“Write down what you hear,” Mrs McFarlane says as the record crackles through the speakers. “I’m looking for ten Italian Terms.”
Tchaikovsky fills the room and I close my eyes, tip my head back. My breathing follows the swell of legato strings. Tranquillo.
There’s another sound to my right, a pianissimo snort, and I see Nick stretching his arms behind him as Alan presses something into his hand. Nick dips his head, his shoulders animato as he reads the scherzo. He refolds it and taps Robbie, who is non presto.
Mrs McFarlane marches towards Robbie. She opens her palm and after a beat he places the piece of paper in her hand, sospirando.
Her face is con espressivo as she reads, but it is her eyes that betray the contents as she glances towards me, lacrimoso. She scrunches the paper in her fist.
I write acciaccatura. It means crushed note.