A note from Jane
A few weeks ago I went to a lunchtime concert of music by Johann Sebastian Bach. The lead performer, a viola player called Maxim Rysanov, specializes in transcriptions of Bach’s music. This means that he rewrites music originally composed for one instrument so it can be played on another one. For this concert, he had transposed Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 for viola, arranged a selection of two-part inventions from The Little Keyboard Book for viola and and violin, and rewritten the Sonata in G Major for viola da gamba and harpsichord to be played by viola and concert organ. The performance was recorded by the BBC and broadcast on Thursday as part of their lunchtime concert series. You can read more about it and listen to the recording via BBC Sounds.
The music is incredibly beautiful, but my reason for mentioning it in this week’s newsletter is to suggest this idea of musical transcription as a tool you can use to develop your writing. Just as the viola player revealed another dimension of a familiar piece of cello music by transferring it from the voice of one instrument to the voice of another, so too might you discover more about your story’s characters by writing a poem about them, or writing a poem in their voice. Maybe you can understand your poem’s emotional landscape or setting by transposing it into a story or a drama. Perhaps drawing your imaginary landscape or painting a portrait of your lead character will help you to see them more clearly.
We all learn that writing is often mostly about rewriting. I don’t know about you, but sometimes that feels like something I don’t really want to do—a bit of a chore. Why not try transposition as a way of coming at rewriting from a fresh perspective? You might not use your transposition in the final work, but you might create a whole new work to sit alongside the original one. Either way, you can hit the refresh button and have fun trying!
Highlights from the past week online
Don’t miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!
Sascha, 13, reviews Jacqueline Woodson’s Harbor Me on the blog this week. Read the review to find out why Sascha “would unquestionably recommend this novel to anyone that is interested in gaining a higher perspective of people from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.”
Have you ever tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube? Matthew gives us some background about Rubik’s Cubes on the blog this week, plus an easy method that you can try.
From Stone Soup February 2020
By Tara Prakash, 12 (Chevy Chase, MD)
Time—did it slip through my fingers, flow
Subtly as water? My little big brother,
Running across the pastures with his kite, where did that go?
Footsteps trailing mine, hands clasped tightly—my mother.
I can see the time pass in the creases of my
Grandfather’s eyes, his skin lined with the trick of time. If only
It wouldn’t go so fast, then we wouldn’t need to say so many goodbyes
All too soon. If just once, my world could live forever . . .
But if all worlds lasted forever, when
Would new ones be born? Babies gaze at the world with big eyes, bright,
Seeing things they’ve never seen before. The old watch with
Eyes that have seen too much, the pale that follows a dark night.
Time forces us to make use of what we have, unfurled,
It forces us to say goodbye and hello to the ever-changing world.
Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.
Stone Soup‘s Advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.