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How do literature and music interrelate, and how can they enliven each other? Join us for this series led by Ulkar Aghayeva, Daniel Hass, Lily Rock, Jameel Martin, and Ryan Tuozzolo.
“Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.”
– Jorge Louis Borges
“The strangeness of song arising in the halls of fiction is bound to give us a shock.”
– E. M. Forster
Words and sounds are both, at heart, a means of communication. Generally, however, we’re more inclined to view the two as separate domains of the arts: “literature” and “music.”
This series is dedicated to revealing the intersections between the two, and in the process discovering just how much they can inspire each other. We will discuss parallels between fiction and music, exploring formal elements that relate between the two media, as well as challenges in the process of writing both. We will also cover the work habits of famous artists and discuss our own experiences with writing, with a portion of the series dedicated to workshopping, where the audience is invited to share their own work and get feedback. We are also interested in how music and literature are generated and perceived, which takes us to the realm of cognitive neuroscience and information theory.
We will cover these subjects in respective salons in the series. The first free intro was such a hit, the hosts are returning for another free intro on 3/29, leading up to salons on 4/21, 5/19, 6/8, and 7/14—starting at 6 PM EST. Salons will run for two hours, but workshops may end up longer depending on the number of attendees.
Intro to Words and Sounds: Parallels in Writing Music and Literature — March 17
This first salon will emphasize the convergence points in the creative process of both musical composition and fiction/poetry writing. We will discuss parallel compositional forms in music and literature as well as works of literature influenced by music and vice versa.
Intro to Words and Sounds, Pt. 2 — March 29
We will continue discussing the convergence points in the creative process of both musical composition and fiction/poetry writing, drawing parallels between compositional forms in music and literature as well as works of literature influenced by music and vice versa. How does Paul Celan’s “Death Fugue” draw on the musical structure of a fugue? How does the poetry of García Lorca, even as he leans into quasi-surrealist abstraction, work with the folk tradition of cante jondo? Discussion topics could include the foundations of poetry in song, William Blake’s musical and literary talent, and the role of counterpoint in Hemigway’s writing. There will be lots to discuss!
From Nuts and Bolts to Novels: A Historical Exploration and Writing Workshop — April 21
We will discuss “artist habits” – a spectrum of work habits of writers gleaned from interviews and (auto)biographies, as well as practical tips for dealing with getting stuck in writing. How have these authors understood art and aesthetic experience: as a Platonic ideal to be channeled into the finite world, a garden, a God? How did this perspective translate into their work habits, if at all? In the second half of the salon, all participants are invited to share their works in progress and receive feedback from hosts and each other.
From Thought to Page: A Historical Exploration and Workshop on Composition — May 26
We will discuss “artist habits” – a spectrum of work habits of composers gleaned from interviews and (auto)biographies, as well as practical tips for dealing with getting stuck in composition. All participants are invited to share their works in progress and receive feedback from hosts and each other.
Cognitive neuroscience of music perception: A Discussion panel with Dr. Ani Patel — June 8
Ani Patel is a neuroscientist at Tufts University whose work focuses on music cognition, music-language relations, rhythmic processing, and cross-species studies of music cognition. We will host a discussion and Q&A with Dr. Patel, drawing on what we’ve learned and shared in the past three salons and deepening our understanding of the topic through neuroscience research.
Cognitive neuroscience of speech generation and perception — July 14
To be confirmed.