Thursday, 12 October 2017

Today, the Musical, Part Nine

I pause from my labours at keyboards to watch some baseball post-season action. That puts me in the path of the irritating SGI "Drive Alive" commercial.
Irritating because its rhyming is so lazy. The four couplets end "hosts/most," "friends/trends," "begins/in," "ride/alive." That's one pure rhyme, two near rhymes, one flat-out impure rhyme.
Dedicated readers of this blog--a fond autumn greeting to you both, Aunt Sneaky and Uncle Pete--will know I've long enjoyed the challenge of formal constraints. The more obsessively I establish them, the more generative they become, has been the prevailing idea these last 35 years, or ever since I encountered this idea as 
Fred Wah's creative writing student in Nelson, B.C.
Pure rhyme is the latest formal constraint I've taken on. The sense such a pursuit makes to me is that rhyme is at the heart of what moves me about musical theatre. 
So I'm going to stay true to it.
PS: Stephen Sondheim speaks also of trick rhyme: like his "personable/coercin' a bull" in "You Could Drive a Person Crazy" from Company. Use sparingly, he reminds us. And only if it fits the character.

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