Notes in a Museum

By Shen

The violin's form holds true to its purpose, revealing familiar signs of use. Although the strings tell lies. These inorganic threads have replaced the honest horse hairs once strained by past composers. The chin rest is smooth and pale, the varnish worn thin by the cheek of a fiddler dreaming sonnets into existence. This one by a left-handed songsmith, that one by a right-handed talent.

A violin, of all instruments, longs most to be played. A piano stands confidently on four legs. It conceals its porcelain keys under its ebony fall in a brazen attempt to hide its purpose. Guitars and cellos seem too arrogant to be played. They recline across furniture or lean haughtily against the wall, indulging in their own presence. Drums take up space obnoxiously and do not ask to be played, but demand it. "Allow me to be boisterous," they decree.

The violin is fine and delicate. She is modest in size, and shy about her faculty. She cannot recline haphazardly across the living room chair, for she may become wounded, lost, or shattered. She may misunderstand inattention and feel spurned, and thus refuse to speak. In a case that barely hides her form she is shuttled about like a secret that must be shared. Her quite curves mourn when not played.

Her story is told in screams, wails, shuddering vibrations and soft laments. She weaves a story between her silent creator and her deft muse, laden with incantations and enchantments, buried in the shared spaces between notes. She does not speak for me, but I for her. The luthier sees her undressed, protects her when she is most vulnerable.

Avert your eyes and move along. What use does she have for your probing eyes? What can she tell you in her silence and exile?

Notes in a Museum

Created: Jan 21, 2010


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