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Prosody & Lyrics


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The poetry thread got me thinking ... :idea:

 

Does anybody have a firm grasp of prosody?

 

I was fortunate to study under a professor/poet who considered prosody an integral aspect of being a poet (whether one used it or not in one's poetry). We didn't spend a class or two covering iambic pentameter -- which seems fairly standard in most situtations -- it was much more in-depth and long term: various meters and forms, historic & contemporary & cultural usage, creative composition with those meters and forms, and so on.

 

But it is a bit of a lost art and I rarely come across poets who know it ... well, they know of it. Since lyricists work with meter and rhyme, I wonder if any of you have taken it upon yourself to study prosody?

 

I'm not making the claim that one has to know prosody to write poetry or lyrics. Just curious if it is something you are aware of it and if it has been part of your "training" or experience as a lyricist.

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Well... I had to look it up (again... but it had been years since the last time I looked it up... thank goodness for the answers.com Firefox toolbar!)

 

And that despite taking more than a few creative writing classes in college... ;)

 

 

I'd have to say that I pretty much hand off all that stuff to my subconscious, for the most part. It handles most rhyme, word selection... really, pretty much the whole thing in terms of initial creation.

 

My conscious brain just kind of comes along and fills in the gaps and tinkers out the rough spots.

 

 

 

That said, all this poetry talk got me going... I really want to try my hand at the sonnet form. I think I've only written one sonnet in my whole life and that was probably in 8th grade, the last creative writing class I had before college [the only one offered by my mr-and-mrs-potato-head school school district at the time].

 

 

Hey, Stack...Does one have to be a regular in the HC Acoustic Guitar Forum in order to participate in the forum's online virtual open mic?

 

If so, I guess I better get busy making friends and enemies over there. I wanna get in on the action!

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That said, all this poetry talk got me going... I really want to try my hand at the sonnet form.

 

 

The sonnet is a blast. There are a couple of popular rhyme schemes out there (English and Italian), but basically 14 lines is the norm. A fun, though not too well-known sonnet form is the blues sonnet (aaa bbb ccc ddd ee).

 

I like forms that have repeating lines and I recently went on a 24-hour triolet jag. Wrote a half-dozen or so.

 

The villanelle seems to be a staple of creative writing classes.

 

I guess the repeating lines remind me of song forms -- which many poetic forms began their existence as anyway.

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Hey, Stack...
Does one have to be a regular in the HC
in order to participate in the forum's
online virtual open mic
?

 

 

 

All Harmony Central Forumites are welcome! Though it's held in the HCAG neighborhood and many HCAGers participate, you don't need to be a regular of HCAG.

 

It's held on the Second Sunday of each month. The next VOM is May 11. Please stop by, listen, contribute!

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To some extent. IIRC in HS we covered mostly form and structure (sonnet, ballad, sestina, couplets, terza rime) with some prosody, mostly in the context of form (assonance/consonance/rhyme patterns in Beowulf based on the metrical foot, iambic pentameter as the pivot between the blank verse of Shakespeare's plays and the rhymed verse of the Sonnets). In college you were pretty much supposed to already know that stuff; we mostly focused on building up higher level analyses of texts - what does it mean when Ezra Pound uses a meter commonly found only in troubadour Provencal.

 

As a practical matter, I'm basically agree with B2B - if it feels right.....

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All Harmony Central Forumites are welcome!
Though it's held in the HCAG neighborhood and many HCAGers participate, you don't need to be a regular of HCAG.


It's held on the Second Sunday of each month. The next VOM is May 11. Please stop by, listen, contribute!

 

 

Well... I've already started a charm offensive over there. Although I'm not really a hardware oriented guy... all that talk about multi-thousand dollar boutique guitars is kinda out of my league. But fitting in has never been high on any of my priority lists. (Which is why the career as an industrial spy had to be back-burnered.)

 

 

 

On the poetic forms thing... you are a lit major's lit major, aren't you? :D

 

 

 

 

Ram

 

You read Beowulf in high skool?!? Man... they didn't even want us to read Mark Twain. If it hadn't been for Mrs. Lee, who had been teaching in the district since the time of Teddy Roosevelt (give or take) we probably would have never heard of Shakespeare. Mrs. Lee did everything she could to make up for that, jamming in as many tragedies and comedies that 35 air-headed suburban whitebreaders would stay still for.

 

The well-funded school district was more about looting the coffers (6 of the 7 longtime board members were finally forced to resign and 5 were indicted -- yet the voters turned right around and elected an even bigger set of bozos -- a succession of religous crazies and at least one member seemingly subject to clinical paranoia and delusions -- he maintains the Albertson's supermarket chain is out to get him -- and when he says get him, he means a rub-out) and making sure that no football players got arrested for their frequent assaults on other students.

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Well... I've already started a charm offensive over there. Although I'm not really a hardware oriented guy... all that talk about multi-thousand dollar boutique guitars is kinda out of my league. But
fitting in
has never been high on any of my priority lists. (Which is why the career as an industrial spy had to be backburnered.)

 

Charm offensive. :lol:

 

The boutique guitar stuff pops up, but there are plenty of folks who cherish beaters and constantly recommend budget Yamahas. We love acoustics, high end to low end to no end. ;)

 

I prefer the threads about music over the threads about the bracing patterns of this or that guitar. But the techie threads almost always open my eyes to something new about the instrument.

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My folks had 11 volumes of Ogden Nash. Prosody be damned.

 

I did get heavily into iambic pentameter by performing Shakespeare in college. I studied other forms in various classes, but never really wrote anything but light verse where I, like Nash, played against the rules.

 

Has anybody seen the film "Ridicule"? Set during the reign of Louis XVI, there is a great "duel" scene where one courtier gives a verse form and rhymes to his opponent who must compose and recite ex tempore.

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In high school, we read Beowulf ... but called it Beer Wolf. :rolleyes:

 

I've reread it a couple of time since ... interesting how those classic works that they forced us to read are really kick ass. Just takes a little time to sink in, I guess.

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Yeah... I read it my first year of college -- and was chagrinned to find that the kids from the tough urban districts (like Long Beach's or Santa Ana where I'd spent my gradeschool years) had already read it and a lot of other stuff while the fat, grasping burghers who ran and still pretty much run the thoroughly low-brow Orange School District in the very prosperous bedroom community of Orange, CA, argued about why Mark Twain should remain banned and that senior who brought a copy of Cather in the Rye on campus should have his suspension from classes extended.

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My folks had 11 volumes of Ogden Nash. Prosody be damned.


I did get heavily into iambic pentameter by performing Shakespeare in college. I studied other forms in various classes, but never really wrote anything but light verse where I, like Nash, played against the rules.


Has anybody seen the film "Ridicule"? Set during the reign of Louis XVI, there is a great "duel" scene where one courtier gives a verse form and rhymes to his opponent who must compose and recite ex tempore.

 

Ogden Nash is magnificent. One of the greats imo. But, like light verse in general, you really gleen much more by knowing what's going on with the meter. Though he "breaks" the rules, he (and his contemporaries) were well-aware of what he was doing.

 

 

Ridicule is a hoot. I own the DVD. "The King is no subject!" :thu:

 

Another cool poet flick is Cyrano de Bergerac with Depardieu. Of course, the play itself is huge. It has the probably the second most famous balcony scene of all time!

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In high school, we read Beowulf ... but called it Beer Wolf.
:rolleyes:

I've reread it a couple of time since ... interesting how those classic works that they
forced
us to read are really kick ass. Just takes a little time to sink in, I guess.

 

The Seamus Heaney translation is excellent - a huge improvement over the Burton Raffel version we had in HS (although slogging through the Old English in college was an extremely rewarding experience).

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Ogden Nash is magnificent. One of the greats imo. But, like light verse in general, you really gleen much more by knowing what's going on with the meter. Though he "breaks" the rules, he (and his contemporaries) were well-aware of what he was doing.



Ridicule
is a hoot. I own the DVD. "The King is no subject!"
:thu:

Another cool poet flick is
Cyrano de Bergerac
with Depardieu. Of course, the play itself is huge. It has the probably the second most famous balcony scene of all time!

 

Here's one of my rare experiments with metric poetry -- and an offhand tip of the hat to Ogden Nash:

 

There was a young lady from Brisbane

whose plaint was that formalism is lame.

"Structure and form

for you are the norm,

but I'll be damned if I'm going to be imprisoned by the narrow bounds of your preconceptions."

 

 

I have to say that I'm deeply partial to the earlier film representation of Cyrano, with Jose Ferrer. (Oddly, I find myself on the side of the Academy on that one; Ferrer won an Oscar for the role.) I should probably see the later version again, though. I barely remember it.

 

 

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of the works of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. Even before I would deign to seek out the Beatles music (beneath my dignity as a young teen) I bought Lennon's book, because I'd read he was a fan of Lear and Carroll as well. But I never really wrote much nonsense rhyme, myself.

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I have to say that I'm deeply partial to the earlier film representation of Cyrano, with Jose Ferrer. (Oddly, I find myself on the side of the Academy on that one; Ferrer won an Oscar for the role.) I should probably see the later version again, though. I barely remember it.

 

Yes, Jose Ferrer's Cyrano is a very strong performance. IIRC I had one problem with that version ... the translation used. Wasn't "plume" or "feather" used instead of panache? That's such a key word in Cyrano!!! It's the final word he speaks!

 

I've seen bits of the silent one ... on youtube or somewhere. :confused:

 

And, imo, Steve Martin's Roxanne is a charming adaptation. And there was that Thurman/Garofalo one ... The Truth About Cats and Dogs ... it's cute and a nice study in changing the sex of the main characters (thinking about the Opposite Sex thread) while still maintaining the basic outline of the story and its themes.

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I find Roxanne to be a charmer, too -- though I was supremely skeptical renting it for a buck some years ago. It's a bit of cake-and-eat-it-too, letting us have our memories of the tragic/romantic original and hte movies -- and then giving us a sort of chance to relive an alternate, modern version where, of course, the smart, superficially ugly guy gets the girl. We get a light take on some of our favorite scenes (who hasn't winced just a little when Cyranno dispatches the unfortunate and insufficiently judicious drunk in the tavern poetry jam cum boor-skewering) and a happy ending. Everyone walks away and the good guy's the winner.

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