Volume 2 / Chapter 79
Kim Jong Suk killed enough time in a coffee shop so Jun Hyuk could dry his tears before he went back to the studio. In the studio, Jun Hyuk was sitting in front of an electric piano and playing a song that he had never heard before.
After listening to a few verses, he was most curious as to whether or not Jun Hyuk was recording the music. It was a beautiful song. He thought that the song would be very sad because Jun Hyuk had just been crying, but it was so beautiful it felt like ice cream melting.
It made him forget that this was a recording studio full of the smell of cigarettes. Etude Op. 10, No. 3 which Chopin composed at age 22 was so beautiful that it did not fall behind ‘Song of Farewell’.
When the 5 minute piano performance ended, it was Kim Jong Suk’s turn to cry. They were tears of pure emotion, not of sadness.
‘Damn. Did I fail?’
This is the thought he had even as he was crying. He should have been crying tears of sadness after Lee So Ra’s song, but it seems the result had been shifted. How could he be playing the piano in happiness and not sadness?
Kim Jong Suk wiped his tears and went toward Jun Hyuk,
“Wow- that’s great. What’s this song?”
“Oh, teacher. When did you get here?”
All traces of tears were gone from Jun Hyuk’s face and he looked brighter than usual.
“Just now. What is this piano?”
“I thought of it just now while listening to Lee So Ra.”
“What were you thinking about that you were able to create such a beautiful song?”
“Um… It’s difficult to say exactly but… refreshed?”
Jun Hyuk blinked for a moment as he thought and spoke easily.
“You felt refreshed?”
Had he failed in his song selection? How could it be? He had paid attention to the meaning of the lyrics and each word to choose the song. Even the singer who would be able to deliver the emotion best. He had even prepared the video because it was lacking with just the melody and lyrics alone. But he is refreshed? He had been able to tell from Jun Hyuk’s piano. The theme was surely a parting, but there was happiness in it unlike with Chopin.
He felt like he needed to see how Jun Hyuk was feeling a little more in order to take the next plan of action, whether it was choosing another song.
“Yes. It feels like something has been unblocked.”
‘I’m about to go crazy. He feels refreshed like something was unblocked?’
Jun Hyuk saw Kim Jong Suk’s uncomfortable expression and spoke,
“Why are you like that? Was the piano not good?”
“Of course not. It was great. It didn’t fall behind Chopin. Oh right, did you record this?”
“No. I didn’t do it on purpose.”
“Why? This great song? Oh right, you remember all of it?”
“I do remember it but… I’m going to forget it. So it’s refreshing.”
He is going to forget it. Did he mean that he was going to let go of everything, whatever it was that he felt while listening to Lee So Ra’s song?
“If the 3rd mission song were one of your choice, it would have been good if you could show this piano. What a waste.”
“It’s okay. Also, teacher. Is Lee So Ra’s song my mission song?”
“Huh? Yeah. That’s what I was thinking… What do you think? Should we change it?”
“No. I like it. I’ll try changing this song to the guitar.”
As soon as Jun Hyuk took his guitar and went into the practice room, Kim Jong Suk quickly grabbed a pen and tried to write the song Jun Hyuk’s just played on a score.
However, Kim Jong Suk is not Mozart or a genius. All he had left was the feeling that it was beautiful and soft like ice cream. After he wrote down a couple bars of the piano melody, he could not remember any more and threw the pen.
Kim Jong Suk was going crazy at the thought of it being wasted. How many songs had disappeared in this way? Jun Hyuk will have played the piano or guitar to express the moment’s mood. He has more than enough talent to show feelings and moods with music.
He kept thinking if there was a way to gather all of these songs that are to disappear from now on. There is no way to hide a producer’s ambition.
Jun Hyuk was frustrated. He could not figure out why the guitar arrangement for a song of just 4 minutes was taking so long.
Usually, he could hear a song once and think of the arrangement right away. All he had to do was to play that. Arranging is the easiest aspect of music for him.
Even now, he thought up something in a wink. But when he played it on the guitar, it was awkward and it fell short of his liking. It was the same when he played it on the piano.
Kim Jong Suk listened from outside the practice room. When the guitar music first came out, he thought that he had failed in his goal to make Jun Hyuk sing.
He had heard a perfect guitar instrumental. Just as he was thinking that he needed to hurry up and think of another song, he heard another version of the guitar instrumental.
There were a few versions and eventually, Jun Hyuk switched to the piano. It was the same on the piano. After a few versions of the piano instrumental, there was a bang – sound.
Two hands hitting the keyboard roughly. The expression that musicians all around the world had in common. The sound that made it easiest to tell when something was not going well.
‘Of course. How could expressing oneself be easy?’
Kim Jong Suk smiled without knowing it. Jun Hyuk had met the challenge most difficult for geniuses. He must look deeply at himself instead of avoiding it as he had done until now in order for the music he wanted to come out.
‘What a headache. There’s no time.’
The problem is time. He had dragged Jun Hyuk all the way here and thought that he might be able to get what he wanted. But the live broadcast was nearing.
Jo Hyung Joong had called a few times since the morning.[Jong Suk. Jun Hyuk needs to go into rehearsal all day tomorrow. An orchestra is coming, so he can’t miss it. Drop him off at his dorm early today and tell him to rest well.]
Jo Hyung Joong was reminding him that he was to be in charge of Jun Hyuk for the day tomorrow.
The day after tomorrow, the production team would be taking him for everyone’s 1st live stage. If the music did not come out today, the 2nd stage would end and they would only have one week to prepare for the 3rd.
During that one week, his schedule would be full of events and other items…..
Kim Jong Suk called Jun Hyuk out of the practice room.
“Why? It’s not going well?”
“A little. I don’t know why I don’t like it this time.”
Jun Hyuk who still did not know the reason, shook his head.
“Jun Hyuk. When I saw the broadcast, you said you think of the human voice as an imperfect instrument?”
“Yes. To an extent.”
“Even someone who is considered the ultimate vocalist cannot sing without an accompaniment.”
“Could there be a perfect instrument? We’re using them appropriately from time to time. Don’t you think so?”
“Yes. I think that to an extent. Are you doing this because I won’t sing?”
“Yeah. I’m really curious about that. You’re vocal tone isn’t bad. But why don’t you sing?”
“I don’t dislike it because the human voice is imperfect. It’s the same as my not being able to play the piano. There are tons of people who are good at singing, so there’s really no reason for me to do it.”
“But I’m sure there have been times when you wanted to sing with your voice too? Pianists, violinists, and even conductors have gone to the karaoke to sing.”
“Oy, of course I’ve done that before too. But when I sang, it doesn’t sound very good. I ruin the song and you can’t call what I do in karaoke, music. I’m just singing for fun.”
He could imagine it. He could imagine Jun Hyuk turning the music on loudly in an empty cafe basement and singing along to the songs he likes. Could there be a person who works in the recording studio who has not done this? Kim Jong Suk’s heart beat. That’s right. He’s a person too, so there is no way he has not sung before.
“Really? Whose song do you sing?”
“It’s different every time. I usually sing along to the blues and rock since I can’t do opera arias or jazz at all.”
“How about our pop music?”
“He he. Not really… They’re all talking about men and women…..”
It was indeed an issue of the lyrics. They were hard to sympathize with. With a foreign song, the melody prevailed because he did not know the meaning of the lyrics at all. That is why he could sing them.
“Jun Hyuk. There’s a saying. A letter cannot contain all words and words cannot contain all emotions. That’s why music exists. It exists in order to fully capture inexpressible feelings…”
“Oh! That’s really cool. Who said that?”
“I don’t know. I just heard it somewhere too. He he.”
As Jun Hyuk showed interest, Kim Jong Suk continued speaking,
“I think this is saying that music is the best. I think it means that words are the best in delivering feelings, but it becomes perfect when music is added.”
Jun Hyuk listened carefully to Kim Jong Suk so as not to miss a word.
“And there’s a limitation to music. There are traps too.”
“Yeah. Music captures emotions, but it’s difficult to capture a narrative.”
“Narrative? No, it can capture that plenty. Sonatas which are the majority of classical are narratives….”
“Exactly. The music becomes longer in order to capture the narrative, no? Tell me if there’s a short 5 minute song that contains a narrative.”
Jun Hyuk did not have an answer to the sudden question. Sonata No. 3 and No. 4 compositions. They were all long.
“The only way to capture a narrative in 5 minutes is by speech.”
“The voice is an imperfect instrument, but speech is the best tool to deliver a narrative. That’s why since long ago, narratives have been delivered by poems and stories. Singing means that you’re using this good tool, ‘speech,’ not using your voice. Vocals are a problem for later.”
Jun Hyuk had a vague feeling that singing is just another way of speaking.
“If arranging Lee So Ra’s song is difficult, don’t restrict yourself too much and broaden your horizons. Don’t think about it as singing but as ‘speech’.”
Up to here was everything Kim Jong Suk could do. Now he needed to proceed with the live stage and once the 2nd stage was over, they would meet to prepare for the 3rd round.
‘Producer Kim is going to lose his cool.’
He had talked big, but had not been able to succeed. However, there was still the slightest chance left.
Kim Jong Suk did not forget Jo Hyung Joong’s urging to send Jun Hyuk back to the dorm early. He did not forget his last message either.
“Jun Hyuk, I heard tomorrow is the combined rehearsal? Completely empty your mind. Once the 2nd round is over, you have a week’s time. Think about this again then.”
Kim Jong Suk prayed to himself that Jun Hyuk would decide to sing.