Playing Your Part.

3 May 2016

I am privileged to be part of an interesting musical project. Music inspired by chocolate! How great is that?

Let me explain. A while ago I met up with Cheryl Brighty who owns a chocolate shop. She makes the most wonderful chocolates and has awards to prove it. It was a Christmas Fayre and she had dark chocolate with frankincense and gold leaf. Well – who could resist trying that? An utterly amazing taste sensation.

I have synaesthesia so for me this chocolate had deep cello notes, a wild violin line on top and chromatic xylophone scales around the sides (I taste in sound and hear in colour: it all makes sense to me even if it sounds weird to you). Cheryl was fascinated and said her daughter Emily, who was studying music, would be interested too.

So a few months later I found myself with a box of chocolates and instructions to write down the sounds they made as I tasted them. Emily then wrote the music, arranged an orchestra of assorted volunteers and last Saturday we met up in All Saints Church, Newmarket to rehearse and record the piece.

It was awe inspiring for me to hear how Emily had translated my thoughts into real music. And amazing to hear how close it was to what I had "heard".

But this blog isn't about that.

You see, each of we musicians and singers had received only our own parts. None of us (other than Emily) had the full score. None of us knew what the whole piece would sound like, or even what the piece we were playing in would sound like. Some of the chocolates needed only the string section; some percussion; others woodwind; some needed trumpets and horns. The piano was only needed for two chocolates and the singers for three.

It was not until we were all together with Emily conducting us, bringing us in at the right time, that we could begin to hear how everything went together. I could then clearly hear the timpani of the Madagascan white chocolate. I could hear the cranberry and popping candy and the intense bitterness of the 100% dark chocolate with cocoa nibs.

But we could only hear a little at a time as each piece was recorded in isolation. We won't hear the full piece until we receive the CD.

It occurred to me that life is like that. We have only our part to play. We must play it as well as we can and trust that the composer and conductor knows how it all goes. Occasionally we hear how everything comes together; sometimes we play our line, pack up our instrument and go home: we never hear the finished piece.

If we try to play a part other than our own, we will spoil the composer's piece. Just one more reason to be ourselves as well as we possibly can. Our little triangle may be the popping candy that absolutely makes the music really sing.

Oh – and if you'd like to find out more about the project, or indeed the chocolate – here is the link:


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