[I composed this for my friends who’s first language is something other-than-English. English-first-language speakers are welcomed to “sing-along”.]
Since I became a writer,
[I put my hand on a rock, looked up to the Sky and “yowled”: “I am a Writer”(1) – is there any other credentialing?]
—Since I have declared myself to be a writer – I’m having about as much fun as an old man can have.
I can’t wait to see what I’m going to find next on my computer monitor. Michelangelo said he “discovered” David, inside of a block-of-marble. I find essays hiding in my computer.
I’m not in school; no grade to fear. It is not part of employment; no fear of a pink slip. I can’t hear the snickering from my readers.
Earlier, I suggested there were six – stages of being a writer.(2)
I think I may have arrived at the dancing stage. I wake up each morning finding my next subject and considerations in my first cup of coffee.
I have discovered a phenomenon. I had read about this before I started writing; I am surprised by the words and thoughts that appear on my laptop monitor, As if by magic, new ideas and stories seem to show up without stopping by my self-talking mind! [“I didn’t know that I was going to say that”!] Now I have a greater need to discover what’s coming up on my monitor than getting to breakfast!
My Swedish buddy, bbnewsab, said he suspected I had fun in building a story, as a “carpenter building a house, selecting the best possible pieces” Upon reflection, he is correct. The [very challenging] English language, has no less than 20,000 words among which an ordinary writer may choose. Making an English sentence more interesting is like using Jazz music to make an introduced statement more impressive.
Compare a simple English statement: “Bess, you is my woman, now.” Only six words. (so the vernacular is grammatically incorrect – necessary for the character); when reading it in a monotone; in a 4/4 cadence, and without the context of the Classic American Opera “Porgy & Bess” (3), it is of little interest.
[I have given you two musical interpretations to the six-word sentence: “Bess, you is my woman now” – (a) Fletcher Henderson and (b) Miles Davis]
Now consider that we substitute notes for words: six musical notes.
Let’s introduce each note, from a 12 note musical vocabulary (4), on a single musical instrument (or voice). Then using “call and report” technique, (5) state this same “sentence” with a different quality instrument. Using your musical “thesaurus” (only 12 pitches; repeated octaves) use different “words” (notes).. The selection of pitch, cadence, tempo, rhythm and dynamics makes the composed “sentence far more attractive to your audience.
Here is the fun: variation. See how many ways you can repeat the original six-word (note) statement. Now in music’s words, (notes), you only have a vocabulary of 12 pitches- notes./per octave, but with an experienced and skillful musician and with a musical conversation between two or more participants, you can make the original six-word statement much more attractive! Now you can change, tempo, the volume, the dynamics, and the sequence, for fun.
The vocabulary of an English speaker is said to be 20, 000 words compared to only 12 notes (pitches) in music. So one can have fun choosing unusual words and playing the game of “don’t” use the same word twice.”(6)
Charles Clanton Rogers Revised December 15, 2015, Feel free to reblog or Share
Author’s prerogative: Top Ten: In the #5 slot, “FDR is Dead” has been replaced by this post.
(1) Walt Whitman. Whitman, 1900. Leaves of Grass
The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996. I CELEBRATE myself;.
(3) Porgy and Bess, George Gershwin, Porgy and Bess is an English-language opera composed in 1934 by George Gershwin, with a libretto written by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin from Heyward’s novel Porgy and later play of the same title. Porgy and Bess were first performed in New York City on September 30, 1935,
(4) Why are there only 12 pitch notes (C, C#, …, B) in the world?
I learned that pitch is determined by a frequency of the sound waves. I know that each note has specific frequency Hz. For example, C3 is 130.8Hz and C#3 is 138.6. So what the heck is between those two pitch notes? If there are so many pitches between these half-step notes, how come it feels like almost all pitches in the world can be identified as one of the 12 pitch notes? Quora
(5)n music, call and response is a technique where one musician offers a phrase and a second player answers with a direct commentary or response to the offered phrase. The musicians build on each other’s offering and work together to move the song along and create a sound that’s inventive and collective. Outside of instruments, speakers and listeners also tap into call and response when statements (calls) are accented by expressions (responses) from the listener.
Mirroring the drum’s rat tat tat that sparks the piano’s twinkle of notes, when I facilitate ISKME’s Action Collabs, I use improvisational techniques to encourage participants to listen and build on each other’s contributions as they score their way to new solutions in education.
(6) English is a rich and beautiful language, not least because England has been conquered by Vikings and Normans and has happily been open to foreign influence through its history. We know more of its wonderful rare words because English has been written for over a thousand years, and its many dialects are well described. That’s good enough for me. We shouldn’t need it to have the biggest vocabulary—which can’t be defined in any sensible way—to enjoy it. Counting words
The biggest vocabulary?
Jun 23rd 2010, 14:00 BY R.L.G. | NEW YORK, The Economist