A Note on Notes

They are the building blocks of music. They stand on their own, combine to make chords, and string together songs.

Something I know about musical notes is that they are indicated by their value, or the time they last. Learning how music theory defines the value of each note in its simplest form is the foundation to building a song. Piecing notes together makes me think of all the kinds of blocks we get to build our own songs with: experiences, talents, knowledge, habits. I’m still learning to recognize the value of each of mine. I know the way we play these notes, whether subtly or dramatically, for a short time or long time, will make up each of our unique songs.

We might not know the significance of notes on their own because we don’t know how they sound with the whole song, just like we don’t know how some notes in our own songs might add value to our lives or become the exact building blocks to shape our stories.

Maybe the time we put into each block of our lives shows our value for them, or maybe how much we value them shows by how long they last. Maybe there is a discrepancy between the value they have in theory and the value we give them when we actually play them. Or, maybe we haven’t really figured out how music theory works. Any way, I think it’s worth reflecting on what we are building with and how we are defining their values because we are creating sounds that reverberate beyond ourselves.

I know that most countries name their notes the same way in traditional music theory, but they end up creating different styles and an infinite number of songs. I hope we explore and learn to play the notes that express our own interpretations and creations. I hope they connect together to inspire playing out a life that grooves- one that doesn’t just get all the notes right, but actually makes people move.  

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