“Compose a masterpiece.”
You look to your left and then to your right, questioning who such a command could actually be directed to.
“No, you. Yes, you! Compose a masterpiece!”
Your thoughts melt as an internal laugh implodes your creative speculation.
You scowl at the complex articulation of wordage.
You question your vocabulary skills from school.
You rebel and question me.
(cue The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly soundtrack music, followed by a gunshot)
Consider this: most musicians begin the best of their songs based off of a simple idea, a thought. They probably weren’t necessarily focusing on anything, but maybe they were simply going about their day when they heard something in their head. It may have been born out of musing, or maybe thinking of daily events. Maybe they were in literature class, unintentionally zoning out. Or, what if they were reading a post when they heard…
Reverberating footsteps. You hear footsteps, one pair’s worth, echoing off of distant walls. From hearing such a sound, it would seem as though that they are coming from a very large auditorium: a professional one. As your mind tries to grasp the depth of such sound, you momentarily realize that the footsteps have come to a halt, followed by a long pause,
You hear a quiet breath proceeded by a woman’s beautiful voice humming a simple, lofty note. She continues sustaining it while maintaining a gentle carefulness, like a mother swaying a newborn in her delicate arms. As she continues, you think you’ve heard her voice before, so you try to take the tone and connect it with previous memories, but you can’t quite place it. She runs out of breath of course, and she takes another quiet breath to resume her lovely tone.
A concert grand piano plays a low, minor chord beneath her renewed note, contrasting the highs and the lows perfectly. The humming continues as you hear the piano begin to fade away; the keys can only sustain their volume for so long. It’s sad. One hum and one minor piano chord, though simple, can conjure up such melancholy emotions. The beauty of such simplicity crawls beneath your skin as you hear her run out of breath once again.
The concert grand piano, once more, plays the same low, minor chord beneath her hum, except this time, the chord repeats itself every two beats, creating a certain momentum that had not been there before. This drive incites your heart to beat just slightly faster. After the chord repeats beneath the hum for an even amount of times, it suddenly changes to a lower major chord for four repetitions, and then it resolves onto an even lower major chord. The sound stays as the woman’s hum comes to a close.
As the sound of the hum exits the foundation of the piano, your breath escapes you as if you want it to come back.
The fading away of the piano lifts, leaving an evanescent reverberation.
The pause agitates you. You’ve never heard such a thing. You want more.
That’s when you hear two taps, as if a conductor had been waiting at his stand the whole time, waiting for the introduction to come to a close.
You hear some shifting in chairs, as if a full orchestra had just lifted their violins, violas, and cellos.
After hearing a quiet breath, the same woman sings an ascending note pattern up to her signature sustained note. However, the beat after she hits her note, a full string section eases into the low, minor chord that the piano had once played. And so, in the same manner, as the piano had changed chords, you hear the strings smoothly transition to that lower major chord, slowly followed by the even lower major chord. You know that the woman had discreetly taken a breath within such transitions because when the strings ease out in their due time, her voice remains consistent, humming her lofty note.
After humming for a few seconds, the violin section eases back into their three, low chords with ease: the first chord being minor: the longest, the second being major: transitional, and then the third, bringing the idea to a resolution. As your held captive by the beautiful simplicity, you suddenly hear a second voice preceding the next musical repetition.
A man’s lower hum mirrors the woman’s hum as both ascend to that signature note, followed by the concert grand piano with that lower chord, quickly reflected by the string section the beat after. The man’s hum, however, every beat or so, descends, returning to the top note to descend once again. The notes fit perfectly with the woman’s upper hum, the piano, and the string section.
A chill runs up your spine as the man’s hum harmonizes with the string section, all the while being complimented by the concert grand piano, repeating its solid chords.
As these musical ideas continue to your ears content, you suddenly hear all sound slow to a pause by the end of the last repetition.
Your breath, once again, escapes you.
Suddenly a faint snare roll is softly heard. The softness does not remain, however, for it grows louder, and louder, and louder, until a bass drum is violently hit along with a massive cymbal crash, beginning all music ideas once more, driven by an epic snare rhythm, carrying all sound along.
Such music makes you want to pick up a sword and fight for something worth dying for. It evokes emotion that threatens a tear to fall, meanwhile strengthening your knees to stand on Solid Ground. The three chords, supported by the humming, concert grand piano, string section, and snare rhythm enwrap your consciousness as they take hold of who you are, pointing you to who you can be, who you’ve been made to be, and Who has bought you to make you who you are to be.
As these ideas repeat, a climax suddenly comes into view as a valiant brass section booms, ascending to the most epic melody that you’ve ever heard. It trumps all other aspects of the song, conjuring up a picture in your mind:
You see clouds parting, revealing the King of kings, the Lord of lords riding upon His white steed. You instantly know His name: Faithful and True, crowned by many crowns. His long vesture is dipped in the blood of the martyrs, and He has come for His own. He has come for the faithful, the ones who have been watching, waiting. Your adrenaline begins to pump as your mind’s eye is preparing to faint at such a thought. Nonetheless, His eyes quickly to turn you, and you’re not sure whether to panic or shout for joy, but none the less, He holds out His hand to you and says,
The music climaxes to an unresolved chord, intensifying, intensifying, and intensifying, until suddenly coming to a complete, silent stop.
A gigantic resolution chord is hit by all th-
Your mind’s eye shuts down. You can’t take it anymore. The visualization is gone. The music is gone. All is dark.
But then the silence is broken, and you hear a faint clap, followed by a second, followed by multiple, when suddenly you realize that it is as if thousands upon thousands are clapping, filling a reverberating auditorium. On top of such sound, you suddenly hear shifting in chairs, revealing that people have begun to stand up, showing an entire standing ovation.
Your mouth seems to be paralyzed. Your jaw wishes to drop, but confusion holds you in dismay. After a fair amount of time, the clapping comes to a stop. You hear one or two reverberated footsteps, followed by a clicking sound, as if a director has laid down his baton. Then you hear a reverberating voice, topped off by a James Bond type accent,
“A masterpiece, truly a masterpiece!
It has been an honor to play what was yours of thought,
And today will forever be remembered as
The day you composed a masterpiece.”