November 29, 2005

un-semantically speaking

I recorded my dad when I saw him over the long holiday weekend. I had given him an assignment to come up with a short story about his past to tell for me while I recorded him. But here's the rub: I asked him to tell the same story, more or less, in four different languages. You see, my dad is one of these incredible people who can learn languages as easily as a cat can learn a new way to misbehave. I, myself, totally stink at learning languages (it's not from lack of trying, mind you), so I am particularly impressed with my dad's abilities. And particularly upset that he did not pass down that skill to me!
I asked him to do this for me because I want to write a song using speech purely for its melodic and rhythmic qualities and not at all for it's semantics. The only way for me to do this is if I don't understand the words because I simply cannot ignore what something means if I can understand it. I was inspired to do this by Evan Ziporyn, who recently listened to my cd and commented that he felt the voices and the music were disconnected, or at least not musically related. I don't necessarily agree entirely, but he has a point regardless, so I have created this challenge for myself to see what I can do. And I think it is really fun to have my dad on tape speaking all those languages!
So who knows when I'll be able to begin working on this song, but I am excited to see what happens. I shudder to think what the song will sound like to someone who understands French, German and Russian. They might go insane just listening...

Posted by halsey at November 29, 2005 07:42 PM