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  1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    Must cadence always emerge, or can it be formed separately and then applied?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by waitingforzion, Mar 19, 2010.

    In the case of poetry, I find it feasible simply to choose a rhythm and conform the words to that rhythm. I have not, however, succeeded with this method in any other form of writing.

    So I need to ask this question:

    Would it be feasible to contrive a wordless cadence and then to find words conveying your ideas that match that cadence, or must flow emerge in the process of crafting words and revising them? If I do it correctly, I sometimes succeed in the latter, but can I not also use the former if I want? What if I want to achieve a certain flow or effect? Would it be impossible for me to do so with that method?

    In addition to that question, I would like to ask, is sentence euphony and cadence the same thing? Also, I have read articles that talk about flow being the product of variety. How exactly does cadence tie in with variety? Is attention to cadence even necessary for flow, or can attention to cadence without variety be successful in yielding flow?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    First: I am not a poet. Not at all.

    I have a tendency to allow my first line of verse to lead where the rhythm will go. My poetry tends to the simplistic and funny, so I don't get into any heavy imagery or stuff like that.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'cadence' is more akin to 'meter'... but i can't make much sense of your questions, sorry to say, so must ask you to be more specific and explain what you mean a bit more simply...

    for starters, what do you mean by 'wordless cadence'?... do you mean a rhythm, such as iambic pentameter suggests with its emphasis on every other syllable?

    i'm a full time poet and as you can see if you browse the 'philosetry' section on my website, i utilize many different cadences/rhythms/meters in my works... and of course i start with whichever style/form i want to use and then find/use words that fit... it's how poets do what they do...

    as for the questions about 'variety' i have no clue what you mean there...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  4. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    Mamma is probably more well read then I am, but are you looking for forms of poetic meter? If so they're sectioned in a series of grammatical terms. Iambic Pentameter we all recognize, but there's also dactylic hexameter and trochaic trimeter, to name just two of the hundreds of combinations you can study.

    About.com has a wide selection, just search for Latin Meters and you'll have a guide on writing in about every major standard there is for English language users.

    Poetry is a complex thing, you ask questions in a complex way, you'd probably do with more good studying the theory rather than it's functional use.
     
  5. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    When I speak of cadence, I mean the musical flow of words. When I speak of wordless cadence, I mean the music without the words. So when speaking of poetic cadence, you are right in thinking I mean rhythm. My question, however, was about the cadence of forms other than poetry, such as prose.

    Forgive me if I've misunderstood what cadence means. That's probably why I haven't had much success with it in google.

    So once again, my question is:

    Can a work's tone and rhythm emerge only in the process of crafting and revising the words themselves until they fit? Or is it possible to first devise that tone and rhythm, and then fit the words into it? I'm speaking specifically of non-poetic works. I already do this with successfully when writing poems, because the syllable structures are simpler and more concrete. I'm trying to figure out how to apply a poetic effect to other kinds of writing.

    Hopefully someone can help me with this.
     
  6. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Why would you want a preconfigured rhythmic structure in a novel? That's pretty much excluively a poetic device; it would severly limit your options in writing a novel. People talk of writing having a rhythmic quality, but it is a result of sentence structure and word choice, not the use of a deliberate, arbitrary rhythm like with poetry.

    And yeah, cadence is a musical term metaphorically applied to writing, which probably explains why you're not having much luck finding information on it. Stick to the regular terms like rhythm, meter, structure, and you'll find more information.
     
  7. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    But if we have a few different words to choose from that have the same meaning, based on the meter of each words, aren't there some that will flow in the sentence and others that will not flow?

    Also, I've asked the question before about succinctness and flow. Members replied by saying that sometimes "the most concise version isn't always the best." I took that to mean that sometimes the most concise version will not flow, and that it is better to choose the version that does.

    What's the best online resource I can use that covers this stuff? I want to write; sometimes I write okay. But I must admit I'm not as good as I want to be.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Musical cadence is not the same as poetic cadence. Cadence in poetry refers to the poem's rhythm, consisting of the meter and the foot in each line.

    Cadence in music is a pattern of notes or chords that close out a musical phrase, section, or piece, or that transition between phrases or sections.
     
  9. m5roberts
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    m5roberts Member

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    I think I know what you mean. When I write prose, I like it to have a rhythm too, and I don't mean something like iambic pentameter. It is true that our words have a type of natural rhythm, but that does not mean that we cannot manipulate our sentences to flow how we want them to.

    Example: I do not currently have a name for the town in which my protagonists reside, but I have the rest of the sentence already decided. What I do, in order to preserve the rhythm of the sentence, is bracket off the rhythm that I would like to eventually see fill that spot. For now, my town is called [STRESS-soft-soft].
     
  10. JZydowicz
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    JZydowicz Member

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    I think it's more useful to get the idea of a sentence written, and upon revision (perhaps multiple times) reconfigure it so it develops musicality. I've tried writing certain lines in stories beginning with a template, but I've found it difficult to smush my intention into a particular meter and then develop the idea. Better to get it out and fix it than trying to fit it in a tight box.
    Depending on the type of meter you want to use, I guess this might change. If you are writing something strict (containing arranged stressed and unstressed syllables) like iambic pentameter (or for a more difficult example, Dr. Seussian anapestic tetrameter), it might be near impossible to revise an unmetered phrase into one of these. However, if you are trying to maintain 7 syllables per sentence or something, reconfiguring it can be much easier.
    Plus, if these meters are used too often, it can become more sing-songy than you may want. Sticking to matching (or increasing or decreasing) syllables in consecutive sentences used in part with alliteration and assonance seems pretty effective.

    I hope that helps and somewhat answers what you were looking for.

    p.s. Read Delillo's "Pafko at the Wall" (Prologue of Underworld). We analyzed the story in class, specifically looking at musicality, and he uses tons of it.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    while prose should have an easy, comfortable 'flow' it's more about content, than lyrical perfection... i think you're overanalyzing and trying too hard to make your prose fit your poetic standards, which can seriously hamper its achieving 'good read' status...

    the rare, exceptionally gifted writer of 'literary' works turns out 'lyrical prose' almost automatically, doesn't have to establish a formula for it, which you seem to be attempting to do, or at least asking about... for the rest, it's only necessary to craft reader-friendly writings that tell a story, or make a point successfully...

    trying to be that anomalous writer's version of a silk purse won't work, if you're not one to begin with, imo...
     
  12. JZydowicz
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    JZydowicz Member

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    Using meter and musicality effectively can make works easier to read, albeit much harder for the author to write. A certain perfect flow can make the idea the author is attempting to put forward "click" better than if the sentence is well written but without the flow.

    And I agree Maia, this really doesn't matter for most writing. I guess it depends on what waitingforzion hopes to do.
     
  13. JZydowicz
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    JZydowicz Member

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    Oops, I seem to have neglected this part of your question: "Can attention to cadence without variety be successful in yielding flow?"

    In some poetry, yes. However, in fiction, I think variety is necessary. Without it, the writing will become tedious. That's why writing an entire story with a certain meter or definite amount of syllables per sentence would lose readers (I would assume).
     

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