The violin on the table remains silent as Amos circles it. It has the stillness of wings beating far away. Amos wonders if the f holes sound the same on each side. He sings a scale; well, he tries to sing. He covers up one side of the f hole with a soft cloth and sings the scale again. Yes, there is a small difference.
Simplicity is key. Bowing, shifting and rhythm depend on inhaling a resonating air, then blowing. Each note repeats at least twice in a dotted rhythm. Amos trains his ear, the left one, to feel joy as the note repeats and skips. The right ear hears only imperfection. He comes to love this imperfection, too. Spiccato sounds like frog scales in early spring; a smooth legato is a sticky toffee scale, strung between teeth and fingertips.
How does Amos practice? He has no set schedule but a rhythm, sure as sleeping, rising. The violin does not always rise at the same time. Sometimes it sleeps in late in its velvet-lined case. It is imperative to play daily, so Amos leaps down into the case beside the tuning pegs. Wake up! Not practicing looms like a dark cloud. If the violin refuses to waken, this inevitably turns up the volume of the music inside Amos.
Amos can’t read music, and he does not try. He knows that a musical score, already written (already heard), can distract from composing something all of his own.
Amos imagines a horizontal line. He draws many in the air, each one a distinct signature. He draws under the tutelage of silence. He anticipates sound then changes its direction. To learn scales and arpeggios, Amos gazes over the horizon of the violin into another time and place. There, he can play a three- octave range easily. Here, we hear nothing at all.
Amos balances between the music he hears and the vast silence of deep space. From far out in the cosmos a note falls to his left ear. A trembling, nearly imperceptible orange light licks his back. His mane arcs and rises to its warmth.
Amos considers the shoulders of his violin. They seem to soften with pleasure as he sniffs over them. If you think it is impossible for Amos and the violin, you must see that he has claimed it already as his own. Drop all expectations. He will compose something you have never heard before.