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Thread: Is there a poetry in architecture?

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    Is there a poetry in architecture?

    I was deeply impressed by this subject written by Jonathan Glancey because it has a lot to do with numerical prosody.

    There is no architecture without mathematical ratios. There is no mathematics without numbers.
    Rhythm is the most common factor between both. Audio rhythm in poetry and visual rhythm in architecture. Only numerical metering can be common between them and enable comparison in this regard.

    I felt the writer has the right sensation but he lacks the proper tools. This lack of mathematical tools in reprepresenting verse rhythm is common everywhere. Needless to say that there are other aspects of similarity besides rhythm. The writer mentioned : structure and balance as well. I add rhyme sometimes.

    I will elaborate on this topic from time to time hoping it will attract some attention .

    I hope Iam not violating any publishing rights. If there is any violation, I request to keep the link and to omit the rest.

    http://www.theguardian.com/global/20...arkin-betjeman

    Jonathan Glancey:

    I s there a connection between poetry and architecture? I remember talking on this subject some while back at an Arts Council-sponsored evening at Somerset House. In preparation, I'd spent the best part of a fortnight walking through parts of London I'm particularly fond of and photographing buildings and places that seemed, to me at least, somehow poetic. I learned, by heart, a number of poems that seemed relevant to what I wanted to say. To me there was, and is, something in the structure, rhythm, balance, and the very language of architecture corresponding in certain ways with those of sonnets, odes and epics.
    I didn't have an academically approved theory to back up my sentiments, yet I felt that what I had to say was in the spirit of architects, of all eras, with poetry in their souls and with the spirits, too, of poets like Hardy, Betjeman and Larkin, among many others, who have truly seen poetry in architecture.

    Yet, when I had said my piece, I was torn apart by the poet Denise Riley and the author Iain Sinclair. This unyielding twosome demolished not just the decorative superstructure, but the very foundations of my argument. Piffle! Nonsense! Poppycock! This was the most stupid, most utterly inane talk they had ever heard in their lives. There has never, ever been a connection between the two, they thundered. I crept out of Somerset House like a church mouse that had been spat out by cats. My pet theory was far more ruinous than Tintern Abbey.
    In foolhardy fashion, but without making a speech, I raised the point afresh last night at an event held by the literary charity, Poet in the City, in the concert hall of Kings Place, the Guardian's soon-to-be home in King's Cross close to where the young Thomas Hardy once worked as an architect, for Arthur Blomfield, before turning full-time to poetry and novels. Close, too, of course to St Pancras station and the Midland Grand hotel, an intrinsically linked pair of haunting Victorian buildings saved thanks to John Betjeman, a much loved popular poet and architectural writer greatly influenced by Hardy.
    The poets who spoke last night weren't necessarily ready to agree that there is a connection between their art and architecture. Simon Barraclough, who had written poems inspired by King's Place for the occasion (the one below is a particular celebration of the concert hall we spoke in), made it clear there isn't a connection, yet did say that there is an affinity between the two.
    Jacob Sam-La Rose agreed, making the point with a poem he read about a building in Lewisham he and his childhood friends took to be haunted; the building was nothing to write home about from a strictly architectural point of view, but it became the stuff of poetry when infused with the fantasies of young Londoners.
    Paul Farley who was brought up in a brutalist council estate in Liverpool, yet steadfastly refuses to blame Le Corbusier (who wrote A Poem to the Right Angle, as only a truly Modern architect could) for any influence he might unwittingly have had on such terrifying forms of post-war English housing, has been inspired by architecture, but again made the point that the two arts might inform one another while being different beasts.
    I'm left, slightly unsatisfied, sensing that there has been and can be a more than associative connection between the two arts, but I'd need to make a proper study of this. I'd welcome your views. There is, though, no doubt that architecture, and a keen sense of place, has been good to poetry. Think of Coleridge's Kubla Khan, Wordsworth's Lines Composed upon Westminster Bridge, whole poems by Larkin, snatches of TS Eliot, lots from Hardy, masses by Betjeman. Equally, there have been several architects or architectural enthusiasts who have been fine poets, from Michelangelo to Hardy. And, there have been, too, architects whose work surely deserves the name poetry – in stone – whether Hawksmoor, Borromini, Palladio and, yes, Le Corbusier.
    The subject is potentially as long as something by Tennyson, as complex as the Four Quartets (which feature quite a bit of architecture; Eliot was good on the subject), and as rich as The Divine Comedy. Neither Sinclair or Riley will forgive me for raising the subject again, yet I can't help wondering if there's something new we could be learning here; a way, at the very least least, of imbuing contemporary architecture with a poetic vision.
    Bounded in a Nutshell by Simon Barraclough
    Five centuries ago, a German acorn sweetened on the branch
    until it reached its crucial mass
    and blew the bolts to give itself to gravity.
    Then all it had to do was dodge the jay's keen beak,
    the hedgehog's truffling snout, shrug off the weevil's drill.
    This lucky nut was squirreled away,
    a hedge fund for a hungrier day
    that never came and, planted in the soil, the work began:
    the cylinder of shell unscrewed, a taproot dropped,
    a pale shoot periscoped towards the light,
    extended leaves and rippled out its rings,
    trunk thickening as history hurtled by.
    Six thousand moons the shadow of the branches flew
    around its base through midnight, noon, until the day
    that brought the saw that bit into the bark
    and turned the tree into an acre of veneer
    to line this room, this snug nutshell, replanted in the earth
    in which we sit and feel the taproot of the bass notes shift,
    hear sonic tendrils lift.
    To be continued.
    Last edited by khashan; 06-20-2016 at 01:17 PM.

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    URL not allowed.

    Charles O. Harman in his book : Verse an introduction to prosody - page 87 :



    Numerical ! we can't go numerical without using numbers.

    How about using 1 for unstressed syllable and 2 for stressed sylalble?

    Is it convenient ? Let us try and see what we get:



    If you start from (FENCE) then you have iambic pentameter.

    I found this shape as an example.



    -----------------






    To be continued.
    Last edited by khashan; 04-23-2016 at 03:37 PM.

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    Any two other figures would show a mathematical, graphic and architectural self-consistent representation.

    Is there anything special about 1 and 2? The origin of western meters including English which is a stress-timed language go back to the classic quantitative Greek and Latin.

    In quantitative meters which includes Indian and Arabic as well, a short syllable Cv has one consonant; a long syllable CvC has two consonants. Thus, if we don’t count the short syllable the counted letters in a syllable is its numerical symbol. Since an open syllable CV is composed of a consonant and a long vowel, 2 as a symbol is equal to its letter numbers. So using these two numerical symbols 1 and 2 to respectively represent the short and long syllables in quantitative meters is factual and not just a matter of convenience. Consequently, it would – at least - be convenient to use them in English meters 1 to represent the unaccented and 2 to represent the accented. Jeremy Scott used them in the opposie order ( page 191) of his book " Creative Writing ……."



    No harm is done by using any two figures or symbols just as a denoting means. Using numerical symbols to compare both audio and video rhythms will be meaningless if there is no real – or at least logical - relation between the numbers used for measuring and the rhythmic or metric measured items.

    The success of introducing this numerical representation was so limited in Arabic and was refused by one English forum.

    I believe this approach deserves the right to be examined at least.
    Last edited by khashan; 04-23-2016 at 05:03 PM.

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    I will start adding shapes which are self-explanatory and comment where necessary.



    ---------



    ---------




    To be continued.

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    Deep or vacuous? I think deep, but over indulgent. A structure is not built chaotically, so none of this is surprising. It is widely understood that architecture is geometric and involves the repetition of geometric patterns. Humans respond to patterns that are short enough to grasp visually or aurally. A pattern which repeats after 89 beats means nothing at all to our guts. So, of course the patterns in architecture are short as well, much like our poetic scansion, so we can respond to them.

    There are only so many short patterns to go around, just as there are only so many small integers around.

    At a very high level of abstraction poetry and architecture have many correspondences. At that level of abstraction it is proper to say they are alike, in that parts of geometric structures and poems can be coded identically. At a high enough level, cuisine and music could be coded identically, I believe.

    The thing that is similar about them is their mathematics at a very highl level of abstraction where everything else is disregarded.

    A basic schematic language connects not only the arts, but most human activites. Most or all of your parallels could be drawn with music. Try hard enough you can probably make an argument for connectiong poetry to the golden ratio, the Fiobinacci sequence and pi. A poet will never write poetry that way. But this control language in the hands of corporate and government manipulators will have, and may already have, many propagandic uses, some subliminal, some in the open. If governments had a coded way of producing calm, at certain times of course they would all use it.

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    I could not hope for a better comment as a start.
    My aim is to attract attention to this subject for evaluation. I see you have gone beyond that so deep and so wide. The mere use of certain keywords made me feel you will have a lot to do with this approach.
    Abstraction was the most important key word. It is only though abstraction that we can see the correspondences or analogies in sound, heat, light, pressure , gravitation and probably many more fields regarding the inverse-square law.
    This abstraction does not precede wise judgment and evaluation, which I see that you have.
    Galileo Galilei: " Mathematics is the language with which God wrote the universe. "
    -
    Music and Fiobinacci sequence and pi are two other significant two words. In the very limited circle of those interested in Arabic numerical prosody, we speak of poetic ratio and combine it with pi.
    Unfortunately I can't publish links. I may collect many thump-nail photos and publish them.
    As for music and taking the numerical represention into account, look at the following shape,




    There are so many pertinent fields culminating up to philosophy and theology. I was proceeding gradually. Forgive this jump in response to your comment.
    Last edited by khashan; 04-24-2016 at 12:01 PM.

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    I myself donīt understand about architecture but here are some architectural poems from Oscar Niemeyer:
    http://www.theguardian.com/travel/ga...ings-in-brazil
    Unfortunately Copan, which is very near from where I live, is in a very bad condition today.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 04-24-2016 at 10:24 AM.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by khashan; 05-08-2016 at 11:17 AM.

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    The scheme you are presenting will encounter much resistance. Just like the poets you encountered. Artists have an immediate emotional reaction to someone reducing their work to a number sequence. By implication, they could be reduced to such a scheme too.

    It smacks of f B.F. Skinner and behaviorism. For the natural application is manipulation of human emotions and behavior. If this underlying language does exist (as we both believe), it may never produce great music or poetry, but it has scary implications for mass control. Are people these days usually entertained by great music or films on high end systems? No, they watch The Godfather on something the size of a matchbox.

    People can be induced to leave quality behind for their own convenience. Computer art, music and poetry of the future may not be quite as good as what humans do, but it may be free of charge!

    The biggest thing to fear from this is not that humans may be finite without free will and their arts may lose quality, but what such a language refined would be capable of in the hands of the black ops folk.

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    I agree with you, but..
    A poet's attitude follows his awareness of the relation between poetry , meters and math..
    Bees builds cells in an exact architectural pattern by intuition . they produce honey which has excellent taste and medical properties without chemical or medical knowledge. Birds fly without any mechanical or aviation background.
    Then comes the role of architects, chemists, engineers and all relevant scientists to discover the MATHEMATICAL form that leads to the discovery of mechanical ,architectural or chemical rules and formulas that controls the different products or activities.
    Poetry was there before awareness of meters. The role of science - prosody in this case-is to discover the mathematical intuitive genius of the poet by proving that the meters he intuitively abides by follow a natural mathematical pattern or even law.
    Quote: "How is it that Beethoven, who is celebrated as one of the most significant composers of all time, wrote many of his most beloved songs while going deaf? The answer lies in the math behind his music. Natalya St. Clair employs the "Moonlight Sonata" to illustrate the way Beethoven was able to convey emotion and creativity using the certainty of mathematics."
    And not alike are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best, when lo! he between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend.

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    Application on the principle of rotation according to meter clock.
    its four.gif

    Theoretically speaking, this part " in the morning, the end of December " may belong to any of the three meters. i.e. if we tell three people that they will listen to a part of a line without necessarily starting with the first foot then ask them about the meter of that portion, and we received three different answers. All of the three are right, that means the same rhythm may belong to three different meters.

    We know every meter has its own rhythm. Both different statements are true. Are both statements objective on the same level?
    Last edited by khashan; 04-26-2016 at 12:34 PM.
    And not alike are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best, when lo! he between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by khashan View Post
    Application on the principle of rotation according to meter clock.
    its four.gif

    Theoretically speaking, this part " in the morning, the end of December " may belong to any of the three meters. i.e. if we tell three people that they will listen to a part of a line without necessarily starting with the first foot then ask them about the meter of that portion, and we received three different answers. All of the three are right, that means the same rhythm may belong to three different meters.

    We know every meter has its own rhythm. Both different statements are true. Are both statements objective on the same level?
    The plowman homeward plods his weary way, has been used to exhibit a line of perfect iambic pentameter. The entire poem might be called highly iambic. Yet there are departures. There simply have to be. Of the, is not going to sound imabic, and we have to use such phrases all the time to make our language sound normal instead of transparently contrived.The c*ck's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn, is not iambic.

    Perhaps what you are suggesting is that often the departures from true meter in the poets is equivalent to rotation of one of your wheels. Gray usually rotates right back to iambic when he can, unless he has a special purpose for a temporarily different meter.

    I can buy the rotation idea. I believe no one wants to compose poetry with rotations in mind, and I think you believe that, too, but the idea does have intellectual interest and merit, though clearly it is not a tool for poets but scientists.

    It can still be of great interest to poets.
    Last edited by desiresjab; 04-27-2016 at 04:20 AM.

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    An area that reminds me of the variations in the names of meters in various contexts that you mentioned a few posts ago, is chord substitution in music. My C9 chord can rightfully be called an Emi7b5 in the correct context. It is also clearly a Gm6 in a different context.

    If one wants, in the case of complex chords, one can rotate the notes in the chord until the correct note is the bass note, for a more clear picture. Some complex chords contain no root note at all, but are very popular and useful sounds. A good example would be the awkward to write down here G13add9 chord, whose notes from the bass would go, F B E A, and usually sounds best and is more versatile in the higher registers, but has many applications an octave or so lower as well. Rootless inversions can carry multiple names equally well. Those same notes are perfect in many applications as a rootles Dmi6add9.

    The circle of fifths? The name is a bit metaphorical, but I suppose one could even view chord progressions as clicks on a wheel. A lot of famous songs follow the circle of fifths at least for a ways, and then resolve to the tonic (key). Practically every song in existence has a (VI I) change in it, which is the last step in the circle of fifths.

    A few great songs defy everything. The main verse of Light My Fire is impossible to assign a real key signature using traditional harmonic methods. That wonderfull introduction is really screwy. It has some circle of fifths in it, some leaps out of nowhere and some backwards circle of fifths, the latter of course equaling the circle of fourths.The chorus is in D. In the instrumental center part we are back to Am, but this time as a Dorian mode, or II chord, which actually puts us in the key of G major. Then back to the weird intro, followed by another key-signatureless verse.

    Well, that digressed a little, perhaps. Anyway, chord patterns follow well travelled routes. That is why they are patterns. Something like the Am to F#m, the back and forth movement in the main verse of the song (LMF), is quite novel, a real stamp of creativity. No one else I know of has used it as successfully or for such a duration. It is almost impossible to repeat that chord movement back and forth a couple of times and not feel you are plagarizing The Doors. It is the only two chord progression I know of that belongs to someone, if not legally, then certainly sonically.
    Last edited by desiresjab; 04-27-2016 at 06:56 AM.

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