Sonata Pathetique

A brief creative nonfiction on perfectionism that I wrote last year for an assignment. This was later published in our first ever edition of the high school literary magazine.

The room was dark. The curtains were still.I sat on the piano bench. The only audience I had was the overgrown grape vines twirling outside the window and the little black spider hanging in the sunlight. I opened the piano and hit a C sharp. The note dangled in the air, pirouetted off the walls. A brief recollection skimmed across my mind in full forté: the wavy rich red, the glaring spotlights, and the gazes of families and friends beneath as their applause resounded in the music hall. Conscious of them, I tripped over the trills and stumbled across the arpeggios. My chords unwound into broken steps peu à  peu. I let my fingers dwindle with the diminuendo, wondering why I was hesitating over each and every note. I know now that it all happened from my perfectionist desire to play to impress and not to please. You may ask, is there a difference? There is, and this I only realized in that tiny room with that tiny audience. In that room, I played the triads with ease, the tempo sliding along effortlessly. The flow of the crescendo, the plié of each tremolo – they fluttered in the air. I played a duet with the sunlight, striving to show the grape vines and the little black spider that the most beautiful art isn’t perfect, but finds a way to harmonize its flaws with the melody of its virtues.

2 thoughts on “Sonata Pathetique

  1. As a musician myself, I can really identify with this piece. I am constantly asking myself whether I am playing for the sake of the music or for the sake of showing my skill. It is a fine line, as you say. And that little change in mindset, the ‘why’ of it, can make a huge difference in how the message you want to communicate comes through.
    Good luck with your blogging! It looks great! 🙂


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