After Practice Musings

I wonder if you can learn a language based on the musical style of a region or country.  I don’t necessarily mean current pop music, but more like the folk songs of a country.  In the practice book I have for my violin, there are a number of simple little tunes simply called “French Folk Song” or “Czech Folk Song.”  Each of them have a distinct time signature & rhythm to them.  I do know that you can use those aspects to tell a song from a certain region.  My teacher Steve would be able to play a folk song & be able to tell its origin, particularly if it was Anglo, Irish or Arcadian.  I just wonder how much musicality is reflected in speech & language, how the two could link up.

It’s similar to a problem I’m having with a piece I’m working on now.  I’m trying to verbally show how the shape or appearance of one’s environment affects a writer’s voice & style.  I don’t just mean the history or associations tied to the land, I mean the actual state of the surrounding land itself.  It’s something that’s preoccupied me for a while.  It started when my husband came back from cooking school in New York state with pictures of the countryside.  I took a look at the photos of steep hills & harsh winter trees & something clicked.  Suddenly, Irving, Hawthorne, the Transcedentalists, the words of all sorts of Northern writers suddenly became clearer.  Or the way the different parts of the South are echoed in Mark Richard’s language in his works.

Maybe I’ve got the wrong impression or maybe I’m trying to explain something that is best felt & not weighed down with words.  But it still nags at me.