It begins with a bassoon. The horns and clarinets join in, supporting it, but it begins with a bassoon, mournful and solitary. Its rhythm and rhyme are internal, irregular, not bound to any heartbeat of rhythm.
There is not much to respond to the music of the bassoon and the waving of the conductors arms. A few atoms, that is all; but respond they do. Atoms, solitary as the instrument that guides them, gather. Then, like the wind and brass, they join together, first dust clouds, then stars and planets. The orchestra swells, the rhythm builds, and the music of the spheres guides each new development.
One planet, out of all those in all the galaxies, receives the music's focused attention. The bassoon gives way to strings. There is no harmony as the planet is torn by volcanos and lava, but there is rhythm. Time exists, not as an abstract, but as an inexorable driving force of change. Melody and rhythm shape the very rocks themselves.
A discordance creates water. The rhythm recedes like the lava, making space for new melodies and new harmonies as the focus tightens. Life, a dense tonal poem, grows in the spaces of harmony and complexity. As the harmonics build, the life grows ever more complex. Without a rhythm, time has less meaning. Life stagnates.
New creatures arise—in the water, from the water, on the ground and to the air. They eat plants, they eat each other, they walk and glide and swim and fight. New rhythms arise, subside, arise again, and in response the animals become quicker. They intermingle and fight and die and live, all to a rhythm they can sense but not perceive.
The rite of life, the rite of new beginnings, is the music that directs their existence. Ineffable, inexorable, inevitable, incomprehensible as sun and moon and stars and rocks.
The beat changes, the water recedes, the plants die, the dinosaurs march onward to the rhythm of hearts and feet and time and death. The sun beats down as mercilessly as the music, but the sun has no more power than the dying creatures do to change or alter the music that controls their fate.
The rhythm collapses again, reforms, with new melodies and new harmonies—or are they merely the old harmonies restored? The waters return, crashing in again, and with it, the promise of new life from the bones of the old.
This piece ends. But the music continues. And the music moves ever on. The rhythm returns, driving movement and growth of new creatures. Mammals, this time, mammals that learn to walk upright and study the music of the spheres. Mammals who become musicians. Mammals who create the music, the rite, which has driven all things since the beginning.
Music created the musicians. And the musicians, in turn, create the music.