I’m trying to write an English paper but it isn’t happening. To grease my wheels of discussion I’m gonna ramble on a bit about classical music.
I’ve have a soft spot for classical music, but it has always felt so distant from me. When I listen to Beethoven or Mozart or whatever it has never seemed to reflect my existence. To me the orchestra has always suggested a world of holy battles, tyrannical rulers and violent uprisings. The bloody rush of good against evil. It is an art that reflects a world so far beyond my own that it borders on the incomprehensible. Classical music has always made me feel small, not in a “Lake Superior could whoop my ass” good kind of small, but a frivolous “Why the hell does my puny existence even matter?” small.
I revel in any wicked proclamation from the string section, but I am simultaneously attracted and repulsed by the music. It speaks too much. It shoots over my head to lodge in the skulls of Great and Noble Men, among whom I can only hope to be one day. Today I fought no wars, I defended no homeland, I vanquished no dread beasts. Today I ate breakfast at Betty’s Pies and pretended that the pie listing was a stock ticker. Today I sat in my room and avoided analyzing Sherwood Anderson’s Death in the Woods.
Today my troubles are not worthy of the first two chords of Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5.
But then I came to a startling realization. These songs, no matter how splendid, were never handed down from the mountains. There is nothing divine within them. They reflect mankind, and that is all. What’s more, they are simply the beautiful coherent ramblings of a couple mad men that were crazy and motivated enough to chain themselves to pianos and hack out this stuff.
Every note was written by a puny human. Classical music isn’t for the Great and Noble, but for every tiny being that takes the time to listen. It is not to be interpreted as something far beyond ourselves but something within. When I listen now I no longer strain to hear the clash of the heavens, but instead bend an ear to the thunder in my soul. My passions, relationships, toubles and toils span the skies and become heroic. I run my fingers across the dizzying crescendos and mire my feet in the dark depths. My feelings are externalized, filling the room and resonating in the walls. The music makes the human experience real.
What’s more, the music itself give us something great to which we can aspire. There is no need to lead a puny and insignificant life, as we all have the capacity to be heroes. Tune your mind to welcome challenge and hardship. Work at what you love until it hurts. Find the string section in your life.
Leave a legacy.