Sunday, August 1, 2010

"No" vs. "Instead"

An interesting object lesson in the difference between "no" and "instead," this morning.

I played the organ for a Sunday-morning church service, today. This organ has a very welcome feature, an "auto pedal" switch that automatically plays the pedal on whatever the lowest note is on a given manual. I'm sure it's there to make it easier for piano players to play the organ, I've seen it on more than one instrument, but I was never more grateful for it than I was this morning.

There are things I can't do, when I can't control the pedal board; for example, tune in one hand, accompaniment in the other, and independent bass part in the pedals.

But I could play a completely satisfactory and satisfying service. I could still accompany hymns quite well; I couldn't use some of the "color" registrations that I've enjoyed using in the past, to play the tune on a solo stop or on the chimes, but I could still play the hymns in a way that the congregation loves to sing along with... and really, isn't that the point? Pick the right prelude and postlude, and you can get away without using the pedals. 'Course, the pieces with pedal are bigger, better, more fun, and more satisfying--when you can play them, of course. They're most unsatisfying if your nervous system won't cooperate.

So, I can't play "the organ" any more, maybe... but I can play that organ, I can still make music. That part of my life is not as wide open as it once was, but it is not forever behind me, as I had feared.

And, by definition, "good enough" is... good enough.

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