Unanswered Question

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The Unanswered Question is a composition by Charles Ives. Charles Ives was a very famous American Composer that was very active in the mid-twentieth century. I have mentioned this piece of music in the past before but mainly just in reference but I finally would like to spend a little time on this piece. First I want to talk about the piece itself and what it means and then go into my expanded thoughts on this piece of music.

You can find a youtube playing of Unanswered Question below which I would suggest listening to after you read the first three paragraphs but before you read everything after the third paragraph. This composition begins with the string section playing very consonant harmonies that are very pleasing to the ear but give you a very strong sense of openness and space. This sound is to represent tranquility and a sense of calmness. After some time has passed you will hear a seven-note trumpet call. The trumpet call is repeated a number of times throughout the piece and it represents the question of where does life originate. After the trumpet asks the question the first time you hear the woodwinds enter. The first time you hear the woodwinds enter they are not too frantic or chaotic and actually have some nice to the ear harmonies as they are trying to answer the question. Their attempt at answering the question fails the first time so the trumpet repeats the question again, and yet again, the woodwinds try to answer it. This time they are a little more frantic and dissonant sounding but yet again, they fail at answering the question. This goes on a couple more time and each time the woodwinds try to answer the question they become even more chaotic and dissonant. Finally, after this has gone on for a bit they give up after a final frantic and frustrating attempt and all that is left are the strings on the very soothing and calming harmonies.

This piece has always been one of my favorite compositions ever written. There are so many interpretations beyond the intended meaning of the piece that Charles Ives wanted to convey. This is also a piece that requires the listener to understand it before listening because otherwise, it will just sound like a bunch of notes thrown together, which, any of Charles Ives music can sound like if you don’t understand it..lol. This is a guy that wrote a piece for an orchestra that had the sound of two marching bands playing different songs and as they marched they moved closer together and finally passed right through each other then went in separate directions..lol.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trkFgIMC-Ks

So why am I writing about this composition? I see this piece having much relevance to the Jedi, though it can have relevance to any path that you follow. For today though, I am going to discuss the relevance of this piece to Jediism.

When listening to this, if you listen closely the strings do not stop playing throughout the entire piece. The strings continue on with their very calming and soothing harmonies from the beginning until the end. The strings to me represent the Force. The Force is always there, no matter how chaotic or peaceful events seem in life. Even in the most chaotic events that take place in your life that may seem to be overwhelming you, if you truly listen, you can still hear that string section of the Force.

The trumpet represents events that take place in our life, no matter how small or big. Remember, even the smallest event in our life can have the greatest impact or meaning on our life just as the largest events in our life can have the smallest effect or bearing on our lives. The trumpet just signifies an event that takes place in our life. These events in our life causes change as our life is constantly evolving and changing for a life that refuses to change, refuses to live. The string section is our answer to these events. When we are young, we tend to react to these changes instead of going forward with the change and accepting it. When we react it tends to be emotionally charged as an adolescent mind for the most part will act emotionally to a situation, though this can be very true for even the adult mind.  As we go along we become even more frantic and abrasive in our reactions to these changes in our lives that are a result of the events that take place. However, one day, which could be a result of meditation, maturing, or a number of different reasons we finally learn to quiet our mind and just go along with the events that take place and bring change. When we finally make that change in mindset and outlook on our own lives we can finally hear the Force again. In those times of great emotion or turmoil we can easily forget that the Force is really there but, if we can quiet our mind, even for a moment in those times of great turmoil, we can always hear the Force.

Many individuals come to this site in the middle of great turmoil or high running emotions. Many people are seeking the answer to all their problems so they no longer have to experience this change which many times is seen as pain. What tends to be forgotten or not realized is that all we need to do is to slow down and just be still or quiet for a few minutes and we can remember that the Force is there and we can choose to live in that feeling of stillness and quiet to reach a peaceful state of mind or, we can choose to continue along the path that causes so much noise that we can no longer hear the Force. Many times this is a result of being hurt by others so we choose to close ourselves off and only do what is right for ourselves and not care or worry about others, due to the pain that others have caused. Instead of taking the chance of going through the hurt another can cause we shut ourselves off so that pain can no longer take place. What you are doing though is removing the beautiful music from your life. A life on it’s own is a melody. A melody is just one line of music going at a time. Harmony is many different lines of music moving together and weaving in and out of each other using dissonance or consonance. Sometimes the harmony is dissonant and sometimes it is consonant, but, those two qualities keep the music moving forward. If you shut out the harmony, all you have is a melody. If you shut out those around you, those you love, and your friends, you will miss that harmony. Just as explained above, sometimes that harmony will be dissonant and sometimes it will be consonant. I would rather go through life experiencing that harmony over just having one line of melody for harmony when weaving in and out of all the possibilities can be some of the most gorgeous music on earth.

Some people go through life only hearing the dissonance in life, the clashing, turmoil, suffering, and pain. You need to quiet your mind so you can hear the beautiful music that is the Force and realize there is pain, turmoil, and suffering in your life but rather than focusing on it you need to acknowledge that it is in your life and just as life is always changing and moving forward, you will eventually experience a moment of love or happiness. See the larger composition for what it really is, your life. Just like a piece of music has harmony and melodies that are pleasing to the ear it also contains dissonance which propels the music forward but in the end, it always returns to that calm and peace that is the strings, the Force.