The Importance of a Small Orchestral Accompaniment


It’s 7:00 AM, dark and dry in the dead of winter’s grip. You can feel the coffee, red bull and adderall slowly fighting an impossible battle with your need to sleep. The dim laptop screen reflects off your eyes, only a few words left to write. An hour is left for you to make an attempt at arguing why Cars 2 is a metaphor for 1950’s class struggle and your reasoning is looking more like a conspiracy theory than an essay. As you explain why Lightening McQueen is bourgeoisie, your head drops for a moment- you almost fall asleep.

But no, you can’t stop. You won’t stop.

Cue small orchestral accompaniment.

You will go on.

Whoa. I don’t know about you but that gave me chills, seriously though. Feels from another world, know what I’m saying? Like that time you watched that Pixar short with the volcanoes? You know, the one where the big volcano is looking for love and sings like a fucking angel and then the other girl volcano sings back and then he erupts and they make that “I lava you” pun and stuff? Yeah, like that.

Small orchestral accompaniment. It’s the cheese fondue of life – makes everything better. I dare you to name a situation when a group of elite violinists, trumpeters, cellists, percussionists and one or two tuba players couldn’t elevate your world. What? Is that silence I hear? Is that because you have no possible way of responding since this is just an article in a newspaper? Is it because I’m writing this on my iPhone as my parents drive me back to Kingston while I listen to some smooth ass jazz? Maybe, just maybe, it’s because you can’t admit that small orchestral accompaniments really do make everything better. Well if your gonna be that way, I’ll just have to hit you with some cold hard truths.

You’re in a lecture and the prof is boring the hell out of your class. Suddenly, you hear a delicate piccolo, playfully following the professor’s words. A rumbling oboe traces his slow movements and a soft timpani paces his gestures. The notes float in the air like a cloud of cotton, the tones play with your ears like…. a creepy dude who plays with people’s ears. Instantly a thousand times better (except for the ears thing).

It’s midterms, or exam, or whatever- you’re studying for some reason, ok? It’s crunch time and a concept that’s 100% necessary to know doesn’t make sense, like how microwaves make food hot (legit though, how does that work? And why can’t you put metal in their? Also, can anyone confirm if the popcorn setting actually does popcorn right? Cause I would always do 2 minutes, 10 seconds but then there’d be like a million unpopped kernels, and then one time I tried 2 minutes, 20 seconds but then half the bowl was burnt to shit. My microwave only does increments of 10 seconds so unless you’ve got one that can do 2 minutes, 15 seconds, I need some sort of two stage popcorn cooking method to pop as much of the bag without it burning. Like I guess you could take out the popped stuff at some point and keep microwaving the leftover kernels until it’s all popped but then you’ve introduced a second bowl and that’s a bit much for me. Some first year eng should MEA this shit cause these are the questions we should be asking. K, back to the fake situation). So yeah, you’re still studying and then a lightbulb goes off. Not a metaphorical idea one, like just the one in your room. Now it’s even harder to read your notes! All you want to do is watch westworld and go to sleep, but you need to keep going. Trombones slowly force you on as a light yet fierce snare keeps your chin up. Violins softly back the rest of the players, laying a foundation for your learning. It’s going to be ok.

I could name countless more situations where a small orchestral accompaniment will make the world a better place, but I think two examples is a good, round number, absolutely no need for a third (you know, rule of two’s and all!). Oh, you’re not convinced? You don’t believe in the effect of small orchestral accompaniments? You think I’m a complete idiot who probably didn’t even pass his English proficiency test? Well I didn’t, but here’s the ultimate proof of the raw power of small orchestral accompaniments.

It’s 2:00 AM and your drunkenness is somewhere between St. Paddy’s and HOCO. The party’s over and you just need a bed and cold glass of water to make sure you don’t die from being too lit. You’re alone, it’s dark and the world is spinning faster than mainstream media spins the news (yeah, fuck the system, Gary Johnson for life!). But it’s not about what you see, it’s what you hear- a single note. It’s either an A or a G, definitely not a B flat or something ridiculous like that. It’s followed by another note, and another and another until the music is drawing you forward. There’s something mystical in the air, pulling you from your drunken stupor into the light. The strings force you forward, the brass keeps you up. A final crescendo is in sight, rising greater and greater until…. you’re at your door. You’ve done it. You made it home alive. All thanks to a small orchestral accompaniment.