The International Sign for Happiness is a C Major Chord

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Ruby McCafferty, an incoming Sophomore at Burlington High School, wrote this piece in anticipation for the 2011 Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, where she’ll be
writing about the musicians and their performances. She writes about the power
that music can have over emotions, and how mere words can become inadequate.

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Seldom can I find the words to express my true intentions,
and I often let phrases slip from my lips like little bullets to shoot the
conversation dead. I’ll watch the subject matter fall to the ground and in one
last attempt to resuscitate it, I will apologize for my inability to be a
social butterfly. In doing so, I lodge another bullet deep into the heart of the
matter. I make a promise to myself to be silent, observant, and to keep any
ideas contained. This is a vow I keep for all of three minutes, until the topic
changes again and I find myself bursting to add my voice. My lips once again
become the smoking gun, and I the shell-shocked girl whose finger slipped on
the trigger.

If it were up to me, I would speak in phrases solely musical.
Throbbing chords and drawn out bass notes and flighty arpeggios that pull
bystanders in and drag them under, all expressing my intentions perfectly.
Excitement would be expressed by a trilling flute rather than high pitched
chatter and my melancholy complaints would be written in the air by low, slow
cello strokes as opposed to choked whining phrases. No fumbled bullets here, just
truth, and everyone would always understand because the international sign for
happiness is a C Major chord.

Sadly, I was given vocal cords instead of a symphony,
predetermined notes that always seem to fail me when I need them most. Instead
of a graceful melody, the only noise I can make is dissonance, a sound
remarkably similar to the shot of a gun.

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