The structure of beauty

We watched this video yesterday with Nhim. It was not her first time. In fact the first time she heard this piece was at a live concert. And she withstood the whole piece. I was struck by electricity waves the violins sent through the air. Even the main musician commented outside of the hall to his colleague “It was magic”.

Debussy’s music was not a hard one though. It was especially pleasing to the women’s ear, as it depict personal, private emotion (at least as I see it), or ‘petty, bla bla bla emotion’ as my husband sees it.

But with this animation, it was so much clearer and easier to see the music. We saw all the layers of music played together which could have gone unnoticed had we used only our ears. We saw how each instrument complimented one another. We saw the length of the notes, the pitch of each notes.

I realized just then that to the human perception, the most pleasant pattern of notes is the wave-like pattern. Up and down, up and down. Joy and sorrow. Variation. We are attracted to fluctuation. We don’t like things stay the same. We are drawn to changes.

My husband added: we also like repetition. That the up and down have to repeat themselves. That way they make a wave. That way we see old patterns in new events. That way changes don’t become chaos, and we keep our stability while constantly coping with fresh challenges.

Isn’t it the same pattern of finding beauty in life.

Nhim heard, and she saw a faune, she saw how it runs and jumps, and she saw how it blow life into dead people, and they wake up. She saw happiness in the music. Probably it was not how Debussy meant to write his piece, but it was amazing how music visualization can engage and stir up imagination of a 4 years old.


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