Thursday, December 15, 2011

the diminished chord and the journey of perfection

Today I was talking to my mom about her quilts.
And how they add to my home - filling two walls in particular with their art.
My mom said - but they are not perfect.
Ahh mom....
it is like the beautiful diminished chord I said.
A few years ago I had a wonderful music theory/history teacher.
When he spoke of the composers he spoke as if he knew them personally - he knew their music so well.  He shared with me his love of musical scores, love of musical patterns and many historical pieces of information I knew little about.
One day he shared with me about the diminished chord.
The diminished chord was one of my technical requirements with the Royal Conservatory of Canada, but I had never really understood its' roots.
If you take a major scale and build a chord on every single note of the scale, there is something called a perfect 5th that occurs on every single note - except one.  The 7th note of the scale.  Instead of a perfect 5th, you have what is called a flat 5th.
This was greatly disturbing in the past - because it didn't create a perfect pattern.  It became known as the devil's chord and was forbidden to be used in different time periods.
This devil's chord then became one of the hallmarks of the 'sound of jazz' - the flat 5th....and perhaps why jazz was called 'the devil's music'...
There is a certain amount of dissonance in this sound - one that creates a desires for resolution.
But I love the sound of this chord, this sound - and I use it in some of my compositions....
Whenever I am tempted to desire life to be 'perfect', I am reminded of  the diminished chord....
that instead of 'the devil's chord', it is really a chord of beauty -
the diminished chords of our lives
bring tension
bring dissonance
remind us that life is not about
being 'perfect'
but about
so much more.
If I am able to embrace
life and all it's imperfections -
maybe I will learn some grace in living
and perhaps maybe
I'll be able to receive the love of others in a deeper way
knowing that they are also
embracing me
and all of my imperfections
the diminished chord
in me.

1 comment:

Cat said...

again your words speak to me
truth that I understand
beauty in our imperfections
what a glorious thing!!!

Love and Light friend