How words and rhythm are hurting my brain

I thought I’d write a simple piece of music based on spoken word patterns. I’ve been using the names of fruit to lodge a particular rhythmic sequence in the heads of my Grade 1 piano students.

If only it were so easy to write the serious stuff. My head hurts from the revelations. For those of you with a Western classical education, here goes. Everyone else just hum along…

Mango is a perfect representation of a pair of quavers. The accent is right and the sounds are nice. For a full crotchet beat I’d recommend Peach. Pear is a minim, with its longer vowel sound and terminal diphthong (at least it has one in the Midlands). Pineapple is a triplet quaver figure, and pomegranate is a set of semiquavers. This is enough to begin. From this toolkit one can represent most elementary melodies as a sequence of fruits.

Then my fevered imagination realised that photocopier is a rhythm best expressed as a pair of quavers followed by a pair of semiquavers beamed to a quaver. How I wish I could write this up as music and post it on the blog, but even now it’s still in my head rather than on the page.

So, what of the original idea? I’ve lost all interest. I’m now going to spend some time listening for the natural rhythms in people’s speech. And then I’m going to copy bits and weave them into a piece of arranged sound. Or, as we purists call it, music.

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