Lee's Lexicon February 18, 2022

Hello Broadway!

For all that I've been wandering about the world with the words and languages I've chosen, I believe I have yet to use an English word, and for all its...shall we say, frustrating aspects, English is in many ways a delightful language, with lots of fun words in its own right, especially when you get to really specific topics, like science...or music. 

One of my favorite musical devices is called counterpoint. It's frequently used in instrumentals, classical and modern, but the first time I heard the term and really understood it was in reference to a song from the musical Les Miserables, The Confrontation. It's used in more songs from that musical than just the one, but it's perhaps the most obvious instance. And musicals remain, generally, the most obvious examples of counterpoint. 

Basically, it's when you have two...musical thoughts, you could say, that are both in opposition and in harmony with one another. In opposition in rhythm or melody or lyrical content, or all of the above. In harmony because they're in the same key, still part of the same song. 

With lyrics, this is usually two voices singing different lines at the same time, sometimes with the same melody, sometimes with different ones. It usually means that to really understand a song, to really get what's going on with the lyrics and the melodies and the underlying harmonies, you have to listen to it multiple times. 

And really, couldn't you say that about people too? We're all...walking contradictions. Thinking paradoxes. Conundrums with souls. 

It takes a while for us to get one another. It takes us a while to get ourselves. With some people, with some things about how we think or act or feel, we never understand. Never see quite how the different musical thoughts fit together. 

Our brains act in counterpoint with themselves. We have conflicting thoughts, characteristics and ideals and beliefs and loves and joys that seem at odds with each other, but that work in harmony to make up who we are. 

So then, to be at peace with ourselves...it's not about trying to force our thoughts into a single melody, so to speak. Nor about forcing ourselves into the melody that those around us think we should have. 

It's...finding the harmonies that allow all the different melodies of our souls to sing. 

 

Finding all the different notes that make up the song that is me. Or you. Or us. And letting them all ring out. 

 


God didn't make us to all follow the same paths, the same rhythms, the same songs. God created us in counterpoint to one another and to ourselves, and left it up to us how to harmonize. 

 

Lee M. Rollins

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