Friday, June 09, 2017

The distinction between rhythm and cadence

Recently a twitter follower asked me.


That's a good question.

If you look in my new favorite dictionary, Merriam Webster you find:

Rhythm: the effect created by the elements in a play, movie, or novel that relate to the temporal development of the action

Cadence:  a rhythmic sequence or flow of sounds in language the grand cadence of his poetry


The definitions aren't going to help much are they? This is one of the most interesting parts of being a word wrangler: really delving into the nuances of similar words.

I think the best way to talk about cadence is to read it or hear it.

This recent article in the WaPo has undeniable cadence: notice the short alternating paragraphs. It's almost like the call and response of the drill Sergeant calling cadence. 


 
 

or for those Bill Murray fans in the audience




Clearly cadence is rhythmic, but not all rhythm is cadence.

Here's rhythm that isn't cadence




Bob Fosse is probably the closest to a cadence style in his choreography (oh god, what a great artist he was) but it's still not the call and response and repetition of true cadence.


Here's why this is important to think about: you always need rhythm, and sometimes the rhythm you need is cadence. Rhythm and cadence are conveyed with word choices.  You can have flexible, flowy phrases and still have rhythm (think Faulkner) but cadence is going to use short sharp words. Think of the difference between marching and dancing.

Making these kinds of distinctions will help you choose just the right word which is a key element of compelling, interesting writing.  Here are some examples to start you out:

1. Pale and wan
2. Amble and saunter
3. Rage and fume
4. author and writer
5. trump and win (oh yes, I did that one on purpose)
6. hurl and toss
7. invective and insult
8. gamble and risk
9. pay and remit
10. shark and agent (ok, ok, that's just a joke)

Yes you can go overboard on this, much like you can on commas and other forms of rebellious punctuation, but I'd rather fish you out of the lagoon, than not have you dive in.

11. Chastise and upbraid
12. snarl and growl
13. nefarious and underhanded
14. the devil and the deep blue sea (ok, that's also a joke)



Now, marching off to the office:
I don't know but I've been told
Query No's are really cold
Sound off! Sound off! Three, four
Requested fulls are sent with hope
Waiting time will make you mope
Sound off! Sound off! Three, four.
Get "the call" and leap for joy
Ours is just to write and die!
Sound off! Sound off! Three, four


56 comments:

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

JANET REID WEARS COMBAT BOOTS. !!!

What a great way to start a day.

Sound off...

Timothy Lowe said...

Hey, love this post. It reeks of writing exercise.

Wait, is "reeks" the right word? :)

Happy Friday everyone!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Who knew? QOTKU wears combat boots. You'd think them fins would get in the way.

On many blog posts past, various reefers have advised that when editing, read your work out loud. That really helps check the rhythm and cadence of the work. Ok, back to packing.

Moving hard.

kathy joyce said...

So, all cadence is rhythm, but not all rhythm is cadence.

Rhythm gives words motion, depth, texture, character. Rhythm orchestrates words into meaning, and feeling, and story.

Cadence? Cadence is beat. Timing. Staccato quick. Cadence is energy. Energy in words.

Close?

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

I love this. So. Much.

Colin Smith said...

TYPO ALERT
The of the difference between marching and dancing

Theresa said...

Fabulous Friday morning post: a writing lesson illustrated with a knock-out article and a Bob Fosse number.

Now, it's showtime!

Amy Johnson said...

Janet: Thanks for this morning's master class. I'm going to sound oh-so-smart when I initiate a conversation about this with my musician son later this morning.

Elise: I'm moving too. I have an idea! Let's co-write a song about moving. And let's pull BJ in on this too, with all her "Secret Agent Cat" songwriting skills. And the refrain will be all about boxes. Boxes, boxes, boxes. And we'll call it "Colin's Song."

Back to packing. Boxes.

Kitty said...

...notice the short alternating paragraphs. It's almost like the call and response of the drill seargent calling cadence.

This is how Ken Bruen writes. Page 1 of “The Guards” is a great example.

Susan said...

I love this place.

Kitty said...

Goldie Hawn as Private Benjamin

Colin Smith said...

I'll confess, when I'm writing, I don't think about the difference between cadence and rhythm. Rather, I think about what sounds good and what doesn't. Which words create the effect I'm looking for, and which don't. What feels right; what sucks.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't be aware of the difference between cadence and rhythm. As writers it's our job to find the right words for things, so this is important. But you certainly don't need to know the difference before you write. Just as neither Mozart nor McCartney thought about music theory before they composed. They just sat with their respective instruments and coaxed tunes from the ether.

Robert Ceres said...

Let me offer a somewhat contrary description of cadence and rhythm in writing, which perhaps comes from writing a novel very focused on musicians and music. In music cadence is a melodic series that introduces, carries, or concludes a musical section.
In Beethoven’s fifth the opening is very distinctive. In fact it was revolutionary for it’s time. It is, or at least was, unique in both cadence and rhythm. The cadence is the very distinctive chord progression. If I sat at the piano and just played the chords as half notes most people would immediately recognize the symphony. The cadence here establishes the seriousness and gravity of what is to follow. I can only imagine the reaction from the first audiences to hear the piece. The cadence immediately makes us pay attention, whoa, this piece is serious. It has gravitas.
The rhythm is also distinct. Dut, dut, dut, Dahhh, dut, dut dut Dahhhh,
‘Dut, dut, dut,’ are hearts are cued, the actions are dangerous, insistent, intense.
‘Duhhh.’ The consequences important, immense.
At the end of this combination of cadence and rythm , we must pay attention. We must slide to the edge of our seats, full of anticipation. They work together, cadence at a larger longer scale.
Now switching to literary, I’ll bring in my favorite Jane Austen and P&P. In my mind the cadence to that novel is the progression in tone and feel, from light and lively, to near triumph (and an end to a potential happy novella where a happy sister is married off), to a long period of mellow, almost sad caused after Bingley leaves, to and angry climax at Rosings, followed by… The rhythm in the writing is very different and on a smaller scale. Read carefully and you can feel the ebb and flow of her conversations from the way her words and sentence structure force you to read and understand either slower or faster, just as she commands. From Austen’s rhythm you can almost hear, the giggle in her heart as Liza overhears Darcy at the ball. You can almost feel the fast pounding of her heart as she encounters Darcy in the park.
Just my two cents, certainly not an experts opinion on either music or writing, and slightly different from Janet’s. Sorry for busting my word limit.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Amy I am all in. Boxes everywhere and not a one quite right for packing a crock pot. What to do! What to do!

Robert Ceres said...

As an aside, I well remember marching all around the Naval Academy grounds singing about napalm in Vietnam ,and my own personal favorite ,“What to do with a do with a drunken sailor.” My company had some really great musicians and we loved to sing the harmony parts up and above the melody. Tourists often turned to watch and sometimes clap.

Susan said...

Robert: Just want to say that I appreciate your analogy and explanation. For me--and maybe it's because I grew up reading poetry, which has a similar structure--writing is music.

James Michener famously said, "I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions." I love that phrase, "swirl and swing." Listen to it, let the words dance on your tongue. It's the movement and the inflection, the gorgeous rise and fall. In writing, the heartbeat is the metronome and the words are the lyrics to the song that makes up our story. It's our responsibility as writers to make sure we hit the right notes.

OK. I'm getting away with my own metaphors here. But I just love this. I love music, I love words. I just love this place where we get to discuss it all.

Claire Bobrow said...

This might be my favorite post ever. We've got rhythm and cadence. We've got freaking amazing movie clips ("The Aloof" part of Sweet Charity is beyond words). And we've got Janet giving us, literally, marching orders. Omg - I'm dying here!


Do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Do
Are You Gonna Kick Some A** With Your Writing? Yes - It's True!

Joseph Snoe said...

My mind must not work well on three hours sleep. I couldn't follow this discussion at all. I'll have to try again when I'm fully awake.

Robert Ceres said...

As Janet calls her minions march and sing:

What will we do with a query response?
What will we do with a query response?
What will we do with a query response?
Early in the morning

High high hopes we’re holding
High high hopes we’re holding
High high hopes keep writing
Early in the morning

What will we do with a rejection letter?
What will we do with a rejection letter?
What will we do with a rejection letter?
Early in the morning

High high hopes we’re dumping
High high hopes we’re dumping
High high hopes keep writing
Early in the morning

What will we do with a full request, oh?
What will we do with a full request, oh?
What will we do with a full request, oh?
Early in the morning

High high hopes we’re holding
High high hopes we’re holding
High high hopes keep writing
Early in the morning

What will we do with an offer pone call?
What will we do with a offer pone call?
What will we do with a offer pone call?
Early in the morning
Way hay and up she rises
Way hay and up she rises
Way hay just keep writing
Early in the morning

And that's three posts, and way way over word limit.

BJ Muntain said...

I'm sorry. A few typos here. The ones I saw despite not having finished my coffee yet were:

This recent artcile in the WaPo

drill seargent calling cadence

You can have flexible, flowy phrases and still have rythm

Feel free to delete this post. I'll give my actual comments in another post. :)

CynthiaMc said...

In one of my former lives I was an Air Force squad leader. Part of my job was writing cadence and calling it for my squad. Our drill sergeant used to hover in range just to hear what we came up with. My goal was to make him laugh. Just before graduation I got a snicker out of him. Good times!

In my life before the Air Force I was a music performance major. To me, rhythm is musical (sharkly agent). Cadence is going somewhere.

Colin Smith said...

So... it seems some of you are flexing your song parody muscles. This is all well and good, but I feel I need to repost a timely warning from March (edited slightly based on comments):


It was a rather non-descript house on the seedier side of L.A.'s toughest neighborhood. Pale green peeling paint on rotting wood, steps that shrieked to take my weight, a door punctured with bullet holes. Inside, the curtains were drawn. On the floor, the heart-wrenching sight of people, many of them ordinary-looking, bankers, lawyers, nurses, spaced out in front of laptops. All of them aspiring writers in various stages of creative inebriation. Some were sprawled out, like the first man I encountered. He was staring at the ceiling with dilated pupils, a stupid grin on his face. I don't think he even knew I was there. His hand had a vice-like grip on a wad of paper. It seemed he had just completed a parody, a murder-mystery set at a gumbo contest. He called it "Phantom of the Okra."

Others were a little more cogent. One woman, an accountant, told me she was working on a Mary Poppins parody based on her experience moving out west. The song she was working on was about her refrigerator which had an issue with its ice dispenser. She showed me a few lines:

"My stupid California fridge expectorates in doses
"Never mind how tall my drink, or hot the weather’s closeness
"I’ve had enough, this situation stinks like halitosis
"My stupid California fridge expectorates in doses!"

Is there no help for these poor souls?


Don't say I didn't tell ya... ;)

CynthiaMc said...

If you have a copy paper box, it should fit your crock pot and coffee maker (ours did last time we moved).

BJ Muntain said...

That is the best part of any Bill Murray movie - the way he got those clueless soldiers in line with a song. And what a song! One of my favourite movies. I'm reminded that I haven't seen it for awhile. I think I even have it on DVD...

I find rhythm very important in writing. Maybe it's because my first love was poetry with rhythm and rhyme - Charge of the Light Brigade, for instance. Now tell me that poem doesn't have cadence:

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Now, any poetry with rhythm and rhyme is considered doggerel, no matter how well written. Which is why I don't read or write much poetry anymore. It's gone all literary, completely out of the realm of the ordinary person. Give me Shakespeare. Give me Tennyson. Or any of the other TRUE poets. Even E.E. Cummings had rhythm (and he used cadence to effect, too), despite not rhyming most of his work.

Buffalo Bill ’s
defunct
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
stallion
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

- from [Buffalo Bill's] by E.E. Cummings (I don't know how the formatting will show in my comment, but it's that "onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat" that shows cadence, I believe)

When a critique partner told me I needed to change the name of a much-used weapon in my series, I told him it had to have the same number of syllables with the same rhythm. He was baffled. He thought I should call it the Megatron 2000, but that was too long, too mouthy, and gave the feeling of a huge science fiction-y weapon. And the rhythm was completely wrong. I finally kept my original word, but gave it an explanation for the slight misnomer.

Rhythm is important. I sometimes use repetition, too, as part of my rhythm, to try to get the reader feeling the pace and emphasis I'm looking for.

With poetry - especially the rhyming, rhythmic poetry - it's so essential to get the right word, with the right flow, with the right emphasis on the right syllables, and I hope I've brought some of that into my fiction writing, as well.

CynthiaMc said...

There I was just a-writin' all night
(Singin' doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy do)
Stickin' my hero in a whole lotta shite
(Singin'...)
He looked good
(Echo)
He looked fine
(Echo)
Then writer's block hit and I nearly lost my mind.
Before I knew it I was writing book three
(Singin'...)
My agent and publisher and fans all love me
(Singin'...)

BJ Muntain said...

Off topic:

Amy and Elise: I'm in! I love writing poetry and songs. :)

And Colin recently moved, too. This could work!

And Elise: "What to do! What to do!" - That's actually part of a song I sang with my Christmas choir. The song was about the OTHER side of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Here it is. My True Love Gave to Me (What to do with the Presents?) on YouTube. Note: This is not my choir. We're not that well choreographed. And we have bass and tenors, too. But we do have fun. :)

kathy joyce said...

OMG, how fun! Thanks all! I know we're not supposed to point out typos in others' posts, but Robert's is just too funny. "What do we do with an offer pone call?" So perfect for Carkoon. Pone and kale. Love it!

Serious question now. I'm missing the music analogy in the conversation about using the perfect word. That seems more about selecting the right note, which is not the same as the musical time. I know it's all connected, but it's confusing to explain. More like porn, hard to describe, but you know it when you see it.

On selecting the right word: Submitted a short story, got nice feedback, but the editor pointed out a hole. She didn't understand that a character had died. The story didn't say that outright; the reader had to infer from a phrase from a Dylan Thomas poem. Except I misquoted the poem, using gently, instead of gentle. I used correct grammar, but lost the poetic reference by changing one letter. The reader's entire understanding of the story hinged on that one letter. Sigh!

Megan V said...

I ADORE today's post.

It brought back some memories of marching band. And well... it also brought back a great college memory.

There were many excellent educators at the University I attended.

This post calls to mind a conversation I had with one of the best professors I had. She actually took me aside to discuss a paper I'd written for her class. Why?

She wanted to discuss word choice.
My paper she said was good, but could be much more effective. She wanted to know:
Was I using a thesaurus? Did I use the automatic function to change the words in my paper.

I answered yes because I had been taught that word variance was important, especially in the same paragraph.

Her response? Don't. Every word has a nuance to it, a slightly different meaning that can affect what you're trying to convey.

Her challenge? When you want to replace a word, pick up the thesaurus+dictionary. Read the definition. If the definition seems the same then go find primary sources that use the new word vs the old word.
Context is everything.

So I did.

Some of the best advice I've ever gotten in writing.

Julie Weathers said...

I love this post.

When Will deployed, the various companies went down the blvd. that morning chanting their Jodies and it was quite emotional.

What a perfect way to demonstrate cadence and rhythm.

I agree that reading your work aloud is the best way to know if your work has that certain rhythm you want. Or have it read to you. I have that Amazon bought out Ivona. I'll have to find a different text to speech software. Amazon forces you to buy a whole bunch of web service crap I don't want to get it.

I read a piece of writing yesterday that was lovely. The words had an absolutely lyrical quality and it was easy to see the author is a poet as well as author. Unfortunately, it was so convoluted I had no idea what the author was saying. I tried to imagine myself reading an entire book like this or even a short story and just couldn't. It was like being in an insane asylum for poets.

I guess like everything, you have to strike a happy medium.

John Grisham said in an interview that authors should throw away their thesaurus or thesauri. I have several. I gasped. His theory is that new authors try to find unique words to plug into their work instead of perfectly servicable common words.

Sometimes I know the word I'm using isn't quite right, but it just isn't coming to me what I want. He walked slowly, no, staggered, no, shambled, yes, that's what I'm looking for. I know the word, but it's just not spitting out.

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”--Mark Twain

Colin Smith said...

Julie: The last time I struck a happy medium, she hit me back. Unlike that clairvoyant who never saw it coming... ;)

Seriously, though, Stephen King warns against trying to increase your vocabulary because it'll make your work sound like you're trying to be something you're not. He doesn't put it as harshly as that, but that's essentially what he's saying. He would tend toward the "make good use of what you've got" camp. I think there's a place for increasing one's vocabulary, but I also think you need to be careful to keep your work sounding authentic. Most importantly, make sure you use the words you use correctly--whether they're part of your common stock, or shiny new words you're taking for a spin. Even with words you think you know, it doesn't hurt to check a dictionary just to be sure.

John Davis Frain said...

Make room for me at the I Love This Post fountain.

I agree that you won't necessarily be thinking about rhythm and cadence when you're spilling out your first draft. But when you dive into specific scenes, that's a time to start thinking specifically about rhythm and cadence in your story.

I love the cadence of some noir scenes. So gritty. Tit for tat, staccato-like, dialog boxes. Two characters, head to head, in sparring sessions. One throwing an insult. The other responding with an invective. And tempers rise!

Oh, this is going to be a fun day.

BJ Muntain said...

Kathy JOYCE: The conversation isn't so much about using the perfect word, but simply about rhythm vs cadence. The reason the right word is so important to rhythm and cadence is that the right word will have the right amount of syllables with the emphasis on the right syllable.

For instance, using one of Janet's examples:

7. invective and insult

'He hurled invectives at passing strangers' has a different rhythm than 'He hurled insults at passing strangers.' And different rhythm from "He hurled rude words at passing strangers." And "He hurled rocks at passing strangers." None are incorrect usage, but whether that's the rhythm you're going for will determine which sounds better to use at that time.

The OP (whose tweet I did see and who is a lurking Reefer), asked about the difference between two similar words. Is that where you got confused? Or was it when a few of us noted how important the right word was for rhythm?

Megan V: Very good advice, indeed. I've tried to explain that to people - even other writers - and they often just say, 'well, it says they're synonyms in the thesaurus. I'm going to believe a thesaurus over you.' *sigh* That's when I know a writer isn't serious at this time. They'll need to go through a perception shift before they'll be able to write well.

I use the thesaurus (mostly because I sometimes lose my vocabulary, and I need a reminder of what word I'm looking for) but I always check the dictionary before using a word there. And I always make sure I know the word, too.

Julie: That 'not spitting out' is exactly what I mean by 'losing my vocabulary'. I KNOW the word I want. I just can't bring it to the foreground. But then, I'm not a newbie writer. And I don't think Grisham was the first writer to say that, though I can't remember who else might have said it.

If I absolutely cannot find the word I'm looking for in the thesaurus, I'll try to pull up synonyms. But I'd never use a word I didn't already understand, though I might check the dictionary to make sure I understand it the way it is.

April said...

What a great post! I loved it. The videos were helpful in illustrating your examples.

But I'll be honest, the comments on that WaPo article made me rage. (It was only news worthy because she's blond, pretty, and in a bikini? RRRRRAAAAWWWRRR!!!)

Colin Smith said...

So, I'm on a bit of a Sgt. Pepper kick on my blog at the moment. Combining that with some themes from today...

SHE'S MOVING HOME
Wednesday morning at five o'clock as the day begins
Silently cursing the dog next door
Leaving the sheets that she'd thrown on the floor
She goes downstairs to the kitchen clutching a bag of tea
Quietly searching the empty drawers
Vainly she hunts cutlery

She--(what did we do with the knives?)
Is Moving--(why did we pack all the knives?)
Home--(we struggled hard with that couch through the door)
She's moving home and she'll pay on the loan over 30 years.

No, I'm not doing the whole song. Trying to respect word limits and your patience. ;) I would link to the original, but Beatles music is heavily regulated online. The best I can offer is Paul McCartney's live version--which is pretty cool (genius idea to play a nylon strung guitar high up the neck to simulate the harp).

Sherry Howard said...

Some days have more electronic sunshine than others. Smiling at today's offering!

Brenda Buchanan said...

:)

Lennon Faris said...

Love this! Like Joseph Snoe I'm still not sure I follow the difference between the two yet but I'll try again later.

A few days ago I entered my first short story competition. As the main character's car sped up, the paragraphs became shorter and her thoughts more staccato. Not sure if it was rhythm or cadence or maybe pace but it was a lot of artistic fun to play around with that.

Rio said...

I have no rhythm. Seriously, none. If cadence is marching and rhythm is dancing, I might as well give up now.

Steve Stubbs said...

This is a very thought provoking essay. I am tied up in knots figuring out whether I ambled or sauntered to my computer today. Or whether I snarled or growled when I saw the dichotomy of "trump and win." Somehow "win" is not a word that comes to mind when I think of The Slumlord. Now that we are stuck with President Win until the Dems take over in 2018-2019 and impeach him, the expression "pop off" has come into daily use in the news. I contemplate pop off versus sound off.

Also very surprising to suddenly discover Bob Fosse died in 1987. CHICAGO did not come out until 2002, and I thought he was still alive. There is a television commercial featuring an old man in a cocked hat whom we are told is Fosse. Apparently that kind of talent never dies.

How much we all learn from your blog. And how much we appreciate it.

Mark Ellis said...

Sargeant Hulka finds his own rhythm in the scene where the recruits are sharing life stories. Murry's character engages in metaphor, comparing Hulka to the unit's big toe. As meeting breaks up, after giving the order for the next day's full-pack hike, rain or shine, Hulka tells them to get some shut-eye, "or Sargeant Hulka with the big toe is going to see how far he can stick it up your a%%?"

John Davis Frain said...

Megan, you sure have my mind straying ...

"...it also brought back a great college memory."

No need to share. Like Charles Schulz' red-haired girl, we can supply our own. (Please excuse the misplaced modifier.)

Craig F said...

I think that, when writing prose, you have to throw pacing in with any discussion of rhythm and cadence.

Pacing is what set up the rhythm in prose. In fact, rhythm is an integral and inherent function of the pacing.

Cadence is the words that actuate it all.

roadkills-r-us said...

Yup. What a great treat this was!
My SIL got banned from calling cadence. This was in part because he pushed (OK, blew past) the boundaries of what should be hollered in public (army bases do include civilians, even children), and partly for his penchant for insulting other services when someone from said service with a bit of a thin skin was there. Obviously "other services" here does not include marines, as their skin is Kevlar[tm]-reinforced dragon hide. They only say "leather" to conserve syllables; they never know if the quartermaster will provide more.

roadkills-r-us said...

Also, the sync was off in the Bill Murray clip, resulting in the words "left!" and "right!" being paired with the opposite boots hitting the ground, which just made the whole thing funnier.

Dena Pawling said...


My navy son has a very deep baritone voice that he can project without a microphone across entire continents. Since his first days in boot camp thru today, his unit has always chosen him to call cadence. He loves it. He says he patterns his style after Full Metal Jacket.

I noticed the Bill Murray clip sync problem too. My son wouldn't be able to watch it without laughing.

Joseph Snoe said...

I think I’m back in sync after a day that started bad and got progressively worse.

I think I think [sic] the same as Janet Reid on this, but what she calls ‘cadence’ I call ‘rhythm,’ and what she calls ‘rhythm’ I call ‘balance.’

Balance (Janet’s rhythm) to me is more analytical. Does the page or chapter or section fit together and complement each other without some parts getting too much space? It's partially an aural and partially a visual analysis.

Rhythm (Janet’s cadence) is how it flows. Word by word. Sentence by sentence.

I test rhythm by reading a chapter aloud. Not only aloud but with a voice that‘s a little bit of Hondo Crouch’s Texas twang, a little bit of Kathryn Tucker Windham’s Alabama drawl, and a little bit of Waylon Jenning’s Dukes of Hazard narration. If I stumble reading a line with that accent, I change the wording. But man, when it all comes together, it brings joy, joy, joy deep in my heart.

Unfortunately, I'm just a poor boy from northeast Houston and don't have the vocabulary Janet Reid has.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

KITTY,
",...I wanna wear my sandals, I wanna go out to lunch, I wanna be normal again."

Private Benjamin, one of my favorite, required watching, movies.

kdjames.com said...

This makes me think about the difference between the left and right hand while playing piano (not that I've ever played piano). Honestly not sure which is rhythm and which is cadence.

Or maybe a better analogy is tap dancing. You watch the really great dancers (Fred Astaire, Ben Vereen, Eleanor Powell) and the feet are one thing. But the rest of the body is quite another. All that disparate movement, the staccato of the feet and the flowing lyricism of the body, comes together to form a whole. You attain a whole other level of artistry when you somehow accomplish that in writing.

I'm with Colin, in that I don't think about doing this when I sit down to write. But I can tell if it's there, or not there, when I go back to edit/read.

Great thinking post, Janet.


Joseph Snoe said...

So many creative and clever comments today. I only have space to comment on a few.

The piece Colin Smith posted at 9:47 was beautifully written and made me laugh at the same time.

Susan, I also love music. (sadly I’m not a fan of poetry). Music helps understand how things fit together and work. Not just in writing. Whenever a student with musical background asked for help in my Tax or Property classes, I’d encourage them to think of the subject as symphony. The melody, the harmonies, the rhythm, the composition, etc. I also taught health Law courses. Music didn’t help there. Health Law is too much like an out of tune French Horn quartet.

Megan V. - two things - First, my high school band teacher left me a nice voice mail last week after umpteen decades since I graduated from high school. Second, I’ve gained so much weight since high school my band uniform probably would fit now.

Megan V said...

John Davis (MS) Frain Don't your mind stray too far. I hear there are sharks in these waters.

Joseph Snoe Does the—it would fit now—include the cummerbund? Or was your uniform cummerbund-free?

AJ Blythe said...

Second time reading through the post and comments - the first time I got too distracted by the links to articles and videos I kept losing the train of conversation.

There are times where I feel what I'm reading is 'effortless', it flows so easily (smooth writing is how I've always thought of it). I think now it's because of rhythm and cadence.

Enlightening and fun post. Love the Reef.

Joseph Snoe said...

Megan V - Cummerbund free. Pants (with suspenders), wool coat, marching band hat (with plume) and white shoes (which we had to furnish ourselves)

BJ Muntain said...

KDJames: I love the musicals and other performances with tap dancing. Other wonderful dancers were Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds (Singing in the Rain is one of my favourite musicals of all time. Wonderful dancing, great music, and humour! Lots of humour! What could be better?)

AJ Blythe said...

BJ, Singing in the Rain is one of my all-time favourites as well.

kdjames.com said...

BJ, yes, SO MANY wonderful dancers! I couldn't even begin to name them all, so I went with a very short list. It's remarkable (to me) how many actors were also dancers, and not just tap. So different from today's actors. Which is sort of a shame. But who knows, maybe they all can dance and it's more a matter of no one wanting to make that kind of movie any more.

Alina Sergachov said...

Thank you, Janet. Your post and the comments of Reefers helped me a lot.