Thursday, August 4, 2011

The World of Half Understanding

There are so many things in this world I only half understand... if I even get that close.  Some of them will never be resolved: why do people always have to find some reason to start a war or judge others based on exterior appearance?  Why do we continually hurt the planet- the one home- we have, when we are capable of nurturing it?  Why does it cost so much to afford higher education, yet to procure a decent job a degree seems to be necessary?

There are vague half-answers on the peripheries of my mind, but never a full understanding.  It's the philosophical way, I suppose.

Then there are the small mysteries that pertain more to myself personally.  Trivial things that complex me all the same, such as, why do I struggle to read music when my mother is a music teacher?  Why can't I learn languages when my brother adapts so easily to different tongues?  Why is math equivalent to Chinese for me, when my father understands it so effortlessly?

I don't want to make a huge philosophical post, so I am concentrating on my weird half-understandings of music and language.  Maybe somebody out there will commiserate.

I have studied music for most of my life in some form or another.  I took piano and was always involved in some chorus or musical theatre.  I sang with the All-State Choir my senior year of high school, but still, when I see sheet music, the notes elude me.  I know if the pitch goes up or down, how long to hold a note.  I know what the tempo should be, if the notes follow a natural progression or lilt in half steps caused by sharps and flats.  But I have no idea what key signature I'm supposed to be in, and often have difficulty identifying the sharp or flat note unless the marking indicating it as one or the other is directly next to the note itself.  I know it when I hear it, but not necessarily when I see it.  I learn by ear.  I can harmonize almost anything, but I have the worst time reading it.

Same with languages.  I can understand the tone and intent of a writing in Spanish, German, French... I can even understand the meaning of certain Gaelic phrases... but I can't say for sure what the subject matter is or anything else specific.  Just the mood.  I love watching foreign films without subtitles, because I half understand the plot but I can also use my imagination to supplement the story.

But I can play music by ear; play me a tune and I can probably repeat it again.  I know vowel sounds of different languages, and the peculiar prefixes and suffixes that modify the words.  I just don't fully understand it all.  It's a little mystery of life.

And the mysteries that don't hurt anyone or cause animosity, such as my music and language peculiarities, are what make life interesting.  What little mysteries do you have?

Thanks for indulging my sidetrack into the philosophical!

Have a wonderful Thursday!

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