Ok Al, old buddy, old pal, let me explain this visual aid to you. In small words, so that even you can understand. This is music. It is a written language, just like English. Music is something that any musician (a person who plays music) can read, regardless of their spoken language. The two pieces of the picture we will concentrate on are the little square thing in the middle and the curvy bird’s-eye thing above it. The rest is moot (that means it doesn’t matter).
The little square thing is called a “rest.” In music, that means don’t play/sing/bang your drum – the rest is silence by your instrument for the amount of time the rest stands for. In this case, it is a ‘whole’ rest, which means the silence lasts for the entire measure – but that is something that is too complicated for you to understand right now.
The curvy bird’s-eye thing above the rest is called a “fermata.” That’s an Italian word. Music still contains a good many Italian words, mostly used as directions. Centuries (a century is 100 years) ago, most of the composers were Italian, so the directions were written in Italian. Fermata means “hold this for a long time, or until the conductor (that’s the man in front waving the stick, not the guy driving the train) cuts you off.
If you put these two items together, in musical language, they basically read “Be Quiet Until Told Otherwise.”
Now Al, the entire universe knows you have a BIG mouth and the BIG ego to go with it. Pay attention now!
Ahem…(a hush falls over the concert hall as the last of the tuning cacophony subsides). The conductor strides onto the stage, takes his bow, clicks his baton and raises it for the universe’s first utterance of Al Gore’s latest
Tutti … con spirito (Altogether now, with spirit!)
Hey Al, can you hear the universe singing your song? I didn’t think so…..
Music. Snark. Musical Snark. Priceless.