Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lyke Wake Dirge - 2 (Metrics)

AG: Okay, let us say that (for an assignment for the class) either you do a version of "I Sing of A Maiden that’s makeles” or lie-awake dirge (Lyke Wake Dirge) – one or the other, rhythmically. They’re both interesting. 

Let’s see  [Allen, under his breath, sounds it out} Well, basically, if you want the Lyke Wake Dirge rhythmically (it) seems to boil down to four-three, four-three.  Four accents, three accents (four accents, three accents –‘This/one/night” “This/one.. one…one and two.. three and four. One-and-two, three-and-four, one and two and three – “Every night and all” – one and two, three and four, one and two and three – “fire and sleet and candle-light/ and..Christ receive thy soul” – one and two and three and four and five and six and seven – “And Christ receive thy soul”

So it’s a… four and three is the stanza – Does that make sense? Do you understand? – Four accents in the first line, three accents, the second line, four accents, the third line, three accents the fourth line. It’s really one long line – “This ae night  this ae night/ Every nighte and aloe/Fyre and slate and candle-lighte,/And Christe receive thy saule." -  Seven accents. Two lines of seven accents, something like that. That’s the famous ballad meter, by the way (or ballads of that meter).

But you know what you dig about it, at the beginning, it’s really – “This one night, this one night” – it’s like all the accents are heavy. It’s..  There’s no light accent in it. [to Students] - You know the difference between light and heavy accents? [Allen moves across to  the blackboard} -  (I’m speaking down perhaps to students too much but..)  - heavy! accent ! - - heavy accent – the “v” is less heavy than the “hea”  - “heavy accent” – when you talk, this is the way you talk – when you’re talking, - when/your/talking  (that’s not a regular line but)..where does the accent fall when you’re talking? ..when you’re talking.

So, the reason I’m going through this. Some people don’t know the difference between heavy and light accents and have never learned to count. How many here have learnt that much prosody that you know heavy and light accents? And how many have never had any training in that at all? – really? – well, it’s useful to know. I think maybe we’ll do more, do some more, go into it in some way or other in detail  with a whole range of meters, (it might be interesting, as long as we’re dealing with this kind of material). Okay, so you understand what that means then?  heavy?  The signs they use is this, for heavy, and this,  for light, or sometimes they use this and that (sic) , it depends – either that or that. {Allen is displaying the markings on the blackboard]/  The old schoolbooks use that schoolbooks use that, old schoolbooks used to use that. 

It’s just a way of marking it being heavy and light and  (working out) with poems you can make the rhythmic paradigm be anything  - (P-A-R-A-D-I-G-M) – The abstract rhythm, you can mark out and analyze it, if you want. It’s useful, but best to get it in your bones by knowing the poem so well so that - bahm-bahm-ba, bahm bahm-ba – then you can imitate it better. And you can also do it intellectually, abstractly, by making it abstract, you know, enjoying abstract form.

Student: Is that when they, you know, show you how to pronounce a vowel, in a dictionary, like short and long? is that comparable.Is that what you’re doing?

AG:  No..these are..these are dealing with accents. (returns to the board This line is similar. That line is similar (it just happens to look the same). Short and long – you have to know the different system. We were relating to short and long vowels….

[Audio for the above can be heard  here, beginning at approximately sixty-six-and-three-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately seventy-one-and-three-quarter minutes in]

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