Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The pentatonic notes are based solely on the vowels (DEGAB = AEIOU) as written, not as pronounced. This system would be much better in most any other Western language, as English spelling is so capricious. The letter “Y” takes on the tone of the vowel (usually E or I) that it sounds like. Silent letters may for aesthetic value (to alleviate from the otherwise “drudge” of one note per syllable) tone, but we did not include them (to keep the notation from getting too unruly for a first draft.) Theoretically, edits to the poem would require edits to the musical tones as well, but a good melody (when/if they occur) should not suffer because of a strict application of the system.

If you are not familiar with music, you can still easily play the pentatonic version for the poem by using the black keys on a piano. You will notice the black keys appear as a set of two and a set of three. D = the leftmost black key in the set of two (written vowel A), and E = the rightmost of the twosome (E vowel). G = the leftmost black key of the threesome (I vowel), A = the middle one (O vowel), and B = the rightmost (U vowel). In case you wonder, we did try to devise a system with A the note equal to A the vowel, just as E = E, but this seemed too random; the vowels O and U have a tonal connection to each other, to our ears at least, as do A to E and E to I (especially in the short forms, eh and ih). O has slight tonal connection to I, and U connects to A through the short U, uh, which, being the most common vowel sound in English, was assigned to the modal base tone. (You had to ask, didn’t you?)

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