Sense of Music
If light is what the blind long for best of all, nothing but music can make
the deaf extremely crazy! When I was studying at Changchun University, I once
talked about "Three days to see" by Helen Keller with a deaf
classmate. I asked him, "If you had three days to hear, how would you
spend?" "Go to a concert hall," he answered without
thinking, "and stay there all three days and nights on end!" He told
me that he had lost hearing when he was less than one year old, had not had
any impression of sound and he had been eager to know how wonderful music
I am also deaf. As I fell ill and became deaf at age of fourteen,
experienced two different lives, namely shifting form a world full of sounds
to a silent world, which rendered me all the more sorrowful as I was stung by
the inability of enjoying music.
I don't know whether or not I was gifted for music in my childhood. The
music education then provided merely a music lesson per week in which we
learnt a few songs. All that left very deep impression on me. Then in the
junior school, a school orchestra was set up and I was surprised to know I had
been fortunately chosen one of the players---playing dulcimer in the center
position of the orchestra.
The teacher in charge of the small orchestra was very strict with us. At
6:30 every morning after we had to get up to school, we were made to run a few
laps on the track of school playground, to do warming-up exercises and to
stretch and flex our fingers and then we rushed to listen to music and
practice the instruments. Music theory was taught after the regular afternoon
teaching periods. I still remember that the teacher scribbled explanation on
the blackboard so fast that we could hardly follow him if distracted a little.
Gradually I was imbued with hard-baked knowledge of music theory. The next
year a disaster befell me when I took down with sudden deafness and then I was
forced to say good-bye to the sacred music in my heart.
What was the quiet and still world like? It was very hard to depict. It
seemed like drought-devastated, parched earth in need of being moistened by
rain and dew. It also seemed like a pool of frozen stagnant water unable to
make pleasant flowing laughter. It seemed to me that hubbubs disappeared
completely from the world and the earth stopped turning at two or three before
daybreak---a constraining moment. Everything around me seemed irrelevant to me
who simple felt that time was too long to go through and that changes in the
world went beyond my expectation as if everything was revolving around me,
nothing was understandable. In the territorial air space of my imagination,
sometimes the universe was infinitely bright and sometimes the barren land.
What songs became popular seemed to be a topic of conversation forever
irrelevant to me. Also! Whenever I saw on TV or in a music hall some pop
singers losing their minds and boisterous audience quite carried away, I felt
especially different form all the others and lonely and helpless. And then I
wanted very much to tear my eardrums open, or throw myself upon my dulcimer
and have a good cry.
In savouring such a sorrow I spent one year and another--
Later on, when I dropped in a bookstore and caught sight of a nice copy of
"201 Well-known Foreign Songs" on the shelf, I scanned a few pages
and read the within my heart. I felt certain that I was capable of singing the
songs. On thes impulse of the moment I bought that book.
Just as I suddenly met my bosom friend after being apart a long time, I
turned the music in the book over in my mind whenever I was free every day.
Looking at the music I simply forgot that I had a pair of the deaf ears. I
felt as if I had returned to my care free, happy and merry childhood. Only
then did I find how clear the sky looked and how bright the sun was and how
lovely a flower, a blade of grass, a tree and a rock looked. In this way I was
slowly learning to read a many songs.
After I entered university, due to heavy burden of studies and limited
spare-time I basically stopped practicing singing any new songs. But since at
college a lot of blind and disabled schoolmates were learning music as their
speciality, I fortunately went into musical life. I borrowed from them such as
"Detailed Explanation of a Hundred Famous Western Songs" which
enabled me to have a better understanding of music, musicians and music
history. In my heart, Rafael and Thorvaldsen were ordinary, but I admired
Pagnini, Schubert, Karajan and Menuhin best of all!
Whatever is lost is generally held most valuable which whatever is nearly
impressible to obtain is usually something people are crazy about. I often had
an incredible fancy in my mind. If I should regain my hearing ability I would,
Without any doubt, become a singer singing with my own unique style out of the
ordinary because in my heart the feeling of the soundless world smouldered for
so long, the suffering of the disabled life smouldered for so long and love
and longing for music smouldered for so long. When I read an article in a
pictorial about the world-known Spanish tenor Pavorotti, I was infatuated with
him at once, thinking if only I was able to hear his songs. When I saw on TV
Jackson, well-known American rock and roll singer, giving charity performance
to hungry African people and millions of music fans shouting and cheering for
him, my heart seemed to rise and fall like the waves at the same time. That
made me feel once again the mighty power of music and the indispensability of
music in life. I felt nothing could be happier than being a musician
infatuated with and loved by his audience.
When I was learning the course of graphic design in book design, I chose to
design "Biography of Beethoven". I painted the plaster statue of
Beethoven in light blue against a dark black-ground with deep blue stave in it
and wrote the name of the book in yellow symbolizing lamp-light. To do it
better, I borrowed a lot of works by Beethoven from the schoolmates in music
classes. Finally I chose "Fate" from among the pieces of music. When
I began my designing, the bouncing notes brought me back into my past
memory. A voiceless song was sung in my heart and was kept within me quite for
a long time.
I have experienced twenty long years of deaf life so far, which reveals
that loss of one sense does not necessarily mean loss of the feeling of that
sense. Just as the blind can feel sunshine by receiving its warmth and feel
spring water through being affected by its coolness, the deaf, likewise,
have their own way of experiencing quiet and enjoying music. Since man is a
thinking animal, even the person with physical defects can use his power of
imagination, and if he has lost one of the senses, he can train and sharpen
his other senses. Moreover, just because he has lost a kind of life for which
he cherishes a heart-felt longing, his experience of the surrounding world may
usually be even more exquisite, even more genuine and even more close to
intuition. Therefore, he can probably have feelings different form those of a
healthy person and have gains equally different.
A very cute, clever boy, enjoying his happy life, as anyone of his age
does, was not only excellent on his studies, but a member in the school band!
Nevertheless, at the age of fourteen, he lost two all of hearing, and then
began to struggle with strenuous efforts against consequent difficulties and
setbacks. Even so, he did not a moment forget, but was all the more crazy
about music---something held sacred in his mind. In his spare-time, either at
university or at work after graduation, he kept learn music and year in and
year out built up a never failing longing for music. Finally he realized that
though a man may become deaf as a stone, he still can hear the rich and
colorful sounds of world so long as he is noble-minded, knowledgeable,
kind-hearted, considerate and able to listen with all his heart.
Do you want to know about a deaf person's musical life after his loss of
Do you want to understand a deaf person's feeling of music in complete
Please listen and see with great care this true, touching story told by
him--- "Sense of Music"
Presidnt of Xi'an Association of the Deaf
Fucong Lu 1 Hao, Xianning Zhong Lu
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province710043
PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA
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