Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Music-conlangs & music

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Monday, July 3, 2006, 12:54
Hi Yahya,

Yahya Abdal-Aziz wrote:
> Hi Ray,
> Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane. My parents > thought "Eagle" a suitable comic for a growing lad;
Quite right ;) Does that mean you were a youngster here when I was a teenager? [snip]
> I thought Dan Dare a bit gung ho at the time;
A great guy - I used to listen to "Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future" on Radio Luxembourg as well.
> .... - and I have never > been able to understand claims that "everyone's > archetypal alien is the kind of figure associated > with the Roswell incident".
Nor I - particular as it just ain't true.
> Grey skin, indeed! > Everyone knows that the aliens'skin is green! ;-)
Of course it is - otherwise there's no point to phrase "Little Green Men". Who could take a grey alien seriously, for goodness sake ;) [snip]
> Finally, there was a reference to Chad Varah, the > scriptwriter for "Marooned on Mercury", who > "... wrote a series of sheets explaining how the > language worked". The link is at Nicholas Hill's > "Dan Dare" page: > > I'd dearly like to see those sheets ...
So would I. I keep hoping that some one still has the sheets and will some time put them on the web. [snip]
> >>What I want to know is how this affects the notion of 'songs' in the >>language. Is every poem, in fact, a song - even tho the tune may not be >>very tuneful! Are there Solresol _songs_? Does anyone know. > > > This kind of scheme almost guarantees that almost > every utterance is a *bad* song! Whether we use > 12 semitones or 7 diatonic notes, a full octave is too > large a range for most human voices in the course of > a normal day's speech. Many of us don't exceed, > and some don't even attain, a half an octave in range.
Yes, but you're relating this to normal spoken language. If you have no vowels or consonants, as is the case for Solresol & Eaiea, then you have to use a wider range. Solresol, at least was actually used & did attract a following for a time in the 19th century. I don't know what method of note production was most common - possibly humming or whistling. Anyone know? I've searched hard on the Internet for audio examples of Solresol actually being used, but have so far not found any. I find this slightly surprising in the view of the claim that some were using the language until recently - indeed, it seems there may still be some enthusiasts out there who still use the language.
> Further, the pitch alterations we make in normal > speech can be quite slight, and very subtle when > compared with a full semitone. The better we know > our interlocutor, the smaller the tonal inflection > need be to convey a wealth of meaning.
But this only applies to the normal language of vowels & consonants, where variations in pitch and/or tone are generally secondary. > I'm almost
> convinced that any workable sung language would > need to be microtonal, with probably many more > than just 12 discrete pitches to the octave.
I have IIRC seen microtonal intervals suggested.
> At a > guess, I'd hazard that we could all readily distinguish > at least 30, and possibly 40, different pitches in that > range. Another thing is that we all have different > natural speaking ranges. So pinning meanings to > absolute pitches is probably a mistake; it's the > relative pitches that presently convey meaning, both > in tonal and "non-tonal" languages.
Yes, but these are tonal languages with vowels & consonants. It would nice to have some feedback from Solresol users, or from Bruce Koestner concerning his Eaiea.
> OT: Which leads me to another point entirely: I think > for effective representation of the nuances of spoken > language, I should like to see a "bi-linear" (possibly > trilinear or quadrilinear) writing system (not Sai's non- > linear fully two-dimensional w.s.), as follows: > > 0. The zeroth line would be a (clock or relative) timeline. > 1. The first line would contain point-of-articulation > (POA) data. > 2. The second line would contain manner-of articu- > lation (MOA) data. > 3. The third line would contain the pitch data (melody). > 4. The fourth line would contain stress data.
Some languages do 2 and/or 3 to some extent by means of diacritics. But if these features were more closely marked, I can see problems. Patterns of intonation vary considerable in the UK alone. For, the way they speak English in the 6 counties of northern Ireland makes ordinary statements sound like questions to us southern Britons. [snip]
> >>It must also, surely, have implications for music in those languages, >>since any sequence of notes (at least in the major scale) will >>correspond to actual words in the language, even tho the resultant words >>make give nonsense as regards meaning. > > My first thought was that such a language would > preclude the possiblilty of an independent art of > music. However, given that a speech range may > be much less than a singing range, it should still > be possible to have "utterances" as microtonal > melismas, or vocal ornaments, around various > musical resting points, eg the tonic and dominant > notes of a diatonic scale.
Yes, I do not see that such languages would preclude music.
> In such a music, unlike > ours, no music would be completely free of verbal > associations, I think.
Quite so. One interesting thing that Bruce Koestner writes about Eaiea is that it makes it possible for a singer two sing two different things at once: s/he may sing words in English, Italian or some other natlang, but singing something else entirely in Eaiea by the notes on which s/he signs the words. The same applies also to Solresol, at least if the music is in a major scale; but I've seen this claim made by Solresolists. But if it were done with Solresol, then we'd have the interesting phenomenon of a person 'saying' one thing in a natlang and something different in an auxlang at the same time :) -- Ray ================================== ================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760