Music in Speech

Every time we open our mouths and speak,  we are in fact making music, whether we know it or not. The fascinating relationship between rhythm, melody, harmony and space in the use of language has been explored by many, yet I'd like to share this small poem I've come across by the famous poet Lucille Clifton. I tried to follow Lucille by putting notes to her words, and by doing so to mimc her "playing" or her phrasing. When Lucille recites her poem, "Homage to my hips", she uses short, robust and rhythmic phrases to describe her glorious hips and their many deeds. The words are carefully selected and placed, and the lines progress and build on one another, but Its her economic choice of words, the shape of the phrases and the dramatic climax at the last sentence that make this poem so compelling, at least from my point of view. I think this poem and many others can teach us a lot about music and about expression, and go beyond their actual content, thanks to their unique esthetics and textures. See if you can analyze a speech, a poem of even yourself talking and see if you can learn something new about yourself and music!


The original poem:

My Transcription: