LARGO AND THE LOST KEY
“Finito! I’m done!” cried Muzio Clementi, the Italian composer. He had spent the entire day writing music and the piece was finished at last. He dipped his quill pen into his ink well. Across the top of the parchment he wrote the title, Sonatina,Opus 36, No.1.
A sigh of relief flowed through him. Then he looked over his work to make sure it was correct.
“Oh dear,”he thought. “Something is missing.”
Clementi wanted the first movement to finish gently, so he added a half rest at the very end. When a “rest “ is present, the music pauses, and that is just what Clementi needed. A REST! So, he stood up, stretched his arms, lay down on his couch and fell asleep.
Many years later (over two hundred in fact), Largo, the half rest Clementi had placed into his music, was rehearsing with a piano student named Leah. She was playing the very Sonatina Clementi had written. And she would be playing it for the Harmonious Spring Concert, which was going to be held that evening.
Largo knew Leah wanted her performance to be perfect so he waited in his place on the page of music while she played the piece over and over. Finally, she stopped and closed her music book. She was don
“Yay! I want to go home. It’s time for a nap,” he thought to himself. So he pictured Melody Lane, the street he lived on, in his mind and called out, “OOM PAH PAH.”
Thin red lines appeared in front of him, which only musical symbols could see.The lines quickly turned into the red door that led into Sound City, the land where all the musical characters lived.
“Here I go!”he shouted, and when the red door opened, he stepped through.
He was sleepy from his long day of rehearsing, but he enjoyed the walk along Melody Lane to his little brown wooden house. All he could think of was cuddling with the pillows in his bed.
He walked to his front door and was greeted by an odd silence. Where was the music that normally floated happily in the breeze to welcome him home? It seemed strange that no one was singing to the daffodils next to his house. And where was that faint squeak of a house key unlocking his front door?
“Great Rest on the Page!” Largo shouted. “Where’s Aria?”
When Largo had moved into his home, a house key named Aria was the one who let him in the door. In Sound City, every building has a keyto lock and unlock its doors. Largo knew he could always count on Aria to let him into his house.
Largo walked around his yard hoping to see Aria in one of her usual sleeping places among the small-leafed honeysuckle vines or the yellow daffodils. He even checked under the lettuce leaves in his vegetable garden.
EXCERPT from story two: Allegro and The Spring Concert
Note: Allegro is an eighth note and always in a hurry.
Allegro wasn’t happy about leaving his friends and for a brief moment he thought he should have stayed to talk to them. But he quickly forgot about it when the train stopped. He stepped off and headed towards Mr. Lento’s shop.
When Allegro arrived, he watched through the front window while Mr. Lento, a white-haired whole rest, sat behind the counter in a wooden chair, slowly pushing straight pins into a white evening gown. Mr. Lento’s chair was so covered in pin cushions, it looked like a porcupine.
Allegro was out of breath when he went inside.
“Hello, Mr. Lento.”
“Oh, Allegro! I’m so glad you’re here. You’re in luck, my boy. Your tuxedo is ready and it looks grand with its shiny new buttons. I will get it for you. Now, you just wait right here.”
Allegro’s fingers tapped impatiently at his sides while Mr. Lento took his time pushing his pins back into the pin cushions. Mr. Lento got up slowly, stretched his arms and ambled towards the back of the store.
Allegro looked at the clock hanging on the wall and anxiously watched as the minutes passed while Mr. Lento read all the tags on each suit bag that hung from the long metal rod at the end of the store.
“Here it is!” he said at last. Mr. Lento carried one of the bags to the front of the shop and handed it to Allegro.
“Would you like to see the new buttons?”
Allegro really wanted to see the buttons but he was afraid that he might miss the train and be late for the concert.
“No thanks,” he quipped. “I really have to go.”
He paid Mr. Lento, who slowly put Allegro’s money into a cash register. When he looked up to say goodbye, Allegro was already racing past his front window.
EXCERPT from story three: Allegro and The Spring Concert
When he got home, he noticed that Tune was acting strangely. She was out of breath and acted like she was trying to hide a smile. She hugged him so hard he almost lost his breath.
“What was that all about?” he wondered and walked into his house.
Once inside, Hilo turned on the light and walked towards the closet to put away his new outfit. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a glittering red star on the floor. He had never seen a red star like that anywhere around his house and he was wondering how it got there when he heard a noise. It sounded like the scrape of a chair and it came from his kitchen.
“A burglar,” he thought. He reached inside his closet, took out a guitar pick from his pick collection and crept towards the kitchen, holding the guitar pick in front of him like a shield. Did he see a moving shadow? What was that glimmer of light coming through the kitchen door’s window? He moved stealthily across the floor.
Hilo slowly opened the kitchen door when suddenly a burst of whistling and humming, trilling and honking erupted around him. All these sounds began forming into a single word that resounded throughout his house, bounced off the walls and shook the glass in the windows.
And that word was…………………………. ……………………………………………
A Glossary of musical terms is included at the end of the book:
The meanings of the music terms found in Musical Tales are listed here. There are many more that can be found in a music dictionary.
Notes are sounds that are held for a certain length of time. For example:
A Whole Note is a tone or sound that is held for four beats. Hum a sound and count to four, then stop. You just hummed a whole note!