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As a musician, I rely on exactly 12 notes to create my music. With these 12 notes, I can string together beautiful melodies or stack them on top of each other to make wonderful harmonies.
I can hold a note for a long period of time to create a meditative drone, or I can go wild using short bursts of notes to create intense musical energy.
If you’ve ever felt deeply moved by music — if you’ve felt your spirit soar with those ascending notes – then you know why Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote: “We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the realm on high.”
When I compose music, those 12 notes allow me to convey just about every possible human emotion within my skill set. As a film composer, I get the opportunity to combine sounds and vibrations that replicate the human emotive spectrum. Whether there’s a sad scene in a movie or a happy one, those 12 notes give me the ability to create music that matches those emotions: “… although music is a material affair, yet its tremendous effect is spiritual, and its greatest attachment is to the realm of the spirit.” – Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West.
Twelve notes may not seem like much, but the potential combinations and possibilities of what can be created are limitless. Using each note to its utmost capacity challenges me every day. Multiply those 12 notes by the almost infinite number of instruments they can be played on, and you’ll see what I mean.
In this light, no one note has any more importance than any other. They each have a unique role and function, and leaving even one of those notes out would make the music I create sound somehow flat, empty, and lacking.
To me, humanity is like those twelve notes.
Each one of us humans is distinct and lovely in our own individual way. Together, we have the possibility of creating the most wonderful harmonies. Just as in musical notes, no one race or color or nationality is more important than any other. Each one contributes to the harmonic whole of the human race.
I see the horrible hate crimes of racism in America, when one race says we must rid the world of other races, and regards their own race as superior.
For a musician, there is no rationale in this. Maybe that’s why musicians tend to transcend the artificial boundaries of race. To me, it is as if one note was saying we must rid the world of another note. We cannot make beautiful music with only one note. We cannot make wonderful harmonies without all the notes. Every note is precious. Every note is unique. No one note is superior to the other. Can you imagine music with only one note? It would sound boring and monotonous and could never convey the complex emotional mosaic that rests in people’s hearts.
Can you imagine how boring humanity would be with only one race? I don’t think racists really understand what they’re asking when they say they want to rid the world of a certain race. It would be like walking into a music store and seeing wall-to-wall of only green Fender Stratocaster guitars, or walking into a car dealership and only seeing a sea of white Toyota Corollas. Or walking into a grocery store and only finding potatoes. We need diversity to grow and develop and innovate. We need a kind of unity in diversity, like the notes in music. The Baha’i teachings say:
The diversity of the human family should be the cause of love and harmony. As it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord. – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks.
If at times the state of humanity seems despairing and hopeless, remember we’re all just notes in the same universal music.