Beyond the notation, nothing is similar;
C minus and C minor mimic familial
Ties to pair in glyphs, as if umbilical,
Senses severed utterly and yet familiar.
C minus marks some arbitrary scales
In clouds of discontent where integers brood
And seek relief by quantifying a mood;
The alphabet’s an antidote to x that ails.
But music vibrates absolute without men —
Propagation assoluto, ears or no ears;
To anti-listeners the universe will send
C major mirthless, minor without tears.
Notes for Students of English
C minus — American schools traditionally used a scale of A, B, C, D, and F to grade students’ work as excellent, good, average, poor, or failing. To these letters were added the mathematical signs plus (+) and minus (-) to indicate work that was better or worse within the letter grade category.
x – The algebraic term representing an unknown quantity.
Assoluto – The musical term as in soprano assoluto.
minor without tears – Minor chords and keys, as compared with major, are often described in English literature as having a sad or pathetic effect.