Sunday, 16 November 2008

Music as speech

Music as a form of archaic speech, with the rhythms, repetitions and pitch shifts of the intimate but wordless language we hear as infants. It's often said that Jimi Hendrix 'spoke' with him guitar, and one hears a kind of primordial voice in the strains of a violin. The construction of musical phrases carries the same arcs and patterns of spoken language, with sonorous overtones and the emotional senses of anger, danger, joy, etc. which we learn from early language.