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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Eid Ma Clack Shaw

I am unfortunately chronically dream-impoverished; they rarely come to me, and when they do, they usually involve someone chasing me with a mallet through an endless series of hospital rooms filled with (fully clad) Thai nurses. Occasionally, of course, I get a decent, intriguing one that lingers. I really like the ones where I speak Korean in the dream and wake up with the realization that my grammar was off. But I've had another sort, to - the sort where I seem to have come to understand something, to have solved some philosophical problem or philosophical dilemma. After such dreams, I wake up with feelings of pride and relief; but then, when I try to look back and figure out exactly what puzzle it was that I unravelled, I can't find anything. What a let down!

Behold: a song for those of you who have been through this bizarre experience. Or who want to go through it vicariously.


dousnedn said...

how...how....how...how is this a song

Mike said...

I smell a conflagration!

Shall I rephrase?

Behold: a set of utterances* made by Person A while Person A$ and other Persons^ make accompanying noises#...

*(here, utterances are linguistic in nature. This need not necessarily be the case.)
$(Person A does not necessarily need to participate in the creation of non-vocal sounds.@)
^(other Persons not strictly necessary.)
#(here, using objects made expressly for the purpose of creating pleasant sounds. This need not necessarily be the case.)
@(Actually, nor does anyone else)
Ever thought about adding "square" or "party pooper" to your resume?

What do you think? Zupoven del ba?

i've got hack saw said...

I'm more rectangular, and I do not poop at parties unless absolutely necessary.

But I digress...I'm just not a fan of "songs" that have no melodic purpose or direction, and lack a coherent structure. Just write a poem, dude. No need to put some crappy music underneath.

Click click boom?

Mike said...

Interesting point. Actually, I recall having this discussion with you before about the Conor Oberst song "When the President Talks to God;" I liked it for the lyrics and couldn't have cared less about the simplistic plucking, whereas the weak music stood out to you immediately and the lyrics weren't enough to make up for it.

I generally make quality judgments about songs based primariy on the lyrics. Thus, comparing a song to a poem set to music is generally a compliment from my point of view. Your comment raised an idea in my head: just like books leave a lot more to the imagination than films, do you think poems leave a lot more than songs? I'm talking about stuff like pace, pitch, intonation, etc. I'm not sure that the "Eid Ma Clack Shaw" bit would come as such a surprise or would seem like such a good line were it printed on the page. And you certainly wouldn't know how to pronounce it. In this case, then, there may be some virtue to recording the words rather than writing them. That leaves the music part out, I suppose, except I've never heard a poem read aloud that I really enjoyed. Maybe it's best to have a little music in the background that doesn't get in the way, even if it doesn't have those qualities you mentioned. Which, for the record, I don't even understand.

The extent to which our differences rest on different ways of perceiving the song (and maybe other things too?) rather than on our obviously different levels of knowledge of the history and theory of music makes an interesting question.

Is that a P.O.D. reference at the end? Definitely verboten on this blog. You do it again and I'm turning off the word verification junk so you have to make up your own names again.

i can haz captcha? said...

I think what's funnier than my POD reference is the fact that I totally forgot it was a POD reference. But good call.

Yes, I do recall our similar conversation about Bright Eyes.

As for poems leaving more to imagination than songs, I'm not so sure. I think the best songs have music that enhances the lyrics within and thus present a world in which we can use our imagination to fill with our interpretation of the lyrics. So in that way a song could leave more to the imagination than a poem, if only in the sense that I think whatever you're imagining would be more vivid.

But on the other hand, the best poems often don't need music, for they're so powerful and evocative. So I'm not sure.

And you're right, hearing a poem read aloud without any background music is sort of strange, unless done by someone very talented.

I guess the conclusion I'm coming to is it doesn't matter if you have a poem, piece of music, or both. In good hands they can all be magical, and in bad they can all be lame.

I don't think the comparison to books-vs-film is necessarily apt, but it may be the best we have. The transformation of a poem to a song is much more direct - after all, the text likely stays verbatim. But in a book to movie, it's much more nebulous. Text gets dropped, rewritten, and even added in order to make it more "move-like." Perhaps drawing-to-painting is better? I dunno.

I had a dream about you last night. Me and Adam were visiting you in Korea, and you took us to some little church service in an attic. There were twelve pews, six on each side of the room, facing the center. I was seated on one side and you on the other. When the priest wasn't looking, I'd hold up two playing cards, their backs toward you, and you'd try to guess which one was higher.

Go figure.

Jamal said...

I halfway agree with both of you in regards to this song. Interestingly, though, I had a a melody and the faint echoes of lyrics reverberating around in my head for a couple of days (over a week after I had first listened to it) which I finally identified as this bizarre yet compelling song. That must count for something, but I have no idea what.

And Jeff, where was I in you dream?

double rainbow said...

J-mal, i'm trying to remember but i can't. i think you were there though i'm not sure. maybe you were leading the service lol :)