February 2007

A Story with a moral

February 26, 2007 08:19

The other day, I attended a piano recital given by a friend of a friend. It was quite interesting, and I began to tell myself that I needed to listen to more piano sonatas and the like. However, what really got me thinking was a simple comment made by a young boy in the first row. After a fiery movement of Brahms, the awestruck boy muttered, “How did he do that?” Unconscientiously, I thought ‘Practice’, and made no second thought of the matter. That is until two nights ago, when I was sitting in the lobby of a cozy restaurant, thoroughly entertained by the events that were occurring before me. A rather young, probably about six years old, boy having discovered the piano, was joyfully playing a simple minuet as another boy of the same age (his friend?) looked on. Then, they swapped places, and the second boy played (Silent Night) as the first danced. This went on for quite while before a third boy appeared and asked, “How do you guys do that?” which the two boys responded by immediately playing silent nights and minuets in super-slow mode. Immediately, an image appeared of the previous recital, stirring questions into my brain.

Sitting there, (unable and perhaps unwilling to join a group of scientists discussing global warming and Greenland) I began to ponder the answer to the very question I had heard twice within the week. How do they do that? The concept was simple enough—just run your fingers around, press the right keys at the right time, and there you have it! But how are the two hands able to play different lines at the same time? How are the eyes able to it? How does the mind remember it? Eventually, I began to apply this same thought to the violin. You have a concerto—Say one of the shorter ones, maybe only 12 pages long all-together. A couple hundred notes on one page, perhaps thousands of notes in the whole concerto? Maybe tens of thousands? How is it that the entire thing can be committed to memory without difficulty? With that many notes, what are the chances of screwing up just one big time? All of a sudden, the whole concept of the violin seemed unreal to me. How is it that one can put his/her fingers on a board in the right place while moving a thin stick across strings? Sounds awfully uncomfortable… why would anyone want to do that? Heck, why do I like it? The more I thought about it, the more insane it seemed. But the more insane it seemed, the more I had to think about it.

And the moral of this story is?
One should never sit idle in a restaurant. ;)

EDIT:
And the moral of this story is?
One should never end with a punch-line Al Ku doesn't like. ;)

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