By Ruth Phinney ~ Posted Wed, 06/04/2008 - 10:59am
Just nights ago I had the unexpected experience of spending about six hours in a hospital emergency room (no worries - everything ended up fine). However, while I was there, alone, awaiting test results, and desperately wanting to sleep, I found myself somewhat comforted by the ER Symphony I began to hear.
As I drifted in and out of light sleep/coherence, between the hip dislocation in the curtain to my left, and the kidney stone in the curtain to my right, and the endless pages for "phlebotomy - STAT," I heard the rather sparse structure of the ER Symphony. The rhythmic patterns of the beeping tones and whirring equipment began to form a sort of 21st century "melody" accompanied by the sound of human interactions, groans, distant conversations, and curtains being swished back and forth as people entered and left the area.
I began thinking of what a composer could do to musically bring that experience to life. What instrument would be the EKG machine or the blood oxygen monitor? How might a composer score the human accompaniment? No matter how the piece may sound in the concert hall, it was somehow comforting to hear all that craziness around me become the music I so love.