Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Before an orchestra can perform (at least if it wants the audience to stay) it has to "tune". This is a fascinating process to watch, and it strikes my imagination as how creation must have been: chaos moving toward order. As you listen to the assorted instruments of the orchestra tune up you will hear the oboe play one clear note (Concert A) that remains constant through the chaos. This is the sound that each instrument  first strives to match. Then, each instrument must tune to itself - for example, a violin has four strings. The player first tunes one string to the central note, then tunes the other three strings to the tuned string.  This clip provides a clear example of the process:

"Tuning" is a good metaphor for how families work too. Each member of the family must tune to a central core note, the Concert A of that family. Then each must tune his or her other strings to the first one. This is not as quick and easy as the orchestra clip above. Those people are professionals - at work, focused, and invested in sounding good.

I'm not sure a family can ever reach that level of efficiency in its tuning. The family has a variety of circumstances that an orchestra does not have to consider. In a family, the orchestra members are always changing - new babies are born, new in-laws join the family, couples divorce and people die. Another factor is the tune-ability of a particular instrument in the orchestra - for some instruments, no amount of tuning will ever keep them true for very long. And, your family orchestra will, hopefully, always include beginners. A lot of family tuning looks more like this:

Still, you can strive to be in tune, and if your Concert A is true and strong, the members will instinctively gravitate toward it. So what core value is the loudest, most consistent and truest sound in your family?  Is it the note you want to be your family's Concert A? I pray that your family will develop perfect pitch!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is great imagery. Thank you.