Pale Blue Dot

Although the music in the background is quite fitting, that’s not what I wanted to mention. I wanted to mention the pure inspiration that this video can give to someone. A sense of scale is an amazing thing, it can do wonders to human character.

Ever since I was very young, I’ve found few things more inspiring than outer space. Perhaps if I had to name one thing that I would want to do more than become a successful composer, it would be to go out into space.


I stumbled across this video while doing some poetry research (and by research I mean going around and listening to/reading great poetry). I’ve also been having quite a few conversations with my poet friend because of my recent interest in choral music and the poetry in them. All this talk of poetry may lead you to believe that I love poetry, which is certainly true. I’ve always found poetry to be inspiring when written or performed well. Writing poetry is also another pastime of mine; I sometimes resort to writing poetry during times of hardship when writing music is not possible.

Anyhow, even if you hate poetry, you should still give this video a listen. The poems performed here are relevant, well-crafted, and most of all inspiring. If you don’t have the time to listen to the whole clip, at least watch the third poem (8:35). I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more brilliant poem in my life.

V for Vendetta

“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” – V

In a gripping tale of romance, treason, and action, V for Vendetta reveals a world that is strikingly reminiscent of our own. V for Vendetta warns society of the dangers in blindly giving up their liberty for protection from a governing body. The only thing as incredible as the plot and theme is the music.

The film weaves into its plot a few famous pieces: Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 (and Yakety Sax, if you so please). On top of that, Dario Marianelli has done some very clever major/minor theme changes I quite enjoyed while watching the film. A bit reminiscent of Beethoven, actually.

For example, during this speech, the subject of the speech is well mirrored by the music that accompanies it.

Taken directly from the soundtrack. Listen for more of the major/minor changes in the beginning.

The Class of Beauty

Today during band, our band director said something that struck me as profound. To put it in context, here was the situation:

We were playing Steven Byant’s Dusk, and we came across the block chords that were supposed to be the climax of the piece (around measure 42, if I remember correctly). Being a high school band in its second full week of rehearsal, we weren’t doing so well. But this piece was, or rather, is all about the consonant beauty and the dissonant tension. It is the perfectly meshed cohesion of the two that make this piece truly fantastic.

Wanting to convey that to the band, our band director proceeded to emphasize the beauty that this piece can be. And I mean emphasize. Of course, the newer members found it comical and there was a round of laughter around the room. Then she said: “In all your other classes, you lean mechanics. This is the one class where we can make beauty. Can we do it without laughing about it?”

Of course, her intention was not to distinguish band from all the other classes. But I feel as if she did it more clearly than anyone possibly could have. Perhaps that’s why I find band to be the relief of my day. Perhaps that’s why I always seem to end up in the band room in my free time (Well, that’s probably because I’m a band geek). And perhaps that’s why music is truly an escape from school and the work of life, because I know that whether I’m playing, writing, or listening to music, I know that I am a part of something truly beautiful.