Last Sunday, after a weekend that included two trips to the theater, I wrote a post about how Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater inspired me to think about capturing the opportunity for personal encounters. In the post I said I also wanted to write about a passage from Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, also seen that weekend, but couldn’t find the text.  Thanks to Jeff Pasquale for sending the text, which teaches us lessons about Brand Harmony.

At one point,  Mozart is talking about how he can create harmony in an opera in a way that can’t happen with spoken text in a play:

Sire, only opera can do this. In a play, if more than one person speaks at the same time, it’s just noise. No one can understand a word. But with music, with music you can have twenty individuals all talking at once, and it’s not noise – it’s a perfect harmony. Isn’t that marvelous? But it’s new, it’s entirely new. It’s so new, people will go mad for it. For example, I have a scene in the second act – it starts as a duet, just a man and wife quarreling. Suddenly the wife’s scheming little maid comes in unexpectedly – a very funny situation. Duet turns into trio. Then the husband’s equally screaming valet comes in. Trio turns into quartet. Then a stupid old gardener – quartet becomes quintet, and so on. On and on, sextet, septet, octet! How long do you think I can sustain that?

This passage teaches us a lesson about how customers listen to our businesses.  If we’re not careful, the different voices our customers hear will be “just noise.”  Or, if we craft it well, the different voices can blend “and it’s not noise – it’s a perfect harmony,” as Shaffer’s Mozart tells us.

As I wrote in a recent newsletter, Brand Harmony describes one of my most fundamental beliefs about branding, marketing and connecting with customers.  As customers interact with your business, they are listening for how all of the different interactions blend together, creating a story.  What would Mozart hear when listening to your story?

1 Comment

  • Judith Ellis
    Nov 09, 2008 - 02:43 am

    Wonderful post! And what sweet dissonance and resoltion Mozart creates. He, by the way, always resolves dissonances, though ever so cleaverly, in a surprising fashion. However, I understand the distinction made here and the necessity of having a singular message. Agreed.

    The question alone of what Mozart may hear maybe challenging, as his life and music, spectacularly given, create mystery and wonder endlessly no matter how many times it is heard or the many biographies read. (Amadeus, by the way, is one of my favorite movies of all time.) Perhaps there is a lesson in this too. I can’t get enough of him.

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