The Invisible String

The Invisible String

A Story by Prodigo

An essay. I was given a 50 on this paper. Tell me what you think I deserved...


To understand the human condition, people have created media into which we can grasp the fleeting emotions of everyday life. Writers use language as musicians use sound and these methods are both aesthetic and soulfully pleasing to act as a catalyst to an improved understanding of the human condition. The relationship between music and writing is irrefutably branded in written works since the beginning of language. The traits they share I will discuss and enlighten you on how powerfully these two media of art are intricately woven.

            A book is designed to mirror the few truths about life. There is a beginning and eventually a climax and sometimes a subtle or a long anticipated and dismal end; always in that sequence and no other order can exist. The laws that govern books are the same laws that govern human life. “Qi” is a concept stressed by Chinese philosophers to explain the rhythm or “flow” of the universe. The flow goes in one direction only and may only slow when it believes it’s absolutely necessary. These moments of deliberate dawdling are what some circles would consider a “miracle.” Music and writing is the artist’s attempt to emulate this process; to give the reader or listener the well crafted illusion that they are a part of another natural order.      Good writers must have a “good ear” to fulfill the need for rhythm in their opening paragraph, prose, dialogue and consequently, a closing paragraph.  This method is realized in full swing from the book, “The Poor Englishman” by M.H. Hofferek, “A broken pocket watch kicked to the curb


wrestled its way into the gutter. Mechanical guts and bits of glass led a blood trail to a dark and damp place where other lost treasures went to die.”  The rhythm is present from the very beginning and persists until the last word. Writing with rhythm is carried out by using words that follow a similar amount of syllables and key letters within surrounding words. For example, “Broken” and “pocket” are two words with the same amount of syllables and the “K” and CK” sounds in the center of these words form the rhythm. Understanding this concept improves the flow, strength and illusion of your writing. “KiCKed” and “Curb” is another example that follows shortly after, and maintaining the illusion with “Wrestled” and “Way” sloping the sentence rhythm to a close; a method similar to what composers use to conclude a motif. A motif would be in one of Beethoven’s more famous symphonies, #5, “duh duh duh DUH.” 

The second sentence is another testament to the ritual performed by the writer with “GuTs” and the phrase, “biTs of Glass” continuing the melody; “leD” and “blooD” followed by “Dark” and “Damp” then the paragraph comes to a close with “losT” and “Treasures”. When composing a piece of music, the composer has an obligation to the listener to put the notes in each phrase in a rational order. Art is hardly rational but it is agreed that following a set of rules in music and writing allows the artist to better relate to the audience. Otherwise, it would be as if you were putting random words together or just banging on the piano.

Writers use particular words that readers would recognize as ominous or dark, just as they could also describe a scene to make it appear joyous or calm. This is called “diction” and composers follow the same code but it goes by a different term, “setting”. Within diction lies the rhythm and mood of the story. While you are reading, the writer is having you jump from


scene to scene which you cross several versions of diction along the way.

In music, the composer has you bounding from phrase to phrase. A phrase in music is so similar to a scene in a book; I’m tempted to call them the same thing. They serve the same purpose and therefore will accomplish the same task. In Mozart’s last symphony, Requiem he gives you the impression that you are sitting at a funeral service, hence the name Requiem. The phrase establishes the setting right away and continues until the phrase changes. Composers will change the setting using different instruments and notes just as a writer would use different words and rhythm to change the diction, altering the music or scene of the book completely. The first phrase of Requiem, he has bass drums booming and crying violins with a strong choir singing sad and mournful words. During the second phrase, a clarinet takes over and the choir sings words of reassurance with violins on the coattails playing an uplifting melody. The change is very subtle, but you begin to feel at peace until the third phrase comes in. The setting is the same as the first phrase and you fall again to pain and tears, just what a funeral should produce.

The story Mozart was telling is fairly simple. In the beginning, the funeral is taking place and the instruments and notes indicate extreme emotional pain, but when the second phrase comes about, he puts you at peace, as if you are dreaming or standing on a mountainside with nary a care. Although in the third phrase you are ferociously returned to the funeral and the emotional destruction persists. Through the use of certain instruments and notes, this effect was accomplished on the audience.

Because writers and musicians have similar tools, these tools are sharpened in nearly

the same way. A writer must read as much as he can just as a musician must listen to as much music as his ears will allow him. Both media are broken into genres and the first step to becoming a successful composer or writer is choosing the genre you enjoy most. As they explore their art form, they’ll discover this and build on it further until they are a master of their craft.  Restaurant

            Artists will unconsciously add elements that make up their worst fears and their greatest desires into their work. John Steinbeck inserts beautiful and very forward women into his greatest novels. In “Tortilla Flat” the main characters find several women to sleep with and coincidentally the women become dull and clingy and in result, the story leaves them behind and they are forgotten. Steinbeck was married three times, which could indicate he was a bit of a lady’s man. Similarly, Mozart chose to compose music that was as powerful and demanding on the ears as his father was. As his pupil, their relationship was one footfall from slavery. His father pushed him violently and by the time Mozart was three years old, he had over 3000 hours of practice time composing and working towards mastering several instruments.

            What simmers and steams in the souls of all great artists is passion. It is the only necessity and therefore all others are subjective to it. As the human condition changes and evolves, our media of expression will be torn down and rebuilt to fit our sensual needs. The few constants though, will be music and writing because they fulfill the simple human need to be removed from this natural order to our white hot center where all the feelings we carry are allowed to resurface all at once. Writing is language and music is sound and without both working together, we are not human. 

© 2010 Prodigo

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register


wow i actually followed this and read the whole thing, lol it kept my attention and was so logical! this is really neat, i wonder how you thought of it? really cool, you should write more essays.

Posted 12 Years Ago

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


1 Review
Added on October 20, 2010
Last Updated on November 2, 2010



Victoria, TX

Bad art is tragically more beautiful than good art because it documents human failure. more..

Jim Jim

A Story by Prodigo