JP: The title “Beautiful Music” is ironic because there is no actual beautiful music in the story. The music is referred to as beautiful once by the protagonist in a seemingly sarcastic way and once by someone on the radio. How does this lack of beautiful music reflect the relationships between the three men?
Jimmy J. Pack Jr.: The idea of the music in the story is that it is background noise, omnipresent in the lives of the people who live in the convalescent home. It is piped in as a way of relaxing these people who live there, but it’s more of a subtle torture, a false reminder of the past in strings and “liteness” that poorly imitates the real thing. This music is a metaphor for the memories and the past that are always present in the lives of people, particularly fathers and sons who have so many self-imposed barriers between them—the lack of communication, the inability to express real emotion, the past that many times never gets an examination as each generation ages. Like the music, the past is something constantly torturing the men in the family.