Thursday, May 13, 2010

Can We Call This Bardercise? And Then Never Do It?,0,3589588.story

Interesting story about an 85yr old English professor who drops 80lbs on an exercise program that involves doing all your repetitive work (walking, biking, stretching) to the rhythm of sonnet recitation:

So off I went, huffing and puffing to the likes of "let ME not TO the MARriage OF true MINDS and TWO and THREE and FOUR adMIT imPEDiMENTS love IS not LOVE and TWO and THREE and FOUR and."

If you listen  you’ll hear the screams of Carl, JM and maybe even John Barton as this English professor of all people pitches the idea of reducing iambic pentameter down to nothing but a 2 step cadence (“the rhythmical barking of an Elizabethan drill instructor into my head”).  No trochee for you!

And then he somehow manages to turn it into the “and TWO and THREE and FOUR and…” as if it’s a normal extension of the traditional exercise beat we’re all accustomed to.  Here’s my big problem with that, you forgot the one!  The natural rhythm we’re all accustomed to would be more akin to BAHdum BAHdum BAHdum BAHdum ONE and TWO and THREE and FOUR and…

I guarantee that if someone tries to run to an iambic beat they’re going to end up straining just one knee because the mental shift necessary to put the emphasis on the second beat will cause people to subconsciously slam that foot harder into the ground.

I think the only way around this would be to just say the first unstressed syllable, and then take your first step or pedal or whatever on the second beat.  But then guess what? You’re back to the traditional STRESS and stress and stress and stress and STRESS and stress … that we’ve *always* done, and there’s really no difference then between reciting a sonnet and, oh, pretty much anything else that has meter.

Two ROADS diVERGED in a YELlow WOOD and I took the ONE less TRAVelled BY….


kj said...

Sounds like this sweaty haste would make the night joint-labourer with the day!


JM said...

LOL "No trochee for you"

Only trochee AND spondee for me.
Reminds me of my first toe dip into the diverse pool of Shakespeare acting instruction. Being a complete neophyte, and pretty much in awe of all things in the great metropolis,I could NOT, for the life of me, though I tried, figure out how to scan "Speake the speech as it was being drilled into my head. (dah-non-existent) DUM, dah DUM dah DUM DUM or... SPEAK the SPEECH i PRAY YOU, as i pronOUNCED it TO YOU, TRIP ing ly ON the TONGUE. Then I realized it was PROSE this "instructor" was attempting to place an iambic pentameter undercurrent upon--or something???. His background told me he should have known differently, but... (I opted out after a few sessions and got my money back.) You meet all kinds in the big city.