Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Photo A Day, Day 6: Music

Music is an easy theme for me, since both my family of birth and my family by marriage are full of musicians and music lovers. My mother played piano and clarinet and sang. My father taught himself to play piano and guitar and had a beautiful bass voice. My father-in-law was a professional trombone player who played with the likes of Tommy Dorsey and Louis Armstrong, and who served as the Dean of the Boston Conservatory of Music. My mother-in-law danced and sang in the first national tour of Guys and Dolls and was a Radio City Rockette. And one of the first things that attracted me to my husband was the fact that he sings barbershop and musical theater and plays several instruments, including the piano and the French horn.

I found out that he plays the French horn on our very first date. It was one of many things we discovered about each other that day that made me sure, even on that very first date, that he was The One. Because it just so happens that I play the French horn, too. Had we discovered we were both pianists, or clarinetists, or trumpeters, it wouldn’t have been so surprising. But you don’t run into a fellow horn player on every corner. So our commonality of interests served to me as a sign.

And because of that sign, I have a special love for French horns that is even deeper than the one I already had. A French horn is a particularly lovely instrument in its own right, with its twisting tubing and flaring bell; more compact than a trumpet, more symmetric than a trombone, more sleek than a tuba. The repeated circles and arcs in its valves and tubing and mouthpiece and bell give it a geometric elegance unique to the brass family. But beyond its visual beauty, it produces some of the loveliest sounds of any instrument. (Well, it CAN produce lovely sounds; anyone who has heard a beginning horn player is aware that it can also produce…let’s just say, less than lovely sounds, as well.) And when you, yourself, are able to use that instrument to produce lovely sounds, the image of a French horn becomes inextricably linked with feelings of pride and of joy. The instrument itself is a source of beauty in many different ways.

And for those reasons, one of my favorite items in my living room is my husband’s French horn, which perches artistically atop our glossy black grand piano. Not only is it beautiful in its own right as a physical object and as a creator of aural beauty, but what it represents of the connection between me and my husband is more beautiful still.

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