Sometimes learning something that you had given up on changes your whole view of the world. James Rhodes’ How to Play Piano teaches rank beginners how to play J.S. Bach’s Prelude in C Major. I never learned to read the bass clef and I’ve really been enjoying this attempt. It makes you wonder what else is still possible.
Rhodes suggests listening to the following musicians play the Prelude. They all interpret it differently:
- Glen Gould (typewriter meta-version)
- Hélène Grimaud (goddess version)
- Grigory Sokolov, (I’m-not-about-to-miss-this-bus-even-if-the-bus-station-goes-up-in-flames version)
- Friedrich Gulda (retro version).
All of those versions got me thinking about contrast in fiction. While down the YouTube rabbit hole about what that middle pedal on the piano is for, I discovered Robert Estrin’s virtual piano lesson about using short (staccato) and long (legato) notes to bring out the melody in Beethoven’s sonatas.
It’s got me wondering how I can bring out the main story arc using contrast in fiction. There are lots of things to try:
- Rhythm: Short and long sentences
- Pacing: Dialogue, action, exposition
- Setting: Light/Dark, Loud/Soft, Hectic/Peaceful
I’d love to know what you think about this. Have you consciously built contrast into your stories? Or do you have favorite examples from your reading? Feel free to share.
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