Sunday, October 10, 2010

the four right chords

this weekend i went to abravanel hall in salt lake to hear rachmaninoff's rhapsody on a theme of paganini. i love the symphony because it carries me to a place where i can have perfect stillness with my thoughts, and wrestle through them, to the point that when i leave, i feel relieved--exhausted, but relieved. the rhapsody was performed by conrad tao (he's only 16!). to give you a taste of the magic of the moment for we the audience, he got a quadruple encore. both for his ability (of course), and also for the beauty of rachmaninoff's rhapsody. this rhapsody for me is part of the fabric of my SOUL. dramatic, i know. what i mean is it's one of those songs that i've known for as far back as i have memories. i know every note, every pause, every breath. better than i know my own voice, i know this song. here it is the second half for you to enjoy:

there's one part in particular, it's at 1:35-2:22. this is one of the most beautiful chord progressions in my book, and here's why: the chords build on each other. they are increasingly beautiful, but only because they are understood in relation to the one before, and the one about to come next. they are beautiful because of where the notes have been, and where they are about to go. the build up is the sound of the unlocking, then the lift-away at 1:48, when they resolve. the four right chords can make me cry, as third eye blind sings. any one of those chords, if played in isolation, would mean little to our minds. but when strung together, as comments and variations on the ones before, they combine to something of great emotional texture. they make meaning. meaning is not in each individual chord, but in the movement across and through them together. and it is in this way that it makes me wonder, a still nebulously forming idea, if perhaps we are the same--meaningless until understood in context to those around us, our experiences without texture until we understand them in relation to the experiences we had before, and the ones to come, which we yet cannot see. but the meaning, the richness, the melody is in them all strung together--the experiences, the people, the lifes. the four right chords. if the stringing together is the motion of unlocking, as bon iver sings, then that end moment of liftaway is when&where we create a place where love is safe. and maybe that's something.

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