Even better, I thought. I love playing with the piano top open; it fills the house (and garden, since I had forgotten to close the back door) with such rich music.

What was meant to be only five minutes of playing turned out to be an hour, which happens a lot when I’m in the mood. I think it was the opened piano top; I was just too eager to play today. After going through a couple of pieces, I got bored playing the same stuff over and over again. When this happens, I usually just start composing my own stuff, playing whatever notes my hands can reach.

I stood up and looked inside my upright piano. The brass knobs holding the strings in place were magnificent. I started tapping on a key incessantly; I wanted to see how the hammer hit the strings and how the sound bounced around in my head and house. This wasn’t the first time I’ve done this, but every time I look into the piano, it’s almost as if something new clicks off in my head. It’s weird. I can’t describe it.

After tapping on the B note for the hundredth time, I realized that I must have been annoying my neighbours, since my back door was open and all. So I started playing a couple of more notes. I stuck my head as far as it could go into the piano, which, not surprisingly, wasn’t very far (I have a big forehead). My chin had gotten in, but my forehead prevented anything from going further.

This time, I started playing a random melody. I got a piece going, one that came from a land I call Everland, and listened intently. I have never felt so close to any music in my life. It was almost as if the music I was hearing wasn’t real — almost as if it didn’t exist in the real world but only in my mind. I couldn’t even tell where my imagination started and where real world ended. But it was better than that. When I hear a melody in my head, it disappears very quickly. It’s fleeting, and I just can’t seem to put my finger on it. But what I was playing then was real; it existed, and yet, it was so close to me. It was surreal.

Anyway, I did the whole sticking-my-head-in-the-piano-while-playing thing for a while — for so long that I had a weird indent on my forehead afterwards. It was awesome. But I had a strange thought while I was doing that. First, I thought how cool the music sounded. Then I thought, wow, I should make my friends do this when they come over. But then I thought: but what if they only think it’s too loud?

Things I find “cool”, not many people do.

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