What None of Us Has

None of us has the right to not be disagreed with.

Just as in music, dissonance gives energy and impetus; when we all agree, we learn nothing new.

From the headphones of your imagination think of music with extremely limited dissonance, when the meter never changes, when we only play in the middle range of the piano, when it’s mostly legato, dynamic changes are gradual, and the pulse is relentlessly steady save for a slight slowing down at the end.

Now change the record on your imagination’s turntable to music with unexpected scale degrees included and pitch alterations are integral to the tune, where the rhythm deviates from the pattern already established, where the meter is asymmetrical, and unexpected tone colours sit side by side, the voicing of a familiar chord catches us unawares, dynamics shift in a heart-beat, and where a coaxing cantabile tone alternates with staccatissimo.

Then compare both these sound-worlds with music where quite different ideas intertwine to create something far more brilliant than is possible alone.

Please do not feel afraid to be a countermelody, a variation, an additive rhythm, a surprise symphony!

In the company of those who value learning you will not get red pencil through your work should you not obey the rules of Harmony. Make your music without fear that you must conform to the expectations of the comfortable.

And then?

Remember that your music may be new to some; share it knowing that not everyone has ears to hear, or the tongue to sing along.


And please, feel free to disagree…

6 thoughts on “What None of Us Has

  1. I loved hearing this. I don’t compose music, but this is what I try to teach my students to do in class. Speak out when they have opinions and disagree with me. Sadly, it’s something that many kids need to be taught, because the school education system often does not support questions and opinions, and often actively encourages children to learn without thinking. I find that it takes a few years of piano class, and theory done differently to change that in my students.

  2. Hi Elissa, you have got very good articles on your site. Here in Singapore, parents are more concerned with how children are doing academically than to focus on teaching them actual music. Even when it comes to piano, many people only cares about graded examinations.

  3. Your thoughts through this blog was amazing. You inspired me a lot. I have my own experience. When comes to music my parents defy it. They thought what I was choose was wrong. Some their reason I did not have any talent on music especially piano. But I tried to conveyed my own opinion although they didn’t disagree. I encourage my self what I choose was right. Indeed, learn piano takes a few years but that was not an obstacle. I took piano lesson intensively and bought my first piano from clavis.nl. Almost 8 years I learned piano and now I became quite expert in piano. Everyone who learning and value it will not be vain. As you said “Please do not feel afraid to be a counter melody, a variation, an additive rhythm, a surprise symphony!” , I absolutely agree.

  4. Thank you for this this eloquent defense of critical thinking. I have a hunch about one of the seeds from which it sprang forth. Regardless, I appreciate the positive angle of approach. Bolstered by your words, may all readers sally forth into the fray, fully prepared to face the inevitable blowback when they challenge unexamined assumptions and hidden agendas.

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