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.
“Where can she be?” Largo wondered. Across the street, a sheet of peach-colored paper circled aimlessly in the wind.
“Maybe Aria is lost,” Largo said to himself. “Just like that piece of paper.”
The thought of leaving the safety of his home made Largo nervous, but he had to find Aria, so off he went to look for her.
“Maybe I should try the Home for Lost Keys,”Largo thought. No one ever looked in the Home for Lost Keys unless a lost key couldn’t be found anywhere else.
“If you lose something, you’ll find it in the last place you look,” Largo’s grandmother used to tell him.
So he decided to go to the Home for Lost Keys right away and perhaps save himself a lot of time. Then he would surely be home in time for tonight’s concert.
On his way to the Home for Lost Keys, he passed the brick house where his friend Allegro lived. He thought about stopping by to share some hilarious jokes he’d learned. He giggled as he thought of one he’d heard just last night.
Q: How do you fix a broken tuba?
A: With a “tuba glue.”
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…………………………. ……………………………………………
Then Hilo saw a crowd of happy faces that filled up the room until it looked like a mid-summer night’s sky filled with bright twinkling stars.
Hilo was so amazed, he barely noticed Tune as she darted over to the dining room table and placed her present next to Largo and Allegro’s yellow gift box wrapped in gold ribbon. Tune’s present was covered with glittering red stars.
Hilo scanned the crowd. There was Ms. Francesca shining in her latest outfit of purple and green sequins. He was delighted to see some of the notes and rests from Clementi’s Sonatina laughing together. Dancers from the Dance-O-Rama had joined the party and a group of marching trombones from the parade showed up. But most amazingly of all, his good friends, Largo and Allegro, were standing next to him.
Suddenly everyone yelled “Happy Birthday!” and started playing rock ’n’ roll records. The notes began to jump and twist while the clefs started to spin in circles. The keys sang along with the music while the half rests started entertaining the guests with hat tricks. Whole notes did somersaults around the room singing,
“Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’, Keep those whole notes rolling, They should not be dozing, Let’s glide !”
Hilo saw Allegro hand the trombones some yellow and red balloons with the words, “Happy Birthday” painted on them. The trombones started to blow up the balloons and tie them onto each party member. Balloons were everywhere!
“What a great party!” Hilo said out loud.
“Did we fool you?” asked two voices, one breathing quickly, the other slow and calm.
“Fool me? Ha, not in the slightest!” Hilo said. Then he threw back his head and laughed out loud. Largo and Allegro laughed with him and handed Hilo a big yellow box. Hilo opened it and pulled out the silvery grey suit he had seen at Ms. Francesca’s Clothing Store.
Then he opened Tune’s gift and discovered a brand new guitar pick for his collection.
“THANKS!” Hilo said to his friends.
Everyone ate birthday cake, played music and frolicked late into the night. Hilo received so many presents, he didn’t know what he was going to do with them all.
When the party finally ended, the moon was beginning to set in the sky. Most of the party had gone home, but the three friends remained on Hilo’s living room floor, lying on soft pillows as night flowed into the house like a restful morning breeze.
Allegro’s eighth note flag twitched nervously as he breathed in and out. Largo’s small body lay snugly within his very large hat. Hilo had rolled himself up like a peppermint twist and lay peacefully
on a large puffy pillow. On his face was a big smile that was as warm and wide as the Oboe River on a lazy summer afternoon.
All of them were fast asleep.
A Glossary of musical terms are 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!