Statement of Philosophy

A site for exploration and discussion about verse, poetics, the aesthetic, and creative writing in general.

Because there is a profound difference between writing something to be read and writing something worth reading; and in that difference might beauty be found.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

When Four Plus Three Does Not Equal Seven — An Hypothesis for Testing

an exploration of measure and musical phrasing


This thought popped into my head just not that long ago — not for the first time, by any means, but this time in a context that made me stop and think. Like anything with the aesthetic there is no fixed truth or definition being sought here, only presentation of an hypothesis meant for exploration of the event.

I'll present it in the form of question and answer:

Why (or how, if you prefer) is ballad measure (4-3-4-3) not the same as heptameter couplets (7-7)?
Ballad measure is actually a variaton of tetrameter, 4-4-4-4, only the last beat of the second and fourth lines are implied and not overtly stated.

This is wholly hypothesis, and I can already see a way that the wording above creates a problem with the idea being explored. Also, there needs be the question of the difference between a four-line stanza against a two-line stanza (which by necessity brings in the issue of enjambement). I am now wondering if I can think of examples to the contrary (which is where there exploration would get really interesting.)


(I have the want to say more in introduction but I am intentionally holding off so it can remain an open point of exploration. Perhaps I might come back and add to this in the future. Perhaps as part of a future post exploring Pound's definition of the poetic line as a musical phrase: something, to me, which is blatantly obvious once stated. But for now, I'll leave it as merely suggestion for open exploration.)

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