Re: Iva Bitova & Kurt Schwitters
|From:||Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, December 21, 2002, 21:20|
--- Sally Caves skrzypszy:
> This is fascinating. I notice he puts question marks after some of his
> incomprehensible phrases. Music can question, though, and express nuances
> of emotion. No... just now listened to the performance. He declaims it
> like poetry; calls it "Sound Poetry." Weird.
> > But I don't think you can call this a "language". I am not a professional
> > linguist, but my simple logic tells me that a language can only be
> considered a
> > language, when:
> > - it has grammar
> > - the words have meanings.
> > Well, the "Ursonate" doesn't meet any of these two criteria. Nevertheless,
> > is interesting enough.
> I agree completely. And I think the same can be definitely said of Bobby
> McFerrin's musical "glossolalia." [...]
Well, I have never heard any of the examples you mention, unfortunately. But it
is definitely true that music and language can change each other. Singing a
dark "u" is something completely different than singing a bright "a", and
singing a vowel in a low register is something completely different from
singing it in a high register. Instead of just writing notes to a text, a
composer can use the effect of certain sounds in combination with other sounds
in different registers, either by manipulating the text making sound prevail
meaning (as some dadaist poets used to do), or, one step further, by cutting
the text off the language altogether - and the result is glossolalia. I doubt
whether this is particularly connected with Christianity; my impression is,
that it is rather the result of vocalism itself. Furthermore, artistic
developments in the 20th century allow artists to use such phenomena.
> Maybe it's because I did this kind of thing as a child--singing in my
> "heaven cat language" before I turned it into "Tayonean."
The beginning of Teonaht, I presume? Or is it rather an early predecessor?
> The Cocteau Sisters make songs out of a string of English words that are
> pretty much nonsensical. _Heaven or Las Vegas_ is one of my favorite of
> their CDs.
Hmm, I have to try once.
A related phenomenon I have heard a few times, is the art of imitating a
language without actually using it. For example, not so long ago I heard a
Dutch trombonist, Nico Nijholt, deliver a whole speech in something that
sounded absolutely like Dutch, even to Dutch ears, with the only difference
that nobody could understand it. A remarkable experience!
Moreover, I have a CD on which three Dutch actors perform something that
suspiciously sounds like a Shakespearian play (the accent, the intonation, it's
all there), but the only recognizable English words were "strawberries again"!
Nevertheless, they manage to give you the feeling that you understand almost
> Bravo! conlanging seems to be the domain of especially creative and
> artistic people, it seems to me. Composers, painters, world-builders,
> map-makers--anybody interested in building structures or private worlds. I
> used to be consumed with making maps of invented cities, drawing floor-plans
> for ideal houses, making miniatures. Is there anything else known about
> Ligeti's "Kylyrian"?
That's what I would like to know, too. But alas, I am afraid nothing of it has
ever been published.
Well, he visits the Netherlands quite regularly, and as a performer of
contemporary music I might actually go to see him once and ask him. Before it
is too late!
"Originality is the art of concealing your source." - Franklin P. Jones
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