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Results of Poll by Email No. 4

From:Peter Clark <pc451@...>
Date:Saturday, March 23, 2002, 20:02
Hash: SHA1

        First, thanks to all who wrote to ask, "What happened? Where's the weekly
poll?" Yes, I missed last week, since I was recovering from a massive amount
of work the week prior, and the last thing I felt like doing was writing up
the results. By the time I felt up to it, it was already Tuesday, so I
decided just to put it off for a couple more days. Hope no one went into
withdrawls. :)
        Just to refresh your memory, the last poll asked, "Do you believe that music
and conlanging have a high degree of relationality to each other?" The
responses (27 total) were as follows:
        A. There is a high degree of correlation between music and conlanging for me
(6 responses, 22%)
        B.  I think that music and conlanging fall into the same general categories
(art, hemispheres of the brain, whatever), but otherwise do not share much of
a relationship. (12 responses, 44%)
        C. There is no relationship between conlanging and music. (4 responses, 15%)
        D. Other. (5 responses, 19%)

        Jonathan Knibb remarked when choosing (A), "One often hears the phrase
'musical language' to describe a way of communicating through music; two
composers rarely share the same language in this sense, and some works of the
greatest composers use a language unique to that particular work.  Using the
word 'language' in this way indicates that it is independent of the music's
actual message.  This strikes me as analogous to conlanging, on a suitably
conceptual level, with the major advantage that most musical languages take
rather less effort to learn (or at least have a rather more linear
effort-output curve)!"
        Likewise, Jan van Steenbergen noted: "Writing a musical composition
has a lot in common with building up a story. Both are structured in
comparable ways. The notes you choose are like the words you choose, while
the way of combining them has everything to do with grammar. In both cases
you inevitably have to find your own idiom; you can choose between using
existing material or create your own, and that's were conlanging comes in."

        For the (B) people, Tony Hogard expressed the prevailing view thus: "In that
the two are creative endeavors, they're related.  I conlang, I paint & draw,
I write music & poetry; it's all art (or at least all things I do to keep my
head from exploding), but there is little overlap in the tools and skills I
use for each."
        Christophe Gransire elaborates: "Music and conlanging are both arts, but
that's the only connection. Conlanging is much more than putting notes
together. In fact, the musical equivalent to conlanging would be to invent
your own musical scales (a thing that quite a few conlangers do BTW). Music
is more like poetry: like you need an already defined language to make poetry
in it, you need an already defined musical scale to compose music with it."

        Jesse Bangs gives his reason for choosing (C): "A lot of people on Conlang
are very interested in music, but I doubt that the proportion is much higher
than you would find on, say, a writer's list or an painter's  list.  These
things are all forms of artistic expression, and people that are interested
in one will tend to be interested in another.  The conlanger's search for
"the right word" might lend itself to some mild forms of synaesthesia, but I
doubt that this is statistically significant.

        Last, we have the (D) group, who pretty much had never given the idea much
thought at all and were uncertain, as Padraic Brown remarks: "I abstain. I've
known (and know) lots of musicians (composers and otherwise) who haven't
shown the slightest interest in constructed languages. On the other hand,
there seem to be many conlangers (like myself) who are also musically
inclined. So I'm not really sure what to say!"

        The second half of the poll asked, "What is your musical activity?" There
was no statistically significant correlation between the answers for the two
questions, alas. But, it seems as though there's a high degree of musical
ability on the list, as this breakdown shows:
        A. I compose music. (11 responses, 41%)
        B. I play a musical instrument. (7 responses, 26%)
        C. I listen to music. (9 responses, 33%)
        D. I abhor music. (0 responses, 0%)

        Thus, 67% of the respondants (2/3rds) are actively involved in music in some
manner. Enlightening...
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