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Music-conlangs & music

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Friday, June 30, 2006, 18:56
In a mail the other day Sally mentioned the 16th century conlang
'Lunarian', which features in Francis Godwin's "The Man in the Moone",
and is a language based on musical staves.

In the 1950s in the UK the "Eagle" comic has stories on 'Dan Dare, pilot
of the future' and his romps around the solar system. On Mercury, they
were strange, very tall humanoids who spoke/sang a language in which
only the five canonical vowels occurred. But they used the whole major
scale from doh to top doh (thus there were 40 basic syllables - the
language also BTW was verbless  :)

Unfortunately, I didn't keep any record of the language & altho I've
searched hard on the Internet, I can find nothing more about it. A pity
really - as it did provoke an interest in the possibility of a 'music
conlang' which has been there at the back of my mind ever since.

In between Lunarian and 'Mercurian', we find Solresol, developed by Jean
François Sudre in the early 19th century. This used just the notes: doh,
re, mi, fa, so, lah, ti (do, re, mi, fa, so, la, si). Thus the language
could sung, hummed, whistled etc. This language was remarkable not only
in abandoning the vowels & consonants of natlangs, but in becoming AFAIK
the first auxlang to actually attract a following and be used. I
understand there are still some enthusiastic adherents of the language.

A similar idea to Solresol is Bruce Koestner's Eaiea (1990), but that
uses all twelves notes of the chromatic scale.

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.

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.

I don't suppose we have any Solresol user on the list?

"A mind which thinks at its own expense will always
interfere with language."         J.G. Hamann, 1760


Dirk Elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Aaron Morse <artlangs@...>