More Musing Music

...suddenly unable to hold off the invasion of a single violin.

    Tis a strange kind of igno’rance this in you!
That you your victories should not spy,
Victories gotten by your eye.
That your bright beams, as those of comets do,
Should kill, and know not how, nor who.

from ‘The Innocent Ill’
 a poem by Abraham Crowley (1618-1667),
put to music by Pietro Reggio (1632-1685).

     His fingers found their tension and touch, rolling an introduction into a breathless pulse, smeared arpeggios giving pause as a singer came into the light and performance, carrying a lute and lovely tune. The lyrics were in English though his intonation was not, his voice giving him beauty he never had and youthfulness that denied his graying face. His eyes were downcast, his mouth wet and a little whiskered, his wandering back and forth courting romantic notions he seemed too reserved to pursue.
     Music came down from the gallery too, in the long shimmering phrases of viols, treble and bass, sublime and subdued, individual but uncompetitive in contrast and counterpoint, the pulse of their playing like inhaling and exhaling. Certainly Donatella breathed easier, unfolding her hands and closing her eyes, almost unconscious of where she was though she did realize her mother softly humming a harmony all her own.
     The viols were slowly persuasive, the audience surrendering to their calm and melancholy, even Albrici joining the passive resistance to more sound than expression. It seemed their victory was imminent, that they had conquered the field and could continue unguarded, but without more power were suddenly unable to hold off the invasion of a single violin.
     It irrevocably broke the consort, twisting and turning and working itself into a manic mastery, its bow slashing so every listening heart bled. Sudden remorse was just part of the act but affecting all the same, nothing but pretension wrong with its performance, not a sound that wasn’t beautiful despite its arrogance, such difficulty created and brilliantly overcome.

 Copyright © 2011 by DM Denton
All Rights Reserved

Writing note: The excerpt above is from my work-in-progress novel, ‘She Shall Have Music”, sequel to the completed (not yet published) ‘A House Near Luccoli’©.

Please check out my previous Musing Music post.


©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.


20 thoughts on “More Musing Music

    • Thank you so much, Ina. I’m glad that my writing and artwork transported you, even just a little, into the music I love. I so appreciate your visit to my blog and you will see me on yours very soon and often.


  1. As a string musician, I love, love, LOVE this! How eloquently you capture the melodic form of humanity – the lyrical movement of sound and voice. A masterpiece.

    Thank you for your lovely comments on my poems – your compliments are better than my writing =)


    • Thank you so much! What higher complement could I receive, than this, from one who lives the experience of making music from the inside out!?

      I would love to know–what string instrument(s) do you play…and what type of repertoire?

      Your writing is some of the best I’ve come across…and I feel my mere comments cannot express that enough.


  2. Another wonderful illustration. I so love Christine’s ‘whispery’ description!

    You write about music beautifully. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like your descriptions. It’s almost like listening to music itself. Your passion for both music and words shines out. Have you ever written reviews of real-life performances or recorded performances? I feel you would be brilliant at it — and would inspire more people to listen to and appreciate music.


    • (I’m reposting this because I originally made it as an additional comment instead of a reply on 10-26…)

      Thank you!

      Yes, I too loved Christine’s “whispery’ adjective… I like the idea that anything I create is like a whisper. The world often seems too loud and graceless…

      You’re so kind to say it’s ‘like listening to music itself’. Makes me feel like I’m something of a musician after all!

      I must have a past life connection to early music and musicians for it is some of the most enjoyable and fluent writing I do, along with nature’s inspirations.

      I feel I’m not musically academic enough to actually write about music outside of fiction or poetry…but I like the idea of bringing others to love it as I do.

      As always, thank you for your encouragment…it means so much.


    • ‘The Diary of an Edwardian Country Lady’ was certainly an inspiration to me! It prompted me to do a couple of ‘nature’ diaries myself. It came out in the 80’s when I was in England…the BBC did a series based on Edith Holden’s (the author’s) life. It was in 12 half-hour segments corresponding to the months of the year as her diary did (I believe it is on DVD). (Did you know that her diary was found in an attic by one of her niece’s many years after her death?)

      She did do some illustrations for children’s books which were published. She was an amazing artist and naturalist and a very interestingly independent lady.

      I am flattered that my work reminded you of hers!


  3. I really envy anyone who can write a novel. I did a creative writing course not long ago,; that’s as far as I got!

    You have such talent and your “whispery” illustrations are an absolute inspiration! I could just look and look at them!

    Have you illustrated any children’s books?



    • Thank you for taking the time to read, Christine. I took some writing classes in college years and years and years…ago…but writing is something you should just do whenever and however you feel and have the inclination.

      I have just finished a great book called ‘If You Want to Write, A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit’ by Brenda Ueland and I thoroughly recommend it…I quote Amazon: ‘Beginning writers will certainly be encouraged by Ueland’s words, but even the most experienced have much to glean from Ueland’s simple wisdom.’

      I have a couple of flower and nature books, well really journals I did, which I am in the process of putting together perhaps to self-publish…

      It feels good to share and hear that they are enjoyed.

      I love that you called them ‘whispery illustrations.’ You are certainly a writer! That was a creatively beautiful comment. Thanks again.


  4. Lovely lyrical writing, Diane! The setting and tone are enchanting. I especially love this line: “twisting and turning and working itself into a manic mastery, its bow slashing so every listening heart bled.” Such heartfelt imagery – and so alive! Are you a musician, too?


    • Thank you so much, Angela! I’m a very negligent musician…have played the piano, guitar and celtic harp…and do love to sing (mostly in my car these days). So I have taken to writing about music…especially Baroque music which I love for its clarity, flow and intelligence…and also the ‘pure’ even raw sound of instruments like the harpsichord, lute and viola da gamba. Also the singing was more about expression than volume. By the late 17th century the violin was stealing the limelight from ‘older’ string instruments that couldn’t show off as extravagantly…


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