Another Mandolin...

A few weeks ago I was on vacation in Marquette, Michigan and drove in the night through downtown and past a music store. In the window was, hanging among other instruments, a mandolin.

It has been over a year since I started playing the mandolin. Originally I thought it would be a way to challenge myself by having an instrument strung GDAE and directly reverse of a bass. Over the months, though, the mandolin came to have a life of its own. I love the high lonely sound, the two finger chords, but most of all how it has given me a different voice to express my heart.

The upstairs of my house has a room of instruments, a key board, four basses, three mandolins, a dulcimer, and a recorder stashed somewhere along with the various electric gadgets needed to make some of them work. I’ve cleared a few away over the years but there always seems to be room for one more, like the Portugese style mandolin from Marquette with it beautiful wood and soulful sound. One day I believe we may add a hammered dulcimer (this one for my wife) and I think that some day a Native American flute will follow me home and I’ll have to keep it.

I’ve never been content with one instrument. Each instrument has its own qualities, each its own sound, and each elicits something in and from me. They, or rather the music they produce is a solace for me, a world apart where that which is physical and spiritual and intellectual and spiritual are one for a moment. I would like to think that the sounds are still out there somehow, too quiet for hearing but floating through the ether in some mystical way. I’d like to believe that everything I’ve played, good or bad, is still traveling through space.

Who knows? Maybe heaven will be the place where I catch up to my music or where whatever tears have been shed, anger expressed, joy revealed, or fears made known in a hundred songs as prayers will find their perfect purpose, their intended beauty.

Regardless, I’ve got another mandolin, spruce, sycamore, rosewood, and soul and I’ve got to go play.

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