Sunday, December 25, 2011

Music as Poetry

"Meter is what results when the natural rhythmical movements of colloquial speech are heightened, organized, and regulated so that pattern--which means repetition--emerges from the relative phonetic haphazard of ordinary utterance." Fussell (4-5)

"Everyone knows that poetic meter, even when unskillfully managed, tends to produce a pleasant effect..." (Fussell 5).

"focuses the reader's attention and refines his awareness" (5)
"meter operates by inducing in the reader a state resembling hypnosis" (5)
"since the beat in most accentual poetry is slightly faster than the normal heart beat, the apprehension of metered language physically exhilarates the hearer or reader" (5)

IA Richards quoted in Fussell "Its effect is not due to our perceiving a pattern in something outside us, but to our becoming patterned ourselves." (5)

"First, all meter, by distinguishing rhythmic from ordinary statement, objectifies that statement and impels it toward a significant formality and even ritualism. This ritual "frame" in which meter encloses experience is like the artificial border of a painting: like a picture frame, meter reminds the apprehender unremittingly that he is not experiencing the real object of the "imitation" (in the Aristotelian sense) but is experiencing instead that object transmuted into symbolic form. Meter is thus a primary convention of artifice in poetry, like similar indispensable conventions (the palpably artificial stone flesh of statues, for example) in the other arts. The second way a meter can "mean" is by varying from itself: as we shall see, departures from metrical norms powerfully reinforce emotional effects. And third, meters can mean by association and convention. Because of its associations with certain kinds of statements and feelings, a given meter tends to maintain a portion of its meaning, whether symbolic sounds are attached to it or not." (Fussell 12)

"Since ordinary people, and least of all noncommissioned officers, do not speak metrically, to present them speaking metrically is to transform them from creatures of nature into creatures of art." (Fussell 13)

I like Ezra Pound.

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