This Independent Study examines the idea of poetry and music as embellished registers, made distinct from “mere” prose or “mere” sound by sonic cues. In the case of poetry, I borrow Formalist notions from Roman Jakobson to argue that repetitive poetic devices facilitate poetic reading. Similarly, in the case of music, I borrow the notion of entrainment to argue how meter can aestheticize speech. This belongs in a particular musical tradition dating back to before the advent of metric notation. In Chapter 2, these considerations animate an analysis of the commencement speech delivered to the Brown University graduates of 2017 by Daveed Diggs, a rapper and actor known for being in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton. The speech is well suited for discussion of the ordinary versus the artful, particularly in the case of poetry and music. Examples of metered rapping in the speech bring us to Chapter 3, which compares Diggs’s address to a somewhat nascent genre of YouTube and TikTok videos in which musicians play closely along with the rhythms of speech. In Chapter 4, I create videos in this genre using excerpts of Diggs. My experience making these is in accordance with various conceptions of the way rhythms are performed, particularly those from Adam Neely, a prominent music YouTuber.
Smrekar, Charlie, "Is This Music? Poetry, YouTube Memes, and Rap at Commencement" (2021). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 9476.
English Language and Literature | Music
Poetry, Music, Daveed Diggs, Piano Dubs, Aesthetics, YouTube, TikTok, Formalism
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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