Re: Universal grammar
|From:||James Worlton <jamesworlton@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, June 7, 2003, 5:39|
JW - me; SC - Sally Caves
JW> :))) Composers like it when they get positive
SC> So do writers, artists, and conlangers. I've
> bookmarked your page, I so
> liked "Through the Edge." It was performed and
> recorded, wasn't it?
Yes, the sample is from a live performance.
SC> Do you
> have a CD of your music?
A home-grown one, containing imperfect performances
(not studio editing-to-perfection)
JW> I am a person who loves (make that LOVES)
SC> You're a composer.
LOL. Although as a teacher of composers at the
University, I cringed at the lack of structure that I
frequently saw. :)
JW> So it would be natural to believe that grammar and
> > syntax creation would be no problem for me, right?
> > Wrong.
SC> This is not surprising to me. Because you are a
> person who greatly loves
> structure, your structure has to suit you, first of
> all, before you can
> commit to it. But you're in a bind. Because you
> can't commit to its
> structure, as you write below, you can't commit to
> working further on
Amazingly perceptive and accurate. I feel the same way
while composing sometimes.
SC> Maybe you should commit to getting a rudimentary
> lexicon, first of all--what
> And Rosta calls phonaesthesia--before you work on
> the structure. It's like
> you have to have notes and sounds first of all
> before you know you want to
> do with them.
Interesting idea. I'll have to try it.
> would skip the Mornau and
> look at the Thomas Payne, as Dirk and Amanda
> suggest. And just plunge in.
Just ordered a copy!
SC> Draw on that sense for [MELODY] and rhythm that
> makes your music so
> beautiful. You remember when you first started
> composing, don't you? If
> you worried as much about getting your structure
> right, back then, you would
> never have touched finger to key. Right? :)
Probably not. Of course, my music was at least as
structureless as the aforementioned student works up
until just a few years ago. I still struggle with it,
for the reasons mentioned above -- perfectionism and
hesitancy to commit.
SC> You would need to showcase Oreelynna for us more,
> that we could see what
> it is you think is inconsistent in its grammar. I
> would need to see what
> you mean by "consistency." I imagine that it is
> something other than
> "irregularity." Natural languages have grammatical
> irregularities galore.
> Don't they also have grammatical inconsistencies? I
> was somewhat concerned
> about the hodge-podge quality of Teonaht, but
> because Teonaht was such a
> part of me well before I knew anything about
> linguistics, I could "rewrite"
> some of it as it grew, and I was already committed
> to its words and its
> private "history." Also, I value some of its
> grammatical "inconsistencies"
> and attribute them to archaisms that have remained
I'll try to get something coherent together over the
weekend. I like the idea of irregularities, but at the
same time I want it to be able to communicate without
ambiguity. This is where I lack knowledge/experience
in linguistics. (Soon to be on the road to a better
understanding after the Payne arrives.
JW> James -- looking for the easy (no...an easier) way
SC> Sorry, no easy ways out! Same for me and music.
> (Can't I just get a
> program that will let me off the hook? You mean I
> have to put it through a
> midi? Can't I just... can't I just... I HATE
> performing! Can't I just have
> my cakewalk and eat it?)
Ha Ha! (Except that I have never used Cakewalk!)
SC> Me, I'm interested in the
> philosophy and
> psychology of conlanging, so I guess my next
> question for you would be...
> since you are a composer, why *conlang* as well?
> Did the two urges
> coincide? What do you want out of conlanging that
> is akin to (or not akin
> to) [COMPOSING MUSIC]?
The creation of an ordered series of sounds that has
the potential to be expressive. I have been interested
in languages for as long as I can remember. I have
often thought that if I had not become a composer I
would have gone into linguistics (assuming that I had
still ditched my original idea of Electrical
My idea for Oreelynna is to use it for the creation of
texts to set to music. When I listen to a vocal piece,
I have mixed feelings about the division of mental
processes. On the one hand, I want to comprehend the
text and the music together to see how the composer
has enlightened the text. On the other hand, part of
me wants to just forget that the sounds from the
singer have meaning, and listen to them as purely
sounds along with whatever instrumental accompaniment
exists. So now, perhaps, I am imposing the second view
on my listeners. (Of course, normally texts in a
foreign language are provided to the audience in
translation :( . Got to figure a way around that ;)).)
BTW, do you know the poet Alice Fulton? She is now at
Cornell. I am currently working on a setting of three
of her poems for soprano and chamber ensemble, to be
premiered in the fall of 2004 hopefully.
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.
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