ricardienne: (Default)
words that I can't spell:

ricardienne: (heiro)
Dear Self:

"Postcede" is not a word although it should be. STOP USING IT.

(But really: we have "antecede" and "precede": Why don't we have a corresponding word meaning "come after"?)
ricardienne: (Default)
82 words

Touch Typing

So in theory, it should only take me less than 15 minutes to write this ~ 100o word essay.

Actual time: 3 hours; actual words: 483.
ricardienne: (Default)
Dear Microsoft Word,

I resent that you don't think 'cellos' is worthy of a personal relative pronoun; and anyway, haven't you heard of metonymy?
ricardienne: (Default)
this is really addictive. I've spent ~1 hour on the first three lines (particularly the third, but I got it in the end!).

Today, rearranging stupid sentences about the deeds of a good woman; in a long time tomorrow translating Shakespeare!
ricardienne: (Default)
From Elizabeth Asmis, Rhetoric and Reason in Lucretius:

…Lucretius continually anticipates doctrines which are proved later on in the sequence of arguments. While these would be viewed as logical disturbances in a purely logical tract, in the context of Lucretius' own rhetorical style of composition they are components of a whole, into which they fit perfectly logically. More precisely, Lucretius often lifts conclusions from a later context of argument in order to clarify and strengthen an earlier sequence of argument…

…Lucretius makes "anticipations" of doctrines that are yet to be proved; and this, I suggest, is a deliberate feature of Lucretius' rhetorical method of exposition, which no more implies logical carelessness than Lucretius' method of exposition as a whole.

This is how I write, actually, although I don't have the underlying rhetorical reasoning. I just find that everything starts to mush together and that I can't separate the arguments into a logical sequence. Everything depends on everything else. I need something like 17 dimensions to be happening in my writing. But it's nice to know that Lucretius does it the same way, sort of.

Speaking of which, I think I am going to write my music history paper on intellectual vs. sinful music and psalmody in the early church. Mainly because it will let me talk about Augustine's "Psalmus contra partem Donati." But it's very frustrating: not only is there NO TRANSLATION of it, there isn't even anything written about it other than a byline here and there. The most I've been able to find is Augustine's own discussion in Retractiones. Why don't more people care about ancient political protest songs early Catholic propaganda one of the earliest qualitative meter Latin poems written in quasi-vernacular Latin by one of the most brilliant theologians of all time? And in the form of a responsorial hymn about a church schism?

I, at least, have been interested in this thing ever since I discovered it, and now, at least, after two more years of Latin, I can read it pretty easily.

And truly, it is slightly crazy, particularly when one thinks of a congregation chanting it:

They tend to run circles around those who don't know Scripture:
For they hear "traitors," and don't know what happened before.
But if I should say, "prove it," they haven't got anything to say.
They say that they trust their own people, but I say they lied.
For we also trust our own, who say that you were the traitors.
You want to know who tells the truth? The ones who stay with the original [church].
You want to know who tells lies? The ones who aren't in unity [with it].
The former [law]suit is finished now. Why won't you rest in peace?

Those older than us have spoken, and they have written books about it,
Who understood the case, which they can prove anew.
There were certain traitors from the sacred law of the Book,
The bishops from Numidia, and some not-insignificant commoners.
When they came to Carthage to ordain a bishop,
They found Caecilianus ordained in his seat.
They were angry because they hadn't been able to ordain one themselves.
And there were other enemies of Caecilianus -- very unjust men,
Impious, insane, and proud, about who it is tedious to speak.
So all these joined have joined themselves to kindle a crime against him:
They say that his ordination betrayed the sacred Book.
Thus they break the nets of peace and stray now through the sea.*

Unfortunately, Augustine stuck to just writing pamphlets after this.
* Refers back to the first stanza, which is more or less a paraphrase of Matthew 13.

Sandor Veress seems to have set it, actually, and I really want to listen to it. The CD is about $15 on Amazon, but I don't know whether I should buy it. If it had his solo cello sonata on it, I definitely would.

oh dear

Oct. 12th, 2006 09:41 pm
ricardienne: (Default)
I just can't make my essay work at all. This is really bad.

I've given up. I'm going to go find exercises on the subjunctive for tutoring tomorrow.


May. 9th, 2006 05:28 pm
ricardienne: (snail)
What I have accomplished today:

1. Registration.
I am in for English Lit I, Counterpoint, Latin, and Historical Sociology of Punishment, plus orchestra, lessons, and chamber music, of course. J. said she would try to put me in a good string quartet next semester. Also, my advisor was not there, so I didn't have to explain what I'm not in contemporary ensemble again… yay! Now I just have to avoid her for the next 1.5 weeks so she can't make me sign up. I need to e-mail Professor E. about coming by tomorrow or Thursday to add History of Politics as a audit, and then I've made myself a self-proclaimed honorary member of the Chaucer class. Because I would totally take it if I didn't have another class at exactly the same time. So I'm going to get the syllabus and do the reading anyway. I AM!

A. is also taking Sociology. This will be good: someone else I know and don't hate. She's also taking Greek. I'd really like to take Greek. Maybe I'll take it junior year, when I was also planning to take Italian immersion and medieval history at the 300 level and be Moderating into Medieval Studies… or something… damn it! Too many things to learn and too little time! Or, I could talke to A. this semester and find out how utterly awesome Greek is, then study really ridiculously hard over intersession and go into 2nd semester in the spring…

2. Baking. I made chocolate chip scones and walnut scones for the FYSEM party tomorrow. I am going to bring 6 of each: the remainder were donated to the people in my dorm: namely, my roommate and her friends. Aren't I sooo saintly?

3. Homework. I have now written about half of a truly awful piece for theory. But it does modulate and even used a Neapolitan. Maybe I'll modulate again, and then stick in some augmented 6th chords, and then find a way to end it. It's not nearly as good as my piece for last semester. But the voice leading probably wouldn't make Schubert shudder and roll over in his grave.

This is the sum total of today. There's an orchestra concert tonight, and tomorrow I'm meeting with my lit professor to discuss my paper. This means I need to come up with something to discuss.

totally incoherent thoughts about Chrstine de Pizan's City of Ladies )
ricardienne: (chord)
So, D. told me that I need to completely relearn my left-hand technique. That isn't quite correct: I need to change the way I put my fingers down, which sort of amounts to the same thing. This is what she told me last fall, I think, and it didn't happen then. It needs to happen now. I have been practicing very slowly and thinking about each note, which is better, anyway.

I wonder if anyone has ever started teaching cello by teaching thumb position first. According to D. most people have to make this correction at some point. But it's only in the lower positions. In thumb position, I have fine hand angle. Is this just because I learned it later, and so learned it better? I don't think so. You have to tilt your hand that way in thumb position. You can't play otherwise. And so if you taught beginners thumb position first, when they moved down into "normal" playing range, they would already have the right shape hand. Maybe I will try this method when I have students.

I have been reading Measure for Measure again for my essay. The which isn't turning out too much longer than normal, which is a good thing. Part of me wants to see if I can easily stretch it to 10 pages, just to see if I *can* (and because 10 pages is standard for a Moderation paper, I think) but another part of me suspects that it is already too long and contains too much textual support, and is worried that I am trying to bite off more than I can chew, so to speak.

I like this play so much. I found myself really noticing Claudio this time around, although I am not, sadly, including much of him in my essay. He's quite a schizophrenic character, in a way. In that first scene, he first more or less agrees that it's right for him to be arrested, and then whines about it. (Although, this is really quite understandable, under the circumstances.) Whoever last checked out this copy (and by the handwriting, I think it was a girl) wrote very inane notes/paraphrases in the margins. This is what you buy your own copy for! And, if you're going to write in the margins of a library book, they should be witty/interesting notes, not things like "disguise?" at "I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,/ Visit both prince and people" and "do people change?" at "I do beseech you, let it be his fault,/ And not my brother." She seems to have stopped after Act II.

This is such a pointless entry. I should go to bed now.


Apr. 16th, 2006 08:19 pm
ricardienne: (augustine)
I think Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis is one of my favorite pieces of all time. I spent this weekend listening to it mostly continuously. I wish we could play it, but I know that this orchestra wouldn't be up to it, and we don't even have enough players.

Actually, I think I like Tallis's music on its own as much as or more than just about any Renaissance composer. He's at least as good as Gesualdo, for choral sorts of things. And the setting of that psalm is just… there are no words. It's in my sight-singing book, and when I don't want to practice, I get it out and play through the parts on the piano.

It's strange: music is the medium that conveys the most spirituality, to me. (Well, architecture, too, in a sense: Cathedrals always make me shiver in a good way.) As I'm not religious, I don't really know whether what I'm feeling approximates at all what it must feel like to really believe, but it's in religious music that I think I can understand the power of the texts and the beliefs. I can read the Bible; I can read Augustine; but that's really just words on a page. I can disassociate the meaning from the religious content. I can say: this is what some people believe(d), but it remains completely separate. Likewise religious paintings. They can be beautiful, and moving, but I can only comprehend the spiritual content in a third person sort of way. Not so, music.

Last fall, the choir sang Haydn's Missa in tempore belli. I hadn't listened to a full mass* in a very long time, and certainly not when I was in a position to follow along with the text. Then, I think I had a glimpse (or whatever the aural equivalent of a glimpse is) of what the words really might import to someone who did believe, and how they might effect that power. It was rather incredible. I really saw (heard?) the mystery and, well, mysticism that, when one comes down to it, is at the heart of Christianity, or at least, the historical kind of Christianity I tend to think about. There is certainly an intellectual tradition, but it's the non-rational part that is the most powerful, as I have come to see it. And perhaps music is abstract enough that it can demonstrate that even to an unbeliever.
*I've been to Catholic weddings and funerals several times, and once to an ordinary Sunday mass, but they were quite short in comparison to an (old-fashioned?) orchestra one.

Obviously, it is Easter that is provoking all of this. Actually, Easter is just sort of an excuse, as there is all of this faith sort of spilling over from everyone. I think about this quite a bit.

I keep running into people from my lit class, and it's sort of embarassing. I've had discussions about whether or not we can ignore the Monday noon deadline for papers under the office door in light of Tuesday's class being cancelled due to the professor giving a lecture at Cambridge University. The thing is: it doesn't matter for me, because I've got my paper pretty much done, have a copy printed and, barring some disaster (knock on wood) I will get it in tomorrow morning well before noon. I haven't told anyone this; I just say that my paper is "coming along." This makes me feel rather dishonest, but I don't want to seem so weird and show-offy by saying, "well, I basically finished my paper Friday, and all I'm really worrying about right now is whether or not I can get away with a slightly smart-alec Shakespeare reference in my conclusion." Why am I embarrassed by this? That's the way I work; I have to start early, and it isn't necessarily better. As several people have pointed out to me, I torture myself over papers from the moment they're assigned until the moment I hand them in, and even then, I tend to get depressed over them. But it does sound like I'm trying to set myself up as better than anyone else when I'm worrying about a paper that I've already banged out most of and someone else hasn't looked at the topics, yet. I shouldn't be ashamed of it: there's nothing wrong with taking a long time. It is more impressive to think that one can write a great essay the night before it's due, and I do admire the people who can do that, but that isn't how I work.

This is all very reminiscent of St Augustine, actually. I remember that infamous passage from his Confessions where he talks about how he lied about sinning so he would seem to fit in better with his utterly depraved classmates at Carthage. It's the same ultimately self-promoting complaint I'm making about myself: "Oh, how terrible, I'm lying to seem worse than I am!" Because, of course -- although this lack of modesty is unbecoming, it is the truth -- I do think it is a good quality I have, that I start early and have time to rewrite and revise.
ricardienne: (snail)
Or, at least, less.

The problem, however, is that, as usual, once I'm out of the mood swing, I ignore it. At my lesson today, for example. I had a very normal lesson. Actually, it was a pretty good lesson. We worked on a not-Prelude Bach. (I like the 4th suite prelude -- when other people play it.) It seems that I was supposed to be working on the whole suite, so it's a good thing that I was messing around with the other movements a bit. And we talked about skirts. What we did not talk about were things like my not-really-wanting-to-come-back-here-ness, my practicing issues, my anxiety issues as they relate to playing cello, and so on. Because I didn't want to suddenly announce, "oh, and by the way, I've been in an almost continual state of tears for the past four days, to the point where I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish the semester, but it seems to be in remission right now" while we were talking about bow speed.

The quartet gave a concert today. Beethovern Op 18. no 4 and Schubert Last String Quartet. The Beethoven I knew, but the Schubert was new to me, and incredible! I want to play it, particularly for the Andante (which = giant cello romantic melodic solo). For a quartet in G major, it sure spend a lot of time in minor keys. The second movement was basically e minor (although it had a cop out* major ending), the third I'm pretty sure was b minor (which I guess makes sort of sense as its the relative minor of the dominant), and the last flirted with minor right up until the end, too. Not that I mind. I like minor. There was also a modern quartet. I didn't like it so much. Actually, I almost fell asleep during it. I tend to do that in very modern, harmonically uncomprehensible stuff. This surprises most people: "how can you fall asleep during something so dissonent?" But really, when there's no nice melody to listen for, or an interesting harmony to follow, or just a good piece, I guess I get bored. The best in-concert nap I ever had was during a horrible electronic cello and tape recorder duet at a UA recital, once.
*there I go again…

I do have something towards my essay, now, which is good, and I'm not worrying. I think I'm going to need to cite Augustine (sadly, not on peacocks but on demons), which makes me quite happy. And it isn't a gratuitous citation, either. I need him on the Roman gods as demons in order to make one of my points. Of course, Thomas Aquinas would probably be better, as Dante is more into Scholasticism, I think, and I have an idea that Scholasticism sort of replaced Augustine on several points. However, I haven't read Aquinas, and I don't think that he would contradict on this particular point. Besides, Petrarca, who postdates Dante, is quite into Augustine, so I'm sure I'm going to be fine. (Of course, the lazy being tht I am, I haven't actually looked up the passage I need, but I can do that this week: the essay isn't due until the 17th).

I've been thinking about writing in general, recently. Or, not in general, but in particular. A little while ago, I made a thouroughly unsubstantiated generalization on [livejournal.com profile] thynk2much's journal about the high proportion of slash writers who are female. Now I'm going to make a whole bunch more such generalizations.

From my very limited vantage point, I'm going to go one step farther, and say that this is not just slash, but a lot of the "amateur" writing out there, particularly fanfiction of one kind or another, that is done by women and girls. If this is true, it wouldn't be an anomaly of the internet. In middle school, I was a hanger-on of sorts to that sub-clique of Girls Who Wrote, and carried around 3-ring binders with their novels in them. Granted, in high school, there were a few guys who did the same, and now, in college, I have absolutely no idea what the ratios are in the writing program (adjusted for the female slanting population).

But it goes back even farther than that. Girls are supposed to write. In particular, they are supposed to write not very good, Mary Sue-ish sorts of things. (Which implies that all of this kind of "amateur" writing is not very good and Mary Sue-ish, which it absolutely isn't. But a lot of what I have come into contact with tends to be.)

Anne Shirley, of Anne of Green Gables, founded the "Story Club," where she and her friends wrote purple prose about the tragic loves and lives of grand society ladies. In Anne of the Island, and older and wiser Anne finds some of her old stories and has 'good laugh' at them.
Francie Nolan, of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn writes, some good, some bad.
Jerusha Abbot, of Dear Daddy Longlegs is sent to college because of her talent for writing, and goes through the ups and downs of composition and rejection several times over the course of the novel.
Emily [of New Moon] (also an LM Montgomery heroine) fancies herself a poet.
St. Nicholas Magazine ran many short, didactic stories about girls and their attempts at novel-writing, most of which gently pointed out the failings most often run into by budding female writers.
Sarah Crewe tells stories, which is not quite the same as writing them, I suppose.
To be a little more modern, Mia Thermopolis of Princess Diaries also has plans to be a writer, although, strangely, we are never given evidence of her actually writing anything other than her journal.
Jo, of Little Women is a writer.

The obvious argument to be made is that many of these works I've cited are autobiographical; it's probably true. We also read that the Brontë sisters made up all kinds of fairy stories, complete with their own language; we have some of the "juvenalia" of Jane Austen. But we never hear about this with male authors. Charles Dickens was busy putting labels on to bottls of stove-blacking; did Tolstoy scribble stories while at school? Poetry, yes. That is to say that male poets sometimes have shown themselves young, not that Tolstoy write poety while at school. He may have; I don't know. Actually, I don't know what I'm talking about in a big way. I'll stop, now.

Oh, and I was kind of joking about the no one commenting well. Well, no, I wasn't joking, exactly, but I wasn't trying to say "you should comment on the random things I post and I'll be upset if you don't" either.


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