Contribution to Book
Christology: Memory, Inquiry, Practice
In musical composition, a clash of cymbals signifies a dramatic moment in a passage. But its significance can vary. The force of brass plates can simply call attention to a phrase, voice, anthem, or transition in the arrangement. It can emphasize a thematic development, a musical notation anticipating a later twist or crescendo-or indicate that climax itself. It can signal a harmonious resolution of previous chords, or a rhapsody of dissonant voices. There are the occasions when a clash of cymbals heralds an extraordinary expression of musical creativity and genius: an adventitious musical gesture that brings together quite different voices in a way that enables the composition to express itself in a new idiom. At such moments cymbals announce a new musical vocabulary, a new form of expression. It is not just that something unexpected is said. The juxtaposition of the di sparate voices creates a way to say something that could not have been said before. What it expresses is made possible only through the arrangement's invention of new possibilities of meaning created by its forcing a combination of musical phrases that until this composition had not been envisioned. The audience hears something it has never heard beforeand could not have been expected to hear until this musical passage itself created the space for the hearing.