Posts Tagged ‘Music’

My friend emphasized the word “Forte” as he described the good properties of the product. The product was Garlic Forte to be exact. Now to you or me that may seem obvious, but it must not have been to him, because when I said, “That must be loud”, by which I meant intense, he didn’t catch my drift. I explained that forte means “loud” in music, like the opposite of piano. He replied, “I never knew that.” No big deal, because it is a trivia fact if you have not been trained in music. But it set me to thinking about the real meaning of the word, its origin in music and elsewhere.

The Fortepiano was invented by an Italian chap named Cristofori in 1698. (1) I knew from my own piano training as a boy that the pianoforte, or piano as it became to be known, was so named because it struck the keys with a hammer so that it could be played loud (forte) or soft (piano) whereas its precursor, the harpsichord, plucks the strings at a more or less constant volume.

But why would an herbal product be called “Forte”? The word more generally means “strong”. And to say, for example, that “Talking is his forte”, is frequently said as “Talking is his strong suit.” So, Garlic Forte is strong or concentrated or effective or odiferous garlic. Well, I guess you could soften things down a bit and use Garlic Piano, but someone might note that you are playing a Musical Joke. (2)

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortepiano
  2. K.522 by Mozart

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My oldest brother sent out a family email with a link (Major DW Whittle) and a “hope they will encourage you…” concerning the last words penned by D.W. Whittle, who wrote some 200 hymns. Well they did indeed encourage me for reasons of knowing at present a minor bit of the pain from which he must have written these faith filled words and his focus on heaven and God’s presence then and now. But I was also challenged by the words, “The last words he wrote have never been set to music.” I determined the meter to be 6, 6, 8, 6. I looked in one of my hymnbooks and did not find a tune that fit the words. There was not an exact match of the meter to this this poem, but even if there had been, tunes don’t always fit the syllable emphases. So, foolish neophyte songwriter that I am, I wrote my own tune. Singing it through, I realized that the first line needed an eighth note couplet for differing phrasing in different verses. Then I realized that in three of the lines Mr. Whittle had not been so exact in his number of syllables. In one of these the eighth note couplet took care of it, but in verse 4 I could find no other way to fit the words to the tune than to eliminate two words and add two tied eighth notes that are used in this verse. The deletions I made don’t significantly change the meaning and are shown in parentheses below. Still, line 3 has 9 syllables so “cre-a” in “creation’s” is divided into the two eighth notes.

“Not every night is thus;
Some nights with pain are drear.
(Then) I join my moan with creation’s groan
(And) the chimes I do not hear.”

If somehow my tune might introduce this encouraging poem to singing it for some number of Christians, it would have been well worth the effort. It was worth it anyway as I reflected on God’s goodness to me communicated through the words and sang about it.

My Lord Draws Nigh tune is a link to the melody written and a short mp3 file of me singing the second verse. Enjoy and be encouraged by considering the goodness and nearness of our God.

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Overflows from the Heart

"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…" Matthew 15:18


Pointing to the One who made, saved, and sustains