Books, Music

Music in Wonderland: The White Rabbit’s Proof (Part 2)

[Below, the White Rabbit begins asking Alice questions as they discuss classical music.  If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.]


To start, my dear, how do you read a book?

Why, from left to right of course.

And do you start at the middle and read from Chapter 3 straight on to Chapter 57 and back to Chapter 34?

Why, certainly not! (I huffed.)

Well why ever not?

One simply can’t jump around in “The Cow Jumped Over the Moon.” Otherwise, the Dish would have run away with the moon while the Cow laughed at the Diddle Dog.

Quite right, my dear—well said. Well then, how do you listen to music?

…The same way I read a book, I suppose.

 Very good—very good. Now, if you read a book in order and listen to music in order, what does that say about the book?

That the cow must always jump before the dog laughs![1]

Excellent, excellent! I am pleased to see you catching on so quickly. Now then, what if the Cow became sick and one day was unable to jump over the moon?

Why, then there would be no story![2]


(Just imagine if the Dog had already gone home for supper! I mused.)

Now if the Dog can be little in your book (the Rabbit continued), why should it not be so in your music?

I don’t know (I admitted, after pondering the matter for some time.)[3]

Well, there you have it then! Since the dog can be little, it requires that there be a dog, and Vice Versa, and Versa Vice!

How charming!

It is rather, isn’t it? (I’m afraid the White Rabbit mistook me for making a comment toward his pocket watch. Since the watch was also rather charming, I decided it would be rude to correct him.)


[1] Alice recognizes the fact that both music and books must be listened to in the correct order because they both consist of a narrative.

[2] Alice realizes that a narrative must have at least one character.

[3] Alice sees the White Rabbit’s point that adjectives can be used to describe both characters in a story and characters in music.


Read Part 3 here.

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