A significant part of my solitary thoughts—including those during my dreams—have music attached to them. Active somewhere deep in some unnamed corner of my brain, the intricacies of music spark my imagination and memory. I sometimes find myself recalling or reconstructing moments of music that I’ve played, sung or directed. Because of my training and life experiences, most of that music is related to worship and liturgy. These musings take me into a spiritual frame of mind.
Over the years I’ve noticed that I have a favored key signature: F minor. This key hints at ancient modes—Phrygian and Dorian—and Mideastern civilizations. This draws me into worlds of the long past and the far distant.
The harmonic complexities of F minor are wonderfully elaborate —B♭, C7, A♭, E♭ and C minor are close at hand. Chord progressions toy with C major’s glorious anchor. Playing in this key is easier on my hands—the perfect number of black keys! When I sing in F minor, the range fits my vocal capabilities.
Some of J.S. Bach’s most magnificent organ works (J. S. Bach – Prelude and Fugue in F Minor BWV 534 – Bing video) and some of the most triumphal Christian hymns are cast in F minor. (Remember the powerful message of “Thy Strong Word Did Cleave the Darkness” set to the hymn tune Ebenezer?) Thy Strong Word – Bing video . What’s most inspiring about those hymns is the way the last verse can end—with the implied triumph of an F major home chord!
I hope that as I grow older and my physical abilities decrease, I’ll still be able to call forth all of the characteristics of F minor, hearing and loving them inside my soul. And that, at whatever age, I’ll still be drawn into the same kind of musical reveries you can sense in this perhaps-strange rhapsodizing.
A gift of God that will stay close and precious!
* My apologies to those of you for whom these musical musings are arcane or worse. I hope there’s a place in your spirit where music of any kind graces your life, bringing beauty and joy!