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Subject: Relationship between language and music/poetry
Question: I am interested in the relationship between language and music and language and poetry. In The Music of Africa, Joseph Nketia says that African societies are so conscious of the relationship between music and language that they extend its use to instrumental forms. Meaningful language texts or nonsense syllables are used as verbal ''scores'' of musical rhythms or as mnemonics for teaching and memorizing drum rhythms. There are instrumental pieces based on some kind of textual framework, as well as others that originate as songs, The linguistic factors that operate in vocal music therefore apply to some extent to text bound instrumental music as well. One can assume that irregular stress placement and additive rhythms exploited in instrumental music are developed from the treatment of speech rhythms in vocal music. As well as discussing the relationship between African music and African tonal languages, Nketia also quotes the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly as saying that because Hungarian differs in stress and natural intonation from many European languages, it follows that music composed to Hungarian words, provided it conforms to the natural pitch of the language, almost defies transposition into European languages. As natural as iambic verse is to English and to some extent even German, French and Italian, so diametrically opposed is it to the character of the Hungarian language. Apart from the specific examples quoted above, has much other work been done in this area. Is there any academic department specialising in it and can anyone suggest any more general studies, please?
From: Richard Durka
Date: 25-Oct-2012
Replies:
  1. Re: Relationship between language and music/poetry    Mike Hammond     (29-Oct-2012)
  2. Re: Relationship between language and music/poetry    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (29-Oct-2012)

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