Streaming Media


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.


Hayward, Jennifer

Second Advisor

Guez, Jonathan


English; Music


English Language and Literature | Music


Poetry, Music, Daveed Diggs, Piano Dubs, Aesthetics, YouTube, TikTok, Formalism

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Cornell example.mp4 (11043 kB)
Tramo Example.mp4 (1663 kB)
Diggs example.mp4 (6729 kB)
crop 1.mp4 (17114 kB)
crop 2.mp4 (16227 kB)



© Copyright 2021 Charlie Smrekar