The steady melody of the flute holds hands and dances with the consistent beat of the bassoon as they traverse across the canvas of several continent

Each note speaks for a different culture

A different people

A different tongue

The clarinet responds with its translation of the flutes call and is joined by the gentle laughter of the French horn

Each instrument’s voice rings true with a different accent

And each one’s chords are a self-contained symphony which speak of its own society

Its own civilization

Its own standards

When they come together they produce a synesthesia of language

Not a spoken language

But a language spoken through touch, taste, sight and scent

Music and language are separated by the chasm called silence

Silence is the absence of music while

language is the presence of silence stuffed between dischords and unharmonies which lay bare the divisions of the human tongue by illustrating the gaps in translation

These divisions

These calls for war

these marks of inequality

they mimic the high-pitched squeal of the piccolo as it announces its presence by its deafening cry

its cry is selfish



It distracts the flute and clarinet from their conversation and the French horn from his laughter

the only one who dares to interject is the bassoon whose commanding bellow stands in stark opposition to the piccolo

she decrescendos to a guilty whisper as the flute and clarinet pick up their discourse

they, too, are then engulfed by the bassoon’s loud roar which itself descends into a murmur


The next piece begins with the mournful wailing of the bassoon

He cries out because his village has been plundered

He cries out because his people are being destroyed

He cries out for sympathy

For mercy

For help

The dainty and poised flute responds to his sorrow by grieving with him

She too repents in sackcloth and ashes as the ruins of his village lie before them

A passerby

One too preoccupied by his own worries

Interrupts this scene of mourning with a bright and cheerful song

Stunned, the bassoon and flute maintain their sorrow quietly while listening for the hope the clarinet proclaims

He sings of joy and peace and harmony

He sings of a future in which war no longer ravages humanity

As he spots the bereaved 

he too is brought to a stunned quiet

The bassoon and clarinet face each other




As though he were waiting for this very moment

The French horn disrupts the stillness with a declaration

He too has eaten the manna, seen the signs, and believed

He too longs for a future without war

The flute turns to the crowd who at this point is confused

They don’t know that the village is Detroit

That the year is 1967

That the bassoon’s people are African Americans

A barren gasp fills the room

All stare

All are silent

In the last piece

The flute and bassoon have taken off their mourner’s garments

They have been replaced with shouts of joy

Free at last 

Free at last

Thank God almighty

We are free at last

By now the white fingers of the flute are interlocked with the brown ones of the bassoon

She teaches him how to be melody

And he teaches her how to be background

the French horn teaches the crowd how to be minority

and the clarinet teaches them all how to be equal

his notes are neither high nor low

neither melody nor bass

but symphony

his notes are different on the outside

but each has the same crimson blood running through its veins

his notes sound different

but with one voice

civil rights they proclaim

his notes don’t agree with each other

but they have respect for one another

they don’t always get along

sometimes there is discord

but irrespective of who is wrong

they always end on this chord


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