88 keys for a reason

sounds of discord
where and when
least expected

it is assumed
harmony just happens
when right notes are played

classic thirds and fifths
stacked triads
basic building blocks
producing what the ear is tuned to hear

an occasional fourth, sixth…. seventh
coloring, warming
bringing interest
tension – resolution

nothing to jar the spirit

if anything,
welcome additions,
departures from the rudimentary

then the cat walks on the piano
hands cramp
fists pound keys intended for fingers
delicate and precise

sometimes random – like the cat
other times with forethought – the fists
not necessarily malicious
but mindful nonetheless

the spiky augmented fourth
– the “tritone” –
diabolus en musica

exactly half way
between unison octaves.
something to that location

unexpected and striking.
wrong to the uninitiated ear.
first impulse –
contraction or expansion
bring back the trusted fourth or fifth

I know what to do with that

how to listen and enjoy
for myself.
produce expected harmonies
for others.

love for Mozart serves me well here
classic sensibilities
life imitating art

what then,
when we discover beauty
in the discord?

it’s there – ask Bernstein

West Side Story.
not always happy
always beautiful

Is there room for both familiarity
and unknown frontiers?

or have they always been there
cleverly hidden?

art says yes
88 keys let us do it
at will
or accidentally

how many notes on the keyboard of life?

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