[Smt-talk] Looking for bad text settings

Paul Setziol setziolpaul at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 22 15:00:19 PDT 2014

Dear all,

The Steven Rosenhaus post below brings up a tangential question.  In The Cage by Ives there is a marvelously intended "ac-CENT on the WRONG syl-LA-ble" symbolizing the unnatural condition of the leopard in the cage.  Off hand I can't think of another carefully wrought unnatural syllabification.

Question:  Are there other examples so clearly intended?  I'm not talking about those examples like Gilbert and Sullivan where it is in jest.

Best wishes all.

Paul Setziol
Musicianship Coordinator and Department Chair
Music Department
De Anza College
Cupertino, California

setziolpaul at deanza.edu
setziolpaul at earthlnk.net

-----Original Message-----
>From: "Steven L. Rosenhaus" <srosenhaus at earthlink.net>
>Sent: Aug 21, 2014 6:18 PM
>To: Justin London <jlondon at carleton.edu>
>Cc: "smt-talk at societymusictheory.org" <smt-talk at societymusictheory.org>
>Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] Looking for bad text settings
>Dear Justin,
>There is a well-known example in musical theater frankly admitted by none other than Stephen Sondheim: In writing lyrics for Leonard Bernstein’s music in “West Side Story” Sondheim wound up putting the ac-CENT on the WRONG syl-LA-ble in “Somewhere.” The lyrics are:
>There's a place for us, 
>Somewhere a place for us. 
>Peace and quiet and open air 
>Wait for us 
>In reading them out loud the natural tendency is emphasize the word “place” and, to a lesser extent, “us” in the first line. But the highest note of the first musical phrase winds up being on the word “a” as in “There’s *A* place for us”. It never seemed to bother most people though, probably because the word “place” is on the downbeat of the next measure.
>Steven (not “Stephen”)
>On Aug 20, 2014, at 11:06 AM, Justin London <jlondon at carleton.edu> wrote:
>> Dear collective wisdom,
>> For a unit on rhythm, meter, and text setting, I am on the looking for examples of especially awful text setting—that is, mis-matches between poetic scansion and the musical rhythm that are especially jarring or awkward.
>> While we will enjoy seeing these sent on the list, I promise also to produce a collated list—perhaps we can have a contest(!)
>> All best, and thanks in advance,
>> Justin London
>> *************************************************
>> Justin London
>> Professor of Music (and other stuff), Carleton College
>> Department of Music
>> One North College St.
>> Northfield, MN 55057 USA
>> +1 507-222-4397
>Dr. Steven L. Rosenhaus
>E-mail: srosenhaus at earthlink.net
>Tel: 718-268-8906
>URL: https://files.nyu.edu/slr3/public/
>Smt-talk mailing list
>Smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org

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