Perfect & Entire, Wanting Nothing by Carleton Bailiff III

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Perfect & Entire, Wanting Nothing by Carleton Bailiff III


Music by Carleton Bailiff III submitted as part of The Citadel Archives COVID-19 Collection on May 14, 2020.

Bailiff wrote: "In the midst of the pandemic, it was tough to stay focused on my coursework. When I am at home, I automatically relax; not this time, though. I had to force myself into a "battle rhythm" and it seemed that I completed more assignments in this portion of a semester than any of my others. With that being said, I was fortunate enough to be enrolled in an Art Appreciation course that challenged my creativity. Because of this, I developed a unique style that I believe is all my own...I draw music. Instead of writing notes and measures on a staff, I draw the line of the staff, the notes, the time signature, and all the rest. It is my way of taking music, something which brings me auditory pleasure, and turning it into aesthetically pleasing visual art. I made two such pieces and I approached these pieces like a traditional artist; I thought to myself "how will I create sheet music from nothing?" My work has some symbolism and some arguably arcane meanings as well. Still, the music that I "draw" must sound good. In the process of producing those art projects, I spent at least an hour researching the significance of certain songs and musical cadences, fiddling on the piano, and pouring over ideas and sketches before spending yet another hour creating the final product. This did not bode well for my mental health as deadlines seemed to creep up on me, but I was at peace knowing that I was tapping into a younger version of myself. That Carleton loved to create music such that he didn't wait to print sheets with musical staves but would make the musical staves from the lines on notebook paper and, assisted by a piano app on his mobile device, write music whenever he heard something he liked. I feel like he is proud of me because, in my own mind, I have made music a visual art beyond the basic pleasure of looking at old sheet music with its words written in cursive. It would seem simple to create a wallpaper printed from old sheet music, but my projects were an entirely different thing given my resources. I had to hand-draw the staff with a ruler and pencil, the treble clef, time signature, and the individual notes in an effort to replicate sheet music produced by a computer. This class didn't just help me answer Jeopardy! questions, it helped me reach new creative heights and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to tap into that version of myself once again."

Description of the music by Bailiff:

"Perfect + Entire, Wanting Nothing

Pencil, Colored Pencil, Paper Disclaimer: This is not your usual self portrait! I decided to stick to my style of drawing music. Just to be clear, I am the top note of the last chord (on the right). I am always inspired by my faith in Jesus Christ and the title comes from a verse in the New Testament. In the Epistle of James, the author implores the reader to have patience during trying times so that the develop themselves into believers who are content with their situation; hence the title of the piece: "perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:4 KJV). Furthermore, though the author of the book is likely the apostle James, I have inserted "YH" (short for the Hebrew name for God, Yah or Yahweh) into the lyricist's line. As for the music, there is plenty of symbolism. First, the chord progression symbolizes my desire for forward progress and improvement. I am content only with the things that I cannot change; otherwise, I look to improve my situation. The chord progression itself is a "perfect" cadence with a whisper of a plagal cadence (also known as the "Amen Cadence"). Second, patience is symbolized by the bottom note of the first two chords. This note is held until the end of the measure and then resolves into the root or tonic chord, giving the tune a sense of "home" and finality. Lastly, the final chord represents my life in Christ. My first name begins with "C", the top note of this chord. This note is supported by a major triad beneath it which represents the support that I have because of my life in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The symbol above the chord, a fermata (used to indicate that a note should be prolonged past its written value) represents the eternal life that I have because of my bond with and within Christ. The symbol below, a crescendo (used to indicate an intended growth of volume for a note's duration), represents my constant growth. The crisis in which we live has tried the patience of many people and the faith of many believers but I know that I can rest on this confirmation that I will come out better and stronger for it. I will learn to be content with the cards I am dealt."


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Bailiff, Carleton, “Perfect & Entire, Wanting Nothing by Carleton Bailiff III,” The Citadel Archives Digital Collections, accessed January 31, 2023,