Society & Culture
Solo (B15) [Brian] Essay: The Harmony of Identity
Brian shares a poignant metaphorical essay on dealing with the many pieces of identity.
The Harmony of Identity
In Western music, there are only 12 notes. These 12 notes, in combinations and patterns, expressed over time, speak a language of the soul in words not formed with syllables.
The richness and color of music comes not solely from melody, which is a single progression of notes, but from harmony, where two or more notes come together to create a combined sound at the same time. The space between these notes shapes how the harmony sounds, or the tonality. This tonality is unique to that group of notes and defines the character of that sound.
Simple or complex, it resonates.
But did you know that the best sounding harmonies are based on a series of compromises? If you listen to a well-tuned piano, each individual note is not perfectly in tune to the exactness of its actual pitch. If it was, the instrument would sound strident and harsh and would not make you think of music. To make this instrument sound musical, a skilled piano tuner (as in, a human being) will start with one pitch, generally middle C, and tune that note to the calibration point, which is often a tuning fork that resonates only at that specific frequency. From there, the piano tuner will temper the tuning of the surrounding notes to that starting note. Meaning, they will adjust the tuning of other notes to resonate in context with the other notes to sound pleasant, not perfect.
So what of identity?
We do not choose the starting notes of our identity we are given in this life. Too often, we strive to hide or diminish a note, thinking it does not, or should not, belong. We may overplay a single note at the expense of our own dimensionality. Or, we try to make perfect each individual note and only end up in internal dissonance.
When in truth, all these notes together makes us special.
Whether close or far apart, those seemingly conflicting parts of us give us character. It’s a messy work of compromise and tempering, and a constant need to tune. But in the outworking, we find peace within the process of making the many notes within us, resonate together in imperfect harmony.
By what measure are you calibrating your starting pitch of identity?
How have you tempered the individual notes in your identity to craft your unique sound?
What harmony of identity resonates from you?
It is Free