Monday, January 29, 2007

Multipurpose Vowel and the Silent Language




Anton Webern, the Second Viennese School composer, believed that his highly serialized music reflected what heaven would be like. Rather than previous tonal music which was routed around a hierarchical and unidirectional conception, his music was very symmetrical and considered relations between music material literarily backwards, forwards, and in inversion. His music is crystalline and considers the tiniest units of musical structure and timbre. Heaven, after all, would have no directions in either time or space, being boundless, infinite and eternal.

Webern received a PhD for his study of Ockeghem, a Medieval church composer. Ockeghem's music, like much church music of the day, explored many polydirectional relationships and numerical patterns and symbolism. Church musicians believed that God would be able to perceive relationships in a way that mere mortals could not, and as a result they hyperloaded complex relationships into their music. Also, I presume, that the music expressed something of the infinitude and omnivalence of God. This reminds me of the Jewish mystic attitude toward the Torah (the Old Testament): that it is a finite and concrete expression of an infinite and nonconcrete God.

What letter would best express timelessness and infinitude? I'm thinking that it'd be a silent letter. Today, I was wondering if one could construct a story of silent letters. I was thinking one could construct such a thing in a manner similar to Bernard Shaw's "ghoti" which is a representation of the word "fish" (gh as in tough, o as in women, ti as in inspiration.)

What about the word "chemughpk"? ch as in chthonic, e as in rose, m as in mnemonic, ugh as in thought, p as in pneumatic, k as in knight? Perhaps I will write an entire dictionary of silent words, a pronunciation guide to the inexpressible and unpronounceable, to the unspeakable and unspoken.

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