The Grace Note

“Beautiful music for difficult times.”

As one whose musical career ended approximately before it began, the concept of the “grace note” hadn’t crossed my awareness until now. This month’s Yoga Journal features an article by Mark Nepo that introduces the grace note, and I became instantly enamored.

It seemed to me another sensory subtlety “coming to light” in this time when our consciousness is expanding further into the more subtle realms of existence. Noticing the subtle (validating it) is an important step to discovering more subtleties! The more you notice them, the more they will present to you.

Of course, musicians have been way ahead of me re: the grace note. But for me it provided a riff-worthy concept.

In addition to the excerpt from Nepo’s book that follows, I’ve included a link to The Grace Note Foundation at the end of this post, where you can, if you choose, listen to a generous assortment of harp music by David Pavlovich to benefit the foundation. So this post is in itself something of a “grace note” about grace notes – a whiff, a waft – to grace your day.

Love to you, Whitehawk

“I LEARNED TO PLAY PIANO AT 41. I worked my fingers long enough that the uncanny dimension of being played appeared briefly: In those moments, beyond all logic, my hands started to behave more quickly than my mind, which was trying to read the notes and position my fingers. My teacher noticed this and thought I was ready to tackle my first piece by Bach, a minuet known as “Bach’s Notebook for Anna Magdalena.”

In the eighth measure of that minuet, a note smaller than the rest appears. Almost ghostlike, it hovers very near the others like a barely seeable angel or a hummingbird whose path is more readily seen than its body. It surprised me. My teacher called it a grace note-a note that, though played and heard, takes up no time; a note that matters, though it is timeless. And therein lies its grace.

Now, 20 years later, I realize this is another way to understand the paradox of epiphany, of moments that open and transcend their sense of ordinary time. In truth, every glimpse of eternity I’ve ever encountered has been a grace note that has affected how I see and hear, though it has taken up no time in the measure of my struggle. I find over and over that the instant that we’re washed open by the swell of the Universe is such a note of grace…”

Mark Nepo shares a beautiful adapted excerpt from his new book, Things That Join the Sea and the Sky, in Yoga Journal‘s December issue.

The harp tracks by David Pavlovich can be found here:

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