For my cousin,

I’ve always found, and you agreed, that music offers a certain substance to the world that’s lacking in our other exploits. Without that melody humming in the background of your mind, there isn’t much to recommend the day, and silence makes it difficult to be human. With a touch of rhythm and even a few notes, things burst into color. You remember them. Life is worth living, with a song.

With that in mind, I was pleased to run across this while I was putting together my paper on the Tale of Genji:

“I used to do tolerably well on the Japanese koto myself; but my son tells me it is in bad taste. I suppose the fashions have changed. He says he can’t bear the thing, and besides I am wasting my time. I ought to be spending my time with my beads, every last minute of it, he says, and so I am out of practice. If I could just give you something on that koto of mine, such a fine, clear tone it does have.”
She would like nothing better than to perform for them, the captain could see. “Your reverend son has strange ideas of what you should and should not be doing. Does he not know, and like all the rest of us think it admirable, that the powers above play on instruments like these and the angels dance to them? What sin can there be in music, what harm can it do to your prayers? I for one cannot think of any. Come, let’s have a tune or two.”

-Tale of Genji, trans. Edward Seidensticker

Take that, Calvin!