I wonder if you’ve ever tried to learn to play a stringed instrument? With bowed strings the player has to make the notes by placing her fingers on the strings. There are no frets or markers to guide where the string should be pressed to play different notes. The novice must learn to place her fingers correctly and in order to do that she must listen to the tuning. It is all about learning to hear dissonance. To hear dissonance you first need to be able to recognise the sound of the notes played correctly. Then if you misplace a finger, a quick shift can be made and the tuning is restored. It can take many hours of practise for a young player to ‘hear’ well enough to play in tune.

I hear dissonance in my life like an out of tune note. There have been times when I’ve become so accustomed to playing all of the notes out of tune, that I stop noticing the dissonance. I know that sometimes I have also decided that there is no point in correcting one note when so many are misplaced. However, in recent months I have been trying to listen more carefully. To improve my tuning. This week I realised that there were a few things which gave me a tight feeling in my stomach every time they occurred. I ignored the feeling, but eventually I paused for a minute to consider it and realised I was hearing the out of tune notes. I had to take time to understand the reason for the dissonance and I then began to correct it. I say ‘began’ because unlike playing a note in tune, more than a finger wiggle is required. I had to open up my heart to correction from the Holy Spirit. I needed to hand over some more things to my Heavenly Father. I needed to remember Jesus’ words that he had come to bring abundant life. I say ‘began’ because I need to do those things repeatedly. Every time I hear that wrong note, I need to make the correction. In time I will start to play the right note automatically because I will have learned how to place my fingers on the strings.

I think that it’s only through hearing dissonance that we learn to play the right notes. Now that I’m well and truly into this musical analogy we need to follow the conductor and listen to the notes of those playing around us. Lean towards those who have good tuning. Be imitators. Keep your eyes ( and ears) fixed on the Leader of the orchestra. Always in tune. Always following the conductor. Always sitting with us.

This post is linked with Marvia Davidson’s Real Talk Tuesday 


4 thoughts on “Dissonance

  1. These words …”playing all of the notes out of tune, that I stop noticing the dissonance” describe where i am right now. I’m listening. I’m choosing. I’m taking the steps toward wholeness, connectedness, and nearness to the priority of my life. thank you for sharing these words!

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