Melopoeia


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Melopoeia

 

in ancient Greece, the creation of melos, or melody; the melodic embodiment of a poetic text. Ancient Greek music theory included a special branch that was basically a systematization of phenomena related to melopoeia. The term came into use again in Western Europe during the Renaissance, usually with reference to the teaching of composition, which was also known as musica poetica. In the 19th and 20th centuries the term “melopoeia”has been used rarely. It is considered synonymous with “melodies.”

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Stevenson's Silverado Squatters contains no sentences as long, but it does contain two moments of extended ekphrasis, two of the best passages in the book, distinguished by both phanopoeia and melopoeia. The first is the entire chapter "Sea Fogs," in which Stevenson looks down on the fluctuations and undulations of California coastal fog from his squatter's perch on Mount Saint Helena near Calistoga: "It was to flee these poisonous fogs that I had left the seaboard, and climbed so high among the mountains.
There are three kinds of melopoeia, that is, verse made to sing; to chant or intone; and to speak.
As Debora Van Durme very recently argues, critics largely consider Loy's poetry to be logopoeic, rather than melopoeic as well, as if logopoeia and melopoeia were mutually exclusive--since 1918, in fact, when Ezra Pound favoured the former in a description of Loy's poetry and Marianne Moore's.
The melody of the dripping song produces the effects of melopoeia, a term that Pound uses in "How to Read" (25).
In his 1929 essay "How to Read," Pound distinguished three "kinds of poetry," three different aspects of language upon which a poet could choose to concentrate: phanopoeia, melopoeia, and logopoeia.
[perhaps Melchior Neusidler, Teutsch Lautenbuch (Strasbourg, 1574), RISM B/I/1* [1574.sup.13]] 1 Novum opus musicum, Vitebergae [Sixt Dietrich, Novum opus musicum tres tomos (Wittenberg, 1545), RISM A/ I[double dagger] D 3018] 5 Lobwasser 4 vocum [numerous editions of Ambrosius Lobwasser's psalter issued in German lands from 1570s] 4 Psalter Lobwassers mitt vier [Ambrosius Lobwasser, Der Stimmen in leisten Deutsch Psalter de[beta] Koniglichen Leipzigk Propheten Davids (Leipzig, 1594), RISM B/VIII/1 ([dagger]) [1594.sup.07]] 1 Calvsij Melodiae Erfurt [Sethus Calvisius, Melopoeia sive melodiae (Erfurt, 1592), RISM B/VI/I ([section]), 198] 11 Introductio Musicae in [4.sup.0] [unidentifiable] 149 Lystenij Musica [Nikolaus Listenius, Musica.
Praticato ora solo in alcune zone montane dell'Appennino, laddove le comunita hanno contribuito al suo mantenimento, il maggio, il cui testo poetico puo essere composto da quartine, sestine, ottave e sonetti, viene recitato dagli attori in forma cantata (melopoeia), con l'accompagnamento musicale di un'orchestrina, e si svolge all'aperto, preferibilmente vicino ad aree boschive naturalmente predisposte ad anfiteatro e con il pubblico seduto in cerchio intorno alla scena.
Thus, the early Pound's concern for poetry as "an art of verbal music," as Smith properly defines, can be seen as originating the soft or feminine in Pound, and Pound's transition from soft to hard (11) is, in other words, "the move from the melopoeia of the early poems" to "the issuing of priestly directives in the later work"; "Pound acts as the paternal Moses-figure, a law-giver who is proprietor to a certain truth and morality which must be made available (monumentally) to the erring masses" (42).
Before moving on to Pound's key achievements in Cathay and Propertius, I suppose I'd better explain that the absence of the sanctified taxonomy of Poundian verse --symbolism, imagism, vorticism, logopoeia, melopoeia, Ideogrammic Method, phanopoeia, et hoc genus omne--here is motivated by a conviction that these counters were always at best uselessly vague and volatile, at worst obfuscatory.