Slip 1

6 August 2012 in Heather

The first time it happens, I am playing Bartok in the sanctuary of the Presbyterian Church on Main Street.

The finale of Bartok’s Sonatina is a reeling gypsy dance, and I play it fast and straight, with zip. I slip on four little measures right before the B section, repeating a phrase where there is no repeat written. Like slick cassette tape, my mind folds backwards to the precise spot where a musical loop would be imperceptible. I continue on to the end of the piece without reacting to what is the best of all possible errors. I smile, bow, and return to the pew where my family sits applauding.

“Mistake!” my little brother hisses. “Mistake!” I pinch his arm because even though he is a brat, he won’t yell in church. No one else suspects a thing. Bartok sounds modern and angular; it’s spirited but hard to hum along with. The mistake of four little measures is a secret between me and my brother. No harm done.