Friday, 12 December 2014

The violin

I think I have found the answer to why I have yearned for the violin all these years.  Every since I can recall, I wanted to learn to play the violin.  From when I first came to music through the piano, then to clarinet (because we already owned one) to the guitar (because it was my father's) to the flute (because a friend had one to loan me), music emerged from me in new and different ways.

The piano was an extension of my own extremities.  I pounded the keys like a percussion instrument, and then caressed a gentle song from its strings.  I learned expression, to feel and move over its length.

The clarinet brought me to the group, joined my solo voice with others to hear what it was to evoke  single chord that echoed above us.  Harmony like that can only be achieved with different voices drawn together to a magnetic centre, clinging to each other in perfect unison.

The guitar touched my imagination as I sat on the deck in sunset glow and murmured a poem while pulling out some humble chords.  It was tactile in a new way and altered the very beat of my heart to pulse in time with the rhythm.

The flute was beauty.  I found melody and song, sweet tones and wistful tunes.  It was a feature, something to stand out and above, to call out to the heart and gladden.

But when I pulled the bow down the strings of my violin, I pulled something out of my soul.  The timbre of the vibration was an echo of my own voice.  A happy tune was happy only because I fed it with my own happiness.  A mournful song was stoked with my own heartache.  34 years of living, 34 years of life, and each note on the violin reached deep within me to pull out an emotion I have grown in my own heart.

I can hardly tear myself from this near-to-living thing, because with it in my hands I am living a hundred lives.  I am almost timid to touch it, knowing the depth of an artist's emotions and the danger of subjecting myself to so much in so short a time.  To play one song, then the next, to ride a joyous high and then descend to darkness, to rise and fall within minutes of each other, I am fearful of the drug of music.  And yet I cannot pull away from this supernatural language any more than I could cease to communicate in my native tongue.

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