One afternoon, when I was a little boy, before I started piano lessons, after noodling around on the piano for a while, my mother suggested that I could, in fact, play more than one note at a time. So I found a note with my left index finger and one with my right and pressed them at the same time. My mind was blown.
A few years later, I would swear that I could hear full orchestras playing in my head. I tried to explain to my father that I couldn’t understand why the music sounded better in my head than it did coming out of my mouth... that I could hum or sing a part of the music, but not the whole piece.
It would be years before I would form a clear understanding of the terms polyphony and harmony, but in one form or another, these have become the central preoccupation of my life. I’m obsessed with the brilliant and often strange interaction between multiple notes, voices, and instruments. The careful crafting of these interactions can elicit the whole spectrum of human emotions, take you to places in your past, and even take you to places you’ve never been.
The history of harmony is a rich and beautiful legacy of which I hope to play some small part. As T.S. Eliot said, “For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”