Regret is a blue note, B♭

held – vibrato – on the clarinet,

sustained endlessly over many bars.

It is the plaintive chromatic

from bottom to top,

chalumeau, dark liquorice tone,

rising to the sweet clarion

and upward, upward

like an angel taking wing

to the peaks of the altissimo.


The darker woodwinds

know emotion,

and through their mouthpiece

through the musician’s embouchure

every poignant motif

is a musical curlicue winding unendingly

from tone to melancholy semitone.


Regret is unpolished

a bow strike to the heart

where it lasts indefinitely,

sostenuto on the deeper strings

the cello takes the melody,

and passes it to the double bass.


This poem was inspired by a piece that I wrote a while ago, trying to explore how music conveys emotions. 



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