Aveyard, Jon orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0063-6848 (2015) 'Alien'. [Composition]

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We met them in a sheltered place, these visitors from far away. They were unsure what to do with our outstretched arms and had no replies to our greetings. Wordlessly, they unravelled from their packs tools of wood and metal, musical instruments as it turned out, and began to assemble them - tiny tubes with switches, a disc with a circular brush, a sea shell with a row of mouthpieces, and a patchwork quilt of shakers, I believe. Once fully rigged, the contraptions were hoisted onto their shoulders and they began to play. As they made their sounds, they rocked back and forth and their eyes begged us for appreciation. At the time, we took this gentle cacophony to be their music though later deduced that it was the gift of a parody of our own. Yet how insensitive to pitch they surely are for these simple melodies to seem like ours? Why cloud the texture with such relentless rattling? And what a confusing current must their experience of time be to replace the God-given steadiness of breath and pulse with mere ebb and flow, as if rhythm were for sounding longing rather than the swing of a limb?

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