Thursday, January 28, 2016

"..A Mayden" & Blake Accentuated




More detailed  technical analysis. Again (as with an earlier posting this week), it is strongly suggested that the reader follow along with the original audio (which is available here (beginnning at approximately nineteen-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately thirty-two minutes in)

Student (JC): You could maybe talk a little bit about (William) Blake and your settings?

 AG: Well, we’ve got a case here ["I Syng of A Mayden'], applying the same method here - “I sing of a maiden that is..” –"I syng of a mayden.." [Allen begins singing] – “I syng of a mayden that is makeles…(that is make-less, makeles) - "I syng of a mayden that is makeles"  (“that is makeles”) – "king of all kings for her son she chose”  (sings – “kyng of alle kynges/ for her sone che ches” - “kyng of alle kynges/ for her sone che ches  - “He came also (as) still/ where his mother was.." (sings - "He cam also stylle where his moder was”) - "He cam also stylle where his moder was" (sings -"He cam also stylle where his moder was) – simply following in tune from the suggestions of the pitch of vernacular recitation of the lines. 




By reading..  By vernacular, I mean, if you were talking the lines aloud to your best friend  as if they made sense, (instead of just stiff poetry to be intoned as if it were hi-faultin’ but bombastic and meaningless )– “He came also still to his mother’s bower" (sings - “He cam also still to his moderes bower" - "to his muderes bower" – "He cam also stylle.." (came also still to his mother’s bower") -  (sings - "cam also stylle to his moderns bower’), "as dew in april that falleth on the flower" (“as dew in aprille that fallyt on the flour”) (sings - "as dew in aprille that fallyt on the flour” – “that fallyt on the flour” – that fallith on the flower. So for “grass’, “flower’ and ‘spray”, I lifted the pitch up (”that fallyt on..). The first.. “to here sone..” – the last line of the first stanza – “to here sone che ches” - “to here son che ches” – but then,  (in) the last line of the next three stanzas, the last syllable is lifted up (“that fallyt on the gras", "that fallyt on the  flour", "that fallyt on the spray" -  (that falleth on the spray, that falleth on the flower, that falleth on the grass) – up, you lift it up. The “fallyt” goes down (“as dew in aprille that fallyt on the gras”)  - da-da dada – da – Is that clear? Going down on the "fallyt", going up on the "gras". The pitch going down on the "fallyt" (because it’s falling) , the pitch going up on the grass, and on the flower, and on the spray. Is that clear?
The first impulse I had was just to have “falleth on the grass”,  but  it was “fallyt on the gras” (not “falleth on the grass”) – but [sings - "... fallyt on the gras”]– up...



With (William) Blake, the procedure was the same – “Piping down the valleys wild” – (sings – "Piping down the valleys wild”) – "Piping down the valleys wild", so in that line it’s…the pitch (there) of “Piping down the valleys wild”, you start high and end high, right? Piping? wild? down the valleys? – both for sense and pronunciation go down in pitch ((sings – Piping down the valleys wild” or “Piping down the valleys wild”) –da da da da da da da-da – wild – you say “wild”, you say da-da, right – wi-old – one “o” – wi-old – “piping down the valleys wild”. (That’s) simply following the indications of tone that you’d speak it . What’s the next line?

Peter Orlovsky: "On a cloud I saw a child"…?

Student: Piping songs of pleasant glee...

AG: "Piping down the valleys wild/Piping songs of pleasant glee" (sings - "Piping songs of pleasant glee") "Piping songs of pleasant glee "(sings - "Piping songs of pleasant glee") Because if you say “Piping songs of pleasant.. “ (da-da-da-da da-da), -"Piping songs of pleasant.. " - "Piping songs of pleasant glee", "Piping songs of pleasant glee" (well, you might reverse it a little) - (sings - "Piping songs of pleasant glee")  - whichever way you want to go. “On a cloud I saw a child" (sings - "On a cloud I saw a child”) – You can always say “child” like that  - “On a cloud I saw a child”) – “And he, laughing, said to me" – (sings - “And he laughing said to me" – “Piping down the valleys wild… [Allen now sings/ recites the whole stanza]  - “Pipe a song about a Lamb" - "Pipe a song about a Lamb" - I can’t sing - Pipe a song about a lamb” or “Pipe a song (about) a Lamb”, or something like that , some playful little high-toned, high note. - “Pipe a song about a Lamb/. So I piped with merry chear' (sings - So I piped with merry cheer").  "Piper, pipe that song again" (sings – "Piper pipe that song again”) .”So he piped,  I wept to hear"  - (sings - So he piped,  I wept to hear" So he piped,  I wept to hear") 

Peter Orlovsky: "Piper…"

AG: Piper. "Piper, sit thee down and write.."


Peter Orlovsky: "In a book that all may read."


AG: (No). "In a book that all may read" – So - “Piper, sit thee down and write in a book that all may read”, "Piper sit thee.." (sings -"Piper sit thee down and write in a book that all may read") - "So he vanished from my sight" (sings "So he vanished from my sight" -(naturally, (right) out of sight!) – "vanished from my sight". "And I plucked a hollow reed" ("and he’d vanished from my sight/ and I plucked a hollow reed") (sings: "And I plucked a hollow reed…")

PO: "And I stain'd the water  clear..."

AG :  (What's the next one? - "And I made a rural pen" (sings – "And I made a rural pen.." "And I made a rural pen") -  "And I made a rural pen" - And I made a rural pen, and…I..stain'd the water clear? ..

PO: "Every child…"


AG: No, that's the next one.. (let me see)/"And I sat me down to write" - or something - "And I sat me down to write.." "Every child.." - Is that it, Peter


Student (turning to anthology) (page) five-four-five


AG: Pardon me?


Student: Five-four-five 

AG: (consulting anthology)  "And I made a rural pen" –wish I had this all along - "And I made a rural.." - [sings - "And I made a rural pen"]  - "And I stain'd the water clear" - [sings, "And I stain'd the water clear"] - "And I wrote my happy songs" - [sings - "And I wrote my happy songs"] - "Every child may joy to hear" - [sings - "Every child may joy to hear"] - Well, I didn't follow exactly, but close enough

So, if you’ve got it on page five four five, I’l just sing it once through, accapella – 


[Allen, along with Peter Orlovsky  reads/sings entire poem] 


The difficulty there was (not) to get into too much of a dumpty-dumpty-dumpty rhythm and miss the syncopation of  And I made a rural pen/And I stained the water clear/And I wrote my happy songs/ Every child might joy to hear".   You might get into “Every child may joy to hear", instead of  Every child may joy to hear”. You get a little syncopation into it, (without breaking the basic rhythmic progression - but you can syncopate, in and out, too - just (that) the syncopation would go according to the vernacular statement of it, the vernacular way you’d say it - ”And I made a rural pen”, you wouldn’t say” And I made a rural pen”. You would say "And I made a rural pen”, [sings – "And I made a rural pen"] – "And I stain'd the water clear" , "And I stained the clear water", "And I stain'd the water clear" - [sings, And I stain'd the water clear"]...

Peter Orlovsky; You might sing that song and.. I've sung it up in the farm [in Cherry Valley], and you've got the wind blowing and the noise of the trees, and you're working, working doing a job outside , you might sing it altogether differently…


AG: Yeah, see, I  was just trying to suggest.. whatever differences you make, I was trying to suggest here whether the direction will go up or down, if you're following the tones, and if you're translating it from the book, from the booke, into vernacular rhythm. And a good sample of  the need for vernacular rhythm (well, I have it, well, here we go..) - [Allen rifles through anthology] - We'll get onto Blake another time, we'll get onto more of this….


Well, I'll say, "The Lamb" - Dig  "The Lamb" - for vernacular. Can somebody.. Is anybody not familiar with this poem? - Okay - [to Student] Can you read it aloud? - 

[Student reads the poem out loud - "Little lamb, who made thee?"] -



AG: Thank you., that's not bad. Were you doing it vernacularly, perfectly..

Student; No, I was just…


AG: Well, that was alright. What I like is "Little lamb, god bless thee" - "Little lamb, god bless thee" - Actually, it made sense that way, because you'd say, "god bless thee", you wouldn't say " "Little lamb, god bless thee", "Litt;e lamb god bless thee. You'd say, "Litt;e Lamb, God.." you'd hesitate and say "God bless thee" - "God bless thee" . So when I set that to music it was "Little lamb, god bless thee, Little lamb, god bless thee", it wasn't "Little lamb god bless thee" (boom-boom-boom), instead was "god bless thee" (da da-da). In high school, I learned it as,  "Little lamb, I'll tell thee little lamb I'll tell thee. He is call-ed by thy name for he calls himself a lamb. He-is-meek-and-he-is-mild, he-became-a-little-child, I-a-chlld-and-thou-a-lamb We-are-call-ed-by his-name  Little lamb god bless thee  little lamb god bless thee"! - or, it confounded me for years, "Little lamb god bless thee, little lamb god bless thee (swallowing the "god") "Little lamb god bless thee, little lamb god bless thee" in order to just go on with the actual rhythm accenting "bless", so if  you turn to vernacular, as you would say it, "Little lamb god bless thee, Little lamb god bless thee", or "Little lamb, God bless thee" [sings - "Little lamb god bless thee", "Little lamb god bless thee"]. So that's a sample of making use of vernacular rhythm to interpret the poem. But where do you get the vernacular …where do you get the vernacular, or spoken, inspiration? where do you get the idea how you're supposed to put these accents? - Well, you've got to figure out, with your common sense, what the line means. And, like, what the line means - and then you put your accents where the line means it. Right? - instead of "god bless thee", instead of swallowing the "god" and emphasizing the "bless" just automatically, mechanically. 


Piping down the valleys wild 
Piping songs of pleasant glee 
On a cloud I saw a child. 
And he laughing said to me. 


Pipe a song about a Lamb; 
So I piped with merry chear, 
Piper pipe that song again— 
So I piped, he wept to hear. 


Drop thy pipe thy happy pipe 
Sing thy songs of happy chear, 
So I sung the same again 
While he wept with joy to hear 


Piper sit thee down and write 
In a book that all may read— 
So he vanish'd from my sight. 
And I pluck'd a hollow reed. 


And I made a rural pen, 
And I stain'd the water clear, 
And I wrote my happy songs 
Every child may joy to hear

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Little Lamb who made thee 
         Dost thou know who made thee 
Gave thee life & bid thee feed. 
By the stream & o'er the mead; 
Gave thee clothing of delight, 
Softest clothing wooly bright; 
Gave thee such a tender voice, 
Making all the vales rejoice! 
         Little Lamb who made thee 
         Dost thou know who made thee 


         Little Lamb I'll tell thee, 
         Little Lamb I'll tell thee!
He is called by thy name, 
For he calls himself a Lamb: 
He is meek & he is mild, 
He became a little child: 
I a child & thou a lamb, 
We are called by his name. 
         Little Lamb God bless thee. 
         Little Lamb God bless thee.

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately nineteen-and-a-half minutes in and concluding approximately thirty-two minutes in]

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