Twelve String Guitars

Adriana - Houston, Texas
Entered on March 1, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: creativity
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In the midst of my memories, I recall laying in my grandparent’s bedroom pretending to be asleep so I could hear the notes being strung together by my grandfather and his guitar. He would remain in the room neighboring the room I occupied without the slightest notion that I was listening to the beautiful sound he was producing with the plucking of his fingers on those twelve steel strings.

As I lay on the bed, I remembered the history of the guitar that my grandfather was playing ever so passionately with his artistic hands. We had been sitting in the living room when he depicted the hardships that he faced in Monterrey, Mexico. His hands made paper hats out of newspaper so as to draw attention from passersby when he was selling newspapers as a boy. His hands picked vegetables in the fields in the nearby town. His hands cleaned the shoes of business men that were on their lunch breaks. Through his manual labor, he was able to buy a twelve-string guitar. Observation and experimentation and time led to his ultimate formation as an artist. The pains, joys, and confusions caused by life were expressed through his music.

My little frame wriggled in excitement every time I heard the notes flutter from his fingers with the aid of one of his prized possessions. It was not until he became ill with cerebellum atrophy that I could no longer hear his beautiful release of cathartic music through his art.

This lack of my grandfather’s music did push me into dipping into the arts as well. My grandfather would tell me that it was normal to not be wonderful when first learning to play an instrument because it is not an innate ability for most. With this, I soon found my soul in control of my fingers in order to produce sound that depicts my every emotion without the use of words. With each minuscule movement of my hands, I converted my emotions into the universal language of the world: music.

I suppose this is what confuses me so much about music and art. It is easy for people to believe that music is simply notes splattered on paper which inevitably form noise. It is even easier to believe that music should be structured and only a played by a skilled professional. Perhaps they are right as far as becoming a famous musician is concerned. They do, however, fail to address the drive that is needed to create moving music. Most of the more well-known artists have sold themselves out for the materialistic. They may make music but they are, by no means, musicians. A musican must work because it is a form of cathartic release.

I often find myself sitting in my room with my headphones covering my ears as I await to hear the overflowing emotion spoken through the notes. I love to listen to the build up of tension and the ultimate release of beauty that cannot possibly be expressed through the utilization of words. I love to feel the sparks of electricity run through my veins with each emphatic sound spoken by the artist through his arrangement of notes. It is all music.

Music should and has always been a form of release and it should be kept as such. The mass media has made it impossible to find music that contains more than just a soothing rhythm. Many songs streaming on the radio are simply notes that will soon be forgotten and replaced within the upcoming year. The soul-touching music has become a little lost in recent decades but can still be found. We just have to reach a little higher to find it.