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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Wedding of Sound and Image
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0991  Tuesday, 1 May 2001

[1]     From:   Edmund Taft <
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        Date:   Monday, 30 Apr 2001 11:59:13 -0400
        Subj:   The Wedding of Sound and Image

[2]     From:   Stephanie Hughes <
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        Date:   Monday, 30 Apr 2001 10:06:44 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0976 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image

[3]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Monday, 30 Apr 2001 13:25:42 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0976 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image

[4]     From:   Vick Bennison <
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        Date:   Monday, 30 Apr 2001 13:39:10 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0976 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edmund Taft <
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Date:           Monday, 30 Apr 2001 11:59:13 -0400
Subject:        The Wedding of Sound and Image

Terence Hawkes offers the following line for analysis: "Just for a
handful of silver he left us."  What is so amazing about this specimen
is that it sounds just like a four-footed animal running!

The key, of course, is the word "silver," which, as all Americans know,
was the name of the Lone Ranger's horse.

--Ed Taft

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephanie Hughes <
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Date:           Monday, 30 Apr 2001 10:06:44 -0700
Subject: 12.0976 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0976 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image

Karen said:

>Thinking
>carefully about it, the sound of hands slapping thighs and then each
>other, even if rhythmically somewhat comparable, really DOESN'T resemble
>hoofbeats all that closely.  We have learned to think that it does
>(actually, Monty Python's coconuts came closer).

You never heard my dad!

It's true that real sounds don't usually sound like our idea of how they
sound. Witness the methods used for adding sound to film. The real sound
often doesn't sound real enough, so the sound people must create one
that does. Since poetry is about how we hear things, not how real they
are, I say "leg over leg" sounds like an animal running.

Terry Hawkes said:

>Stephanie Hughes says that the rhythm of "Leg over leg as the dog went
>to Dover," ' . . . sounds like a four-footed animal running.'  No it
>doesn't.  If it did, then the rhythm of  'Just for a handful of silver
>he left us' would also sound like a four-footed animal running.

It does. But because the text doesn't present us with the image of an
animal running, we don't make the connection.

Why do we use one rhythm and not another both in writing and music?  In
writing, some of it may have to do with the structure of words and
sentences that favor one rhythm over another, but there may also be an
attraction for a certain rhythm for reasons unconnected with language.
For instance, Latin music uses frequent changes of rhythm that sound for
all the world like the changes you hear if you live near a swamp or
other wild area where cicadas and frogs create a virtual symphony of
sounds and rhythms. There are many such areas in the places where Latin
music was first created. The music that came out of Motown during the
sixties and seventies had the pumping and unchanging drive of machines,
music made to listen to by people making cars on assembly lines?

This dactylic rhythm was not regarded as old hat until the twentieth
century, when people began using motor vehicles for transport. When
Tennyson (Kipling?) wrote Charge of the Light Brigade no one saw
anything silly about the rhythm (Cannon to right of them, cannon to left
of them, vollied and thundered), because the rhythm of horse hooves was
still a deeply embedded rhythm in the minds of the readers. Or Vachel
Lindsay's, "O, Bronco who would not be broken of dancing." Is it pure
chance that both of these are about horses or riding horses?

John said:

>Technically the dog going to Dover is melopoeia, not onomatopoeia.

Thanks for the word.

>Melopoeia is the case where the voice in a passage of poetry read aloud
>mimics not the sound, but the motion of what is being described.  The
>best example I can recall from Shakespeare is the passage from 2.1of
>*Othello* where Othello greets Desdemona after their separation.  The
>image is of a ship climbing up one side of a wave and down the other
>side into the trough.

>  If after every tempest come such calms,
>May the winds blow till they have wakened death,
>And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas
>Olympus-high, and duck again as low
>As hell's from heaven. 2.1.183-92

Yes, this is the guy at his best. Given a relatively bare stage with
only a few props, he had to put it all into the words.

Thanks all,
Stephanie

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Monday, 30 Apr 2001 13:25:42 -0400
Subject: 12.0976 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0976 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image

I think that John Velz has correctly identified the figure in question
as melopoeia, and his example from Othello is a good one.  It seems to
me that the entirety of Sonnet 129 is an even better example.

Larry

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Vick Bennison <
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Date:           Monday, 30 Apr 2001 13:39:10 EDT
Subject: 12.0976 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0976 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image

"Phanopoeia, Melopoeia, Logopoeia." -Ezra Pound

Terance Hawkes said:

>>Stephanie Hughes says that the rhythm of "Leg over leg >>as the dog went to Dover," ' . . . sounds like a >>four-footed animal running.'  No it doesn't.  If it >>did, then the rhythm of  'Just for a handful of silver >>he left us' would also sound like a four-footed animal >>running.

As indeed it does.  The two have basically the same melopoeia, but
different phanopoeia, and neither has much apparent logopoeia, if I
understand these terms, which I just learned today.

Vick

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