“The Tripartite Prelude”
My reflection was inspired from Plato’s treatise the Republic, which we studied in the class Contemporary Civilizations. In it Plato introduces to us his theory that the soul is composed of three parts: the appetitive, the rational and the spirited. In order for a being and a society to be balanced and just, these three parts must work in harmony where the reason rules, spirit enforces and appetitive obeys.
The piece I wrote has three voices, and is also in three parts (not including a short introduction and coda). First I introduce one melody, then another and finally the third one. All of these melodies have different characteristics resembling one of the categorizations. The main theme illustrates the rational soul, with its smooth and searching line, the lower counter melody with its strong sonorous tones is the spirited part, supporting the rational part. Finally the harmonic cloud and glitters on the upper registers represent the appetitive soul, whose job it is to obey and compliment the melodies of the other two.
However, these themes, by themselves, are not sufficient enough to sustain the piece as they are not enough to populate a just society as Plato says. Each of the sections that focus on one part by itself ends up crashing down (characterized by falling arpeggios). Until, at the lowest point, the factors decide to come together, in unison, and finally bringing the piece to triumphant ending that somehow is also reminiscent of the mysterious opening, depicting our never ending search to understand the human soul.
Kun Oskar Yao
Tiedan Oskar Yao (CC’14) is majoring in Financial Economics with a concentration in Mathematics. As a member of the Columbia Juilliard Exchange Program he studies piano with Yoheved Kaplinsky, head of the Juilliard piano department while also pursuing studies at Columbia with Reiko Uchida. Yao is also a recipient of the Rapaport Fellowship and is a founding member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity at Columbia.