There’ll be some changes here

There’ll Be Some Changes Made” (“Changes“) is a popular song by Benton Overstreet (composer) and Billy Higgins  (lyricist). Published in 1921, the song has flourished in several genres, particularly jazz. The song has endured for as many years as a jazz standard. According to the online The Jazz Discography (an index of jazz-only recordings), “Changes” had been recorded 404 times as of May 2018. The song and its record debut were revolutionary, in that the songwriters (Overstreet and Higgins), the original copyright publisher (Harry Herbert Pace), the vocalist to first record it (Ethel Waters), the owners of Black Swan (the record label), the opera singer (Elizabeth Greenfield) for whom the label was named, and the musicians on the recording (led by Fletcher Henderson) were all African American. The production is identified by historians as a notable part of the Harlem Renaissance.

There is a difference between alteration and transformation. The one implies mere change; the other, remodeling. Historically renovation of the latter nature especially is the product of stimulation beyond the simple desire for modification. Instead it reflects the more ambitious pursuit of reordering, refinement and overhauling, the thrust of which is frequently emotional. As such it equally requires a measure of control or hesitancy because one may react too quickly and end regretting the assertion.  On the other hand if the application is to have any consequence at all – and given adequate qualification (which is to say confinement from outright anger or passive abuse) – the enterprise must embrace a demonstrable course. Though it smacks of ambivalence, it nonetheless spares one the further obstruction of repentance.

In addition I believe that limiting the transformation is prudent for two obvious reasons: one, we can only change ourselves; and, two, what we see in others is ironically what we see in ourselves. Keeping in mind this very real possibility of misrepresentation or misappropriation it is far more safe to restrict the amendment to oneself.

Whither one goes in the revision is also a critical choice. It is too easy in the moment of perceived adversity to end harming oneself. On the other hand clarity is required to complete the task. This means there will be fallout. Oddly enough I now recall having had other experiences of this nature in the past though thankfully not that often.  But unquestionably I have had in the past choices to make regarding the alignment of my internal mechanics if you will. To my credit I do not recollect having been so overly disturbed by the task to the point of misbehaving. Perhaps I inherited from my father that diluted British sentimentality which preserved me from the appearance of outburst or social vulgarity.  I will however acknowledge that privately I am quick to lapse into the vernacular. We’ll call that my mother’s side of the inheritance, the French vein in my blood.

Ultimately the outcome of a proper transmogrification is beneficial for all parties.  Let’s face it, we’re all different; and sometimes it requires guts to rise to the occasion, to address the elephant in the room, to afford relief to everyone. Recognizing the serviceable nature of the undertaking is by far more digestible than pointing fingers. Besides it takes two to tango; and not everyone is up to swirling about the dance floor at any one time.

Apart from the spluttering of words or the stamping of feet, any noticeable alteration demands overt change. If the venture were indeed tackled without directly involving others, its palpability may be no more than a whisper, not a bang. Which is perfectly acceptable (assuming one isn’t consumed by revenge).

I don’t know whether I have Nancy or Beethoven to thank for this, but it puts the icing on the cake for me!

You are probably familiar with Beethoven’s famous quote:
“Music is like a dream.  One that I cannot hear.  To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.”

Nature for all its marvels nonetheless persists to maintain an inescapable element of conflict.  It is a source of the Darwinian theory of evolution to compete and survive. It is the noise of love and hatred. It is the separation between family and foe. It is the source of identity. It is both the cause and the result of change.