Playing with Language
My compositions are grounded in the cultivated traditions of Western art music. However, from the Renaissance on, much of my favorite art music uses stylistic “mixtures.”
Such works vary and enrich the materials and techniques of cultivated practice by incorporating musical elements from other traditions—whether folk, popular, archaic, or exotic.
I love working with mixed vocabularies. Doing so gives me opportunities to create stimulating, playful twists of language. And playing with musical materials derived from deeply-rooted traditions creates interesting opportunities for subtle associations and striking transformations.
In Sin and Syntax Constance Hale calls “the pop, the vernacular, and the mongrel tongues” the most playful forms of language. She writes that “the highbrow and the lowbrow define the exciting edges of prose...the middlebrow dooms it to mediocrity.”
Every device there is in language is there to be used if you will. Poets have got to enjoy themselves sometimes, and the twistings and convolutions of words, the inventions and contrivances, are all part of the joy that is part of the painful, voluntary work.—Dylan Thomas