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Literature is like music. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Literature is like music. Oh, yeah. Music uses symbols to give us a story involving sound. Tra la la la la LA. In the beginning was the WORD. APPLE. The symbols A-P-P-L-E don’t have much to do with the fruit.

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the symbols a p p l e don t have much to do with the fruit

The symbols A-P-P-L-E don’t have much to do with the fruit.

But when you read them, you call to mind the juiciness, the smell, the color, the taste. The apple IS for you.

anyone who has ever seen one can call it to mind as well

Anyone who has ever seen one can call it to mind as well.

Words have the power to recall, distill, and evoke experience.

music too can recall distill and evoke experience

Music, too, can recall, distill, and evoke experience.

We live the world more fully with our music than without it.

so what do we do when we read music or words
So what do we do when we read, music or words?
  • Look at the symbols.
  • Sound them out.
  • Lean in to them emotionally.
  • Play it in our heads as if it’s happening right now: you have to hear it (and see it and smell it and taste it) and feel it.
this takes a lot of skill and work
This takes a lot of skill and work.
  • Practice
  • Experience
  • Wisdom
  • Knowledge of other pieces/works
  • Stamina
  • Willingness
  • Faith
the score or text is our template
The score or text is our template

We use the symbols to begin our relationship with the piece. After a time, and sometimes some struggle, we “get it” and feel we have a sense of the thing. We can hum it. We can see the cause and effect, we know the characters and recall the main events.

but some readers are amazing at not only getting it but adding something much more to it

But some readers are amazing at not only “getting it” but adding something much more to it.

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But it does mean that you are the soloists, the first and second violins, the timpanist, the conductor, everything.
but wait what about hidden meanings
But wait! What about hidden meanings?
  • The meanings are not hidden.
  • They are like the flutes or basses or cellos or French horns: they add something, whether you’re aware of them or not.
  • Maybe you could become so good a listener that you could hear it all and nothing seemed hidden to you.
think of all the elements conspiring to create a magnificent effect
Think of all the elements conspiring to create a magnificent effect.
  • The symbols, allusions, metaphors, figurative language, imagery.
  • The woodwinds, the percussion, the strings, the brass.
  • The lights, darks, shadows, positive and negative space, line, color.
our job is to learn to sense it all

Our job is to learn to sense it all.

We want to see the relationship of the parts to the whole: what’s the effect and how is it created?