The Language and Music of Go [and POLL: Do You Music?]

I think you’d like this old NativLang video, which discusses the relationship between music and language.

See also Call for artists, programmers and visionary people: Go to music

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Just curious how many people here also practice music. All of the polls should be private (if I’ve done this properly), so feel free to elaborate with a comment if you wish.

Do you play an instrument?
  • Yes
  • Kind of
  • No

0 voters

Do you sing?
  • Yes
  • Kind of
  • No

0 voters

I’ll also ask about language, as a sort of baseline, even though we have covered language skills in other threads and an intense interest in language is apparent in many other discussions.

Do you speak more than one language?
  • Yes
  • Kind of
  • No

0 voters

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Music plays a relatively big role in my life. Was a couple classes away from a minor at JSOM.

I think Go very much hits a lot of the same parts of the brain as it requires tapping into both technical skill and intuition/creativity. But I’d probably say that about a lot of my hobbies, programming and language-learning being examples.

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I think the only hobby I feel alone for not having amongst everyone else here is something programming - related.

I’m in the “kind of” for music and singing, because I do them; it’s just that I maybe shouldn’t…

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I took piano lessons as a child but never really got anywhere. I sing, very badly. I attempt to speak, or at least write, Latin but I wouldn’t call myself a Latin speaker.

So a collective pessimistic “kind of”.

I also program at a very mediocre level, or at least I used to.

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Same, but these days I sometimes try to play a little bit of simple songs on a keyboard for my kids, and I often sing to them as well. Hence, I listed kind of for both music polls as well.

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I really don’t mean to burst your bubble here, but the idea of music as a language, in a thoroughly rigorous sense, was pioneered by Deryck Cooke in his 1959 book The Language of Music, widely considered a classic in musical aesthetics. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject, particularly aspiring composers.

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I was briefly a professional cellist and could play a little piano. But I haven’t played in about 35 years. Used to have a good singing voice and liked to sing, but old age has destroyed that in the last couple years. I studied German in school and used to be able to read a fair amount, but have lost all that through disuse. I’m just an all-around has-been.

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And here a bunch of laymen came to the same conclusion simply by playing Go. Maybe he should rethink his study loans.

What always was peculiar to me is how the Four Arts, although all in some way means of expression (musical instrument, weiqi, calligraphy and painting iirc) didn’t include any kind of rhetoric/ singing/ argumentation, but instead focused on talents that require manual dexterity (probably because that’s what I’d expect to see, I must admit).

It seems like a deliberate choice of cultivating expression through hand movement.

Of course I’m not long dead with sideburns, so I can’t express aptly enough what I mean, I hope it makes sense.

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The general idea of music as a language is ancient, which is why I qualified my statement in the post by highlighting the phenomenal rigor of Cooke’s contribution. Cooke sadly can’t rethink anything, because he died in 1976.

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Since you need to see it:

I googled him. I know. It was a joke.

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I think this is relevant: a detailed post by @JethOrensin made in LLL last month, on the subject of how syllables are represented in Byzantine music and what that can tell us about Byzantine Greek:

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Besides the expressiveness of the game there is also it’s cultural origin. I’m reasonably certain that many players who got into go had already an interest in asian cultures beforehands - and someone interested in foreign cultures is also very likely to study their languages to some extent.

I often wondered about the social profile of go players too (parents occupation, degree, income etc.).

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Although I have heard it countless times, for some reason in my mind it has a more “fast/ celebratory” rhythm. Maybe because I’m influenced by the historical context. Although I knew it’s the correct one when I heard it, if you asked me to replicate it without listening to it first to get reminded of how it sounds, I would have done it wrong.

Other than that, what @JethOrensin said.

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If we’re talking about hymns, this is a classic: the (assumedly) 16th-century Latin Christmas carol Gaudete, in Steeleye Span’s 1973 version. Of course, the accent is very English.

The title, by the way, is a good example of Latin plural distinction.

gaude is the singular imperative, “rejoice, (wo)man!”.

gaudete is the plural imperative, “rejoice, you all!”.

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I asked about this in another thread

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When I descent unto the Goban,
be, Sai, by my side.
May the Honimbos guard my stones
May the Kiseis stay my hand
May the Meijins keep my tea hot.
Guide me through the nets
Keep my feet safe on the ladders
But if I absent-midnedly walk into a tiger’s mouth,
You may abandon me, Sai, for I have been careless.
Forgive me, and let me play again.

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I am not good enough at Go to do (or spot) that yet, but indeed a lot of times I have seen this happen in chess, which is comparatively more simple to deploy/express some inner feelings/characteristics on the board.
There you can spot people that are meticulous, people that are reckless, people that like to take wild risks, people that are loath to sacrifice pieces and count their relative strengths and people that do not care at all and plow on with their plan no matter what.

I think that Go is superior to chess in the scope of what and how much a person can lay on the board, but on the other hand I think that Go needs a lot more effort to reach a certain level of knowledge where you can do that.

Speaking of non-verbal languages this is in the Canary islands:

And this is in my island in Greece:

And considering that I love whistling, I really adore the whole concept.

Just curious how many people here also practice music

Used to be in my town’s marching band and I am an apprentice Byzantine hymn chanter. So, I voted “yes” even though the real answer should have been “kind of” now that I am thinking about it :stuck_out_tongue:

@Gia

Although I have heard it countless times, for some reason in my mind it has a more “fast/ celebratory” rhythm. Maybe because I’m influenced by the historical context. Although I knew it’s the correct one when I heard it, if you asked me to replicate it without listening to it first to get reminded of how it sounds, I would have done it wrong.

That is because there isn’t exactly one “correct”/ right version, but multiple ones. :slight_smile:
a) There is the fast, more simple one, used by most people when chanting the hymn and it is more happy/songlike. Depending on the case, people sing this in various speeds, but it is not in YT, so I made this, which is, by my guess, the most usual fast version:

b) There is the fast (ειρμολογικό), a bit more elaborate version with a few ups and downs, used in church when they want to go through the hymn briefly, but still in a proper manner. As expected, it is more prim/reserved. Also not found in YT probably because it is not considered worth recording the small simple version of a hymn like that, so, again, my “rusty” version.

**c)**There is the intermediate (στιχηραρικό) that was in the LLL video, when the hymn is used in church in the normal way and it takes around 2 minutes.

**d)**And there is the ultra slow (παπαδικό) made exclusively for loooooong services and that normal people (and quite a few chanters) cannot follow. Usually reserved for services in monasteries or very special cases (it is 18 minutes long for Christ’s sake. Very beautiful, but you wouldn’t call it happy in any day of the week :upside_down_face: )

And, of course, e) The ultra fast version that lasts 15 seconds. Chanted only when the priest is in a hurry to leave. :rofl: :rofl:

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It’s b. :wink:

I think this is relevant for the thread lmao

Speech to music, literally

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