Yesterday I had one of those splendid experiences of sight-reading a two-part piece by a master of counterpoint, Orlando di Lassus.  It is amazing to me that a part which is itself not difficult becomes mysterious the instant it is sung in combination with another voice: it is the interaction of the two tones that makes the music great.
As always when this happens I am astonished.
Also, I am reminded of what constitutes greatness in composition:  Notes work a bit like the fabled points you learn about in Geometry 101.  One point floats in space; two points make a line, another floating entity.  It takes three points to define a plane.  Thus it works with tones.
Except that tones are more complicated than those abstracted points, for tones resonate, of themselves, and even more so in combination with other tones.  So one tone is more than one and two more than two, etc.
Music is truly astonishing.
 


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