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Subject: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 03/20/06 at 4:36 pm

Red Ant (and Paul R) - you know I love this debate about pacing, and how I hate the whole concept of syllable-counting.  I got so involved with my reply to your pacing queries, Red, that I went way too long and my reply was disallowed, which is probably a good thing, as the discussion is more appropriate over here.

I also decided to post it here rather than in a PM, hoping it might spark more debate on this very interesting and opinion-dividing topic :)


Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 03/20/06 at 4:37 pm


wow, thanks Red!  No way would I lynch you.  Your willingness to go the extra mile is a definite asset to this website, but you know from my posts on the MB about this topic that I totally disagree with you.

Syllable-counting is easy.  Anyone can do it.  Perfect pacing isn't. 

My nine-year-old son could write a line with 11 syllables, but not one that has everyday conversational rhythms, karaokes over an OS line without leaving a shadow, has its stresses falling intuitively and exactly where the OS stresses are, predicts what the reader is expecting and delivers it, and is unambiguously rendered - ie. can only be read and stressed the one way by all readers.

To achieve this golden line, exact syllable-count (esp. when counting to the OS lyrics and not to the performance) sometimes has to be forgone.

Eg. A syllable counter would approve "Bob Marley!" as a sub for the Beatles song "Oh Darling!" and reject "Thomas Hardy" as being one syllable too many.  However the latter is the better sub, because it honours the way Paul McCartney pronounces the "Oh" as two syllables. Likewise, above, the Moody Blues pronounce "miles" as "my-ells" - 2 syllables, where you've only counted it as one.

I maintain that if something as easy to achieve as exact syllable-count isn't done, there must be a reason for it - unless the parodist is innumerate or VERY careless, which is unlikely amongst regular contributors.

I have reasons for all the above pacing decisions you refer to, and won't bore you with them all (but will if you want me to) but here are a few...

An 8/9 couplet IS a 9/8 couplet.  Sometimes to make it easy for the reader, and a better read for DKTOSers, I'll add a trailing unstressed syllable to one line and drop an unstressed leading syllable from the next.  Just think of the 2 lines as a 17-syllable single line.

The conversational intuitive rhythm of "good guys" in that sentence is slow, and therefore maps over "see a frightened" without leaving a shadow.

"they can tell who all the baddies are and" maps perfectly over "who is frightened by the people who are" with every intuitively-stressed syllable matching exactly.

...which then makes "scorch (scorching) this earth" comply exactly with "kill us one by one" and please note that "earth" and the second "one" are both 2 syllables in the OS and in my parody

Also, your suggestion of leaving "just" out of that line would create "travELLED" which I consider pacing suicide, as nobody ever expects to read "travelled" with the second syllable stressed.

Also, generally speaking, a one-syllable word like "strengths" takes longer to say than a two-syllable word like, say, "via" and obeying syllable-count there could create a very bad map-over.

Ironically, Kristof, who is a meticulous syllable-counter, got docked for pacing recently because the readers just FELT the pacing was off - although his syllable-count was spot-on.

And Spaff has also confessed he uses tricks to try to distract syllable-counters from his perfectly-paced but syllable-incorrect lines, and I've never read better pacing than Spaff's (check out his "Supercali/MadonnaEsther" masterpiece)

Another general example:  Syllable-counters would consider "Another bunfight's unjust" a fine sub for "Another one bites the dust" but it fails on 2 counts for mine.  Firstly, in daily conversation, the "bun" in bunfight is the stressed syllable, but to cleanly map over the OS, "fight" has to be stressed.  Secondly, the line is not conversational in the first place - it would be hard to imagine hearing a line like that in regular day-to-day life.  Compare it to Claude's "Your mother is quite a slut" which is perfect, on both counts.

Anyway, I do love this debate as you know, and I've pretty well written an essay on it somewhere on the MB...but I reckon syllable-counting is a cancer, because it's too easy to do, and therefore allows parodists to be lazy in thinking they've found a perfect line.

And Red, I admit the pacing of this (early!) parody of mine cannot be good, by my own definition, as it is obviously ambiguous for so many people to be reading it differently to the way I intended it, but that just shows how much more work I need to do.  Merely matching the syllable-count is less work.

over

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 03/20/06 at 4:50 pm


original discussion here

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: agrimorfee on 03/20/06 at 5:05 pm

To my way of thinking, badly accented syllables would add to the overall humor of the piece in the Bunfight example you give here.

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 03/20/06 at 6:42 pm


To my way of thinking, badly accented syllables would add to the overall humor of the piece in the Bunfight example you give here.


good point Agri - I totally agree that it can add to the humour - which is another reason why pacing is not a black-and-white simplistic syllable-counting exercise

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: adagio on 03/20/06 at 8:15 pm

Seems to me that the site has decided to go all out singing versions, instead of parodies, as it says on the first page. Why do I bother with pacing and rhyming in that case?

FYI !!  A good singer took one of my MB parodies to Veteran Cosmic Rocker and only had to change it a little to SING it!( http://www.amiright.com/parody/80s/moodyblues3.shtml )This one was painstakingly paced and rhymed.

Stu, I did the same OS as you...take a look at it...of course I am no singer!! I also did mine from a d/l OS of the copy from the Seventh Sojourn...same time period. You gave me 5's...would you take them back since mine is not a song?

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Cat on 03/20/06 at 9:15 pm

I admit that I've been a syllable counter in the past, but a good way to solve is this to add hyphens to the words so it is indicated that it uses a slightly unconventional stressing pattern.

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: adagio on 03/20/06 at 10:18 pm





  \o/

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Red Ant on 03/21/06 at 1:26 am


wow, thanks Red!  No way would I lynch you.  Your willingness to go the extra mile is a definite asset to this website, but you know from my posts on the MB about this topic that I totally disagree with you.

//


Wow, quite a reply here Stu. I happen to not like mere syllable counting as well for it creates too many chances for error, especially if one is using only downloaded lyrics to make the parody. Not saying you did this at all as you said (twice I believe) in comments on that you listened to/sang TOS while making the parody.

Perhaps I should have sent a PM about this instead of posted on your parody where syllables seemed off but since it is in the open now....

A) Two other people before me mentioned small problems in pacing (and presumably docked you for it - I did notice 3 'less than 5' in pacing) yet they did not elaborate on which particular place(s) they thought the pace was off. This has become a pet peeve of mine recently - I don't mind pacing docks provided they are explained. I noticed you said "I'm perplexed about the pacing issue". My goal is intuitive reading as well, though I will stick to TOSs irregularities in a heartbeart over 'what looks good on screen' since a recording of the former would be easier to sing.

B) That song is very tough to pace in the first place, which I acknowledged early in my comment

C) Even though some of my examples were less than stellar of how a line, IMHO, could have been 'better' they were just an attempt to show where I (and perhaps Rex and Pat) had some problems with scanning your lyrics to TOS.

D) I still gave you 5s.

A few points though:



An 8/9 couplet IS a 9/8 couplet.  Sometimes to make it easy for the reader, and a better read for DKTOSers, I'll add a trailing unstressed syllable to one line and drop an unstressed leading syllable from the next.  Just think of the 2 lines as a 17-syllable single line.



Not always. For example, the last 2 lines of the triple-repeat choruses in the Major-General's Song contain 16 and 18 syllables. Splitting this any other way than 16/18 doesn't scan right and in that case really can't be read as 34 total syllables.

I do not write songs for DKTOSers. I write them (most all since October last year) with the intention of being recording and being faithful to TOS. How it looks on screen is important (I mentioned the format of yours may have been the cause of any perceived pacing errors rather than any actually off-paced lines), but if an OS happens to have seriously funky syllable counts from line to line, little rhyming, etc., I follow that. Yes, the casual reader might think I suck but those who know TOS well (or better yet, listen to it while they read the parody) will know all (I hope) is as it should be.

The differences between a good read and a good scan to TOS is not always a great one, however I will choose the latter every time. Besides, some songs (such as raps) IMO can never be done as a 'good read' without seriously messing up how it would sound if recorded/karaoked



Also, your suggestion of leaving "just" out of that line would create "travELLED" which I consider pacing suicide, as nobody ever expects to read "travelled" with the second syllable stressed.
//
Likewise, above, the Moody Blues pronounce "miles" as "my-ells" - 2 syllables, where you've only counted it as one.



You are correct in that leaving "just" out creates a very back-asswards emphasis with "travelled" (extremely poor example on my part), however "miles" (which I counted as two syllables) is in the same place in both OS and parody lines:

Yours:

"A million miles he travelled just coz he heard"

OS:

"A thousand miles can lead so many ways"

Regardless of whether or not "miles" is one syllable or two (or somewhere inbetween) to the readers' eyes/listeners' ears there is one exta syllable in your line vs TOS. Changing "travelled" to "came" would be perfect pacing, though probably compromises the meaning somewhat.

I have to admit I was a bit overboard on my reply to your parody but I do check TOS every now and then even with authors I know who routinely pace 5, if only to see how the parody lyrics scan. The ironic thing is that had you not mentioned being perplexed about the pacing issues I probably wouldn't have bothered to d/l TOS in the first place (I usually only do so for SOTM, and especially since it was a 10+MB file) to see what the fuss was about.

Anyways, I hope you weren't TOO annoyed, heh heh. I try to give comments in the way that I like to receive them, and I'd much rather have what I left on yours than 'The pace is off, but it's funny 455', 'I had problems with a few lines but it's funny (and leave no vote rather than give a perceived 'bad' vote of 455) or something else.

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 03/21/06 at 6:14 am


Red - I wasn't annoyed AT ALL!  Quite the contrary.  I love this debate. And the points you made above I'm entirely happy with, because pacing is a very personal approach, and different people approach it differently.  That's my point.  I was explaining where my views are, in order to explain that the incorrect syllable count you were referring to of mine was not a result of my inability to count, but as a result of other pacing goals of mine.

And I understand your point about the "miles" too. ie. if I hear miles as two syllables in the OS, then all of my "miles" should be two syllables too, and that didn't happen. 

But again, there is a reason, which is that I'd just used "a million lives" two lines before which has 4 syllables, and the reader would be expecting the identically-placed "a million miles" in my next line to be 4 syllables as well. So the OS's miles was 2 syllables, and my "miles" was one, and by my explanation, I'm not apologising for that.  In other words, another grey area where there are no rules.

But truly, I'm just very grateful that you went to all the trouble of addressing my "perplexedness" because it gave me the chance to lay out my explanation (and my theories ;)

Interestingly, my background in parodies is from Australian radio, where the performance is SO important, as it's only the ear to please, so I admit my pacing theories spring from that training-ground.






   


Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 03/21/06 at 6:19 am


Seems to me that the site has decided to go all out singing versions, instead of parodies, as it says on the first page. Why do I bother with pacing and rhyming in that case?

FYI !!  A good singer took one of my MB parodies to Veteran Cosmic Rocker and only had to change it a little to SING it!( http://www.amiright.com/parody/80s/moodyblues3.shtml )This one was painstakingly paced and rhymed.

Stu, I did the same OS as you...take a look at it...of course I am no singer!! I also did mine from a d/l OS of the copy from the Seventh Sojourn...same time period. You gave me 5's...would you take them back since mine is not a song?


ooh, I'm not sure if that's a light-hearted comment or an offended one, Pat!

No way did I mean to offend YOU.  I come only from a defensive position with this thread, and am certainly not attacking anyone else's parodies or pacing.  If I gave you fives, it's because I could see where your pacing was coming from (which I usually always can, if the stresses are right), and I can't remember ever having troubles following your pacing - on "I'm Just A Singer" or anywhere else.  It was you who had troubles with mine, remember, so I was just taking the RedAnt-provided opportunity to explain myself. :)

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: adagio on 03/21/06 at 9:25 am

ooh, I'm not sure if that's a light-hearted comment or an offended one, Pat!

No way did I mean to offend YOU.  I come only from a defensive position with this thread, and am certainly not attacking anyone else's parodies or pacing.  If I gave you fives, it's because I could see where your pacing was coming from (which I usually always can, if the stresses are right), and I can't remember ever having troubles following your pacing - on "I'm Just A Singer" or anywhere else.  It was you who had troubles with mine, remember, so I was just taking the RedAnt-provided opportunity to explain myself.



Thanks for answering, Stu.  :) It did seem to me at first that that the whole site was apologizing for *gasp* pacing.  And the reason I didn't give you a concrete example on your song, which I also said was very funny, was that, unlike Red Ant, who could see the MB nuances in pronounciation, I just FELT that it was off, but could give no examples.

I suppose part of my offended manner came from the idea that now everyone wants to abandon pacing in favor of anything goes, and the other part is because I just like the MB so much. They can stick up for themselves,though.  ;D

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: agrimorfee on 03/21/06 at 10:38 am

I had plead the case for syllable-count vs. accenting in my previous post. However, I fell into the opposite camp in my upcoming parody of "Thieves In the Temple" called "She's Got A Pimple" ( :D).

#1. The key repeated line in the OS is "There are thieves in the temple tonight." I initially wrote the line as "Oh darn, she's got a pimple tonight."

Then I got an opportunity to hear the OS for the first time, and was dismayed to discover that Prince slides the first two words of the line to fit his meter, so it comes out more like
"The're thieves in the temple tonight."

I have since dropped my "Oh Darn," to the more smooth "Oh my".

#2. Another key line is "Love come in a hurry." I initially wrote, "Big sis in a tizzy." Again, after hearing the song, "Big sis" just doesn't work against Prince's eununciation of "Love come", which comes across so quickly. "Big sis" has now been changed to "Daughter's" for a smoother pace.

The long and the short of it is-- these issues can, indeed, go either way.

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Step-chan on 03/21/06 at 12:51 pm

There are parodies where I've had to kill a syllable just for it to pace well enough to the original.

A few examples are:

1. "Only a memory" by the Smithereens, the line where he says "of what our love was going to be". I've done two parodies to this song and in both cases the "going to be" part of the line went from 4 syllables to 3 syllables since the way he sings it is abit tricky to actually have 4 syllables with the new words(I tried and it didn't work right, pacing was off).

2. "Blood and rose" by the Smithereens, is another example, I had to cut a syllable out of one line in the second verse.

3. "Very ape" by Nirvana, The line "I take pride in as the king of illiterature", the "illiterature" part is 5 syllables techically, but I could only fit in 4 with a different word.

I do try to get a good syllable count(except with my earliest parodies, where I threw caution to the wind), but I do occasionally have to make slight adjustments in order to make it work.

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 03/21/06 at 6:35 pm



It did seem to me at first that that the whole site was apologizing for *gasp* pacing. 

I suppose part of my offended manner came from the idea that now everyone wants to abandon pacing in favor of anything goes



That was never the case, Pat.  Again, quite the opposite.  And that's why I was confused by your reaction.

Pacing is so important that it should be paid far MORE consideration than mere syllable-counting.  Counting may be a good starting point, but then another 5 or 6 tests should be applied to the line afterwards (eg. stresses falling correctly, intuitive rhythms, the new line not leaving a "shadow" when sung over the OS's line, and others that have been mentioned)  After correcting the pacing to pass all of those tests, correct syllable-count may be slightly out, but for the greater good.  An example is using "fears" (2 syllables) as a sub for "strengths" (1 syllable) which can be (sometimes - not always) justified in order to avoid leaving a shadow.

Another test that I apply is for the stressing to be SO intuitive the line is impossible to be read wrongly, which will then give all readers a smooth ride from start to finish. 

Clearly I failed this test with my Moody Blues parody, and I was very curious to see where the problems were, for my own improvement - hence my requests on the thread.

and Pat, as for everybody wanting "anything goes" and not worrying about pacing - if you reread the debate, you'll see everybody is arguing for the exact opposite - ie. ways to achieve BETTER pacing 

Also, I know you write parodies from a poetry background, and I always read your stuff with that in mind.  Another test that I apply is for every line to have conversational rhythms, as though the line could conceivably occur (no matter how bizarrely) in everyday conversation, because I think it makes things funnier.  In poetry of course, this doesn't happen, so I would never dock you for the fact that you don't apply that test.

Likewise, I'm very unlikely to dock ANYone for pacing, if I can see where their pacing decisions are coming from, because it IS such an individual thing.  I was only asking to be treated that way also.  I would only dock if someone was using an "anything goes" approach, or if blatantly incorrect stressing meant I stumbled on every line.

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 03/21/06 at 6:43 pm



#2. Another key line is "Love come in a hurry." I initially wrote, "Big sis in a tizzy." Again, after hearing the song, "Big sis" just doesn't work against Prince's eununciation of "Love come", which comes across so quickly. "Big sis" has now been changed to "Daughter's" for a smoother pace.

The long and the short of it is-- these issues can, indeed, go either way.


Great example, Agri.  I would have done the same.  Stressing and rhythm are so important. 

I was thinking about your "Decade Police" parody after reading your above comment, Agri, and how you copped all that flak.  It's an interesting example, because "Decade Police" has 4 syllables, and "The Dream Police" has 4 syllables, but because your sub required the "cade" of "Decade" to be stressed, which isn't intuitive, you copped all that flak. 

In other words, it had nothing to do with syllable-count and EVERYTHING to do with stressing, which has been my main point, AND your point, above

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 03/21/06 at 6:47 pm



There are parodies where I've had to kill a syllable just for it to pace well enough to the original.

3. "Very ape" by Nirvana, The line "I take pride in as the king of illiterature", the "illiterature" part is 5 syllables techically, but I could only fit in 4 with a different word.

I do try to get a good syllable count(except with my earliest parodies, where I threw caution to the wind), but I do occasionally have to make slight adjustments in order to make it work.



Thanks, Step-Chan - I totally agree.  It's ultimately all about giving a smooth ride to all readers

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: adagio on 03/21/06 at 6:48 pm


That was never the case, Pat.  Again, quite the opposite.  And that's why I was confused by your reaction.

Pacing is so important that it should be paid far MORE consideration than mere syllable-counting.  Counting may be a good starting point, but then another 5 or 6 tests should be applied to the line afterwards (eg. stresses falling correctly, intuitive rhythms, the new line not leaving a "shadow" when sung over the OS's line, and others that have been mentioned)  After correcting the pacing to pass all of those tests, correct syllable-count may be slightly out, but for the greater good.  An example is using "fears" (2 syllables) as a sub for "strengths" (1 syllable) which can be (sometimes - not always) justified in order to avoid leaving a shadow.

Another test that I apply is for the stressing to be SO intuitive the line is impossible to be read wrongly, which will then give all readers a smooth ride from start to finish. 

Clearly I failed this test with my Moody Blues parody, and I was very curious to see where the problems were, for my own improvement - hence my requests on the thread.

and Pat, as for everybody wanting "anything goes" and not worrying about pacing - if you reread the debate, you'll see everybody is arguing for the exact opposite - ie. ways to achieve BETTER pacing   

Also, I know you write parodies from a poetry background, and I always read your stuff with that in mind.  Another test that I apply is for every line to have conversational rhythms, as though the line could conceivably occur (no matter how bizarrely) in everyday conversation, because I think it makes things funnier.  In poetry of course, this doesn't happen, so I would never dock you for the fact that you don't apply that test.

Likewise, I'm very unlikely to dock ANYone for pacing, if I can see where their pacing decisions are coming from, because it IS such an individual thing.  I was only asking to be treated that way also.  I would only dock if someone was using an "anything goes" approach, or if blatantly incorrect stressing meant I stumbled on every line.




I get your point.  Everything basic does have to start with counting, then factor in the other things. I suppose in some of my parodies, I'm also searching for an elusive, obscure word. I would like to see you do another of those MB songs, they are fun from my POV, some are catchy and not at all moody, and one IS a short poem.

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Red Ant on 03/21/06 at 11:13 pm


// Stressing and rhythm are so important. 

In other words, it had nothing to do with syllable-count and EVERYTHING to do with stressing, which has been my main point, AND your point, above



Stressing is probably the most important thing to me now when it comes to actually singing a parody - rhymes can be slanted somewhat (that is, if they are off) and singing speed can be altered slightly to compensate for a syllable or two variance in parody lyrics vs TOS.

In other words: Emphasis  ;)

I have for a while been working under the premise that a perfect line would be correctly emphasized, rhymed and syllable count correct to TOS. Then I came across this substitution:

Parody lyrics: "so you're a stinky homeless vagrant convicted wife-beater with a hairy mole on your neck the size of a Big Mac"

Oriignal lyrics: "Okay, so you've got a car"

22 syllable difference, which at the time gave the pace-o-phile in me a minor heart attack, but made me LOL. It also happens to fit in TOS since the original lyrics are spoken and the music basically stops for a second, therefore a recording could just "hold" the music for however long it took to sing that line.

However, that is a darned rare exception IMO. I'd like to see anyone parody a song with fairly even syllable counts (Smells Like Teen Spirit has 8 nearly every line) and try to squeeze in even one extra syllable per line. I just don't think it would work.

If I fudge syllables (and I do occasionally), I tend to put the extras in parentheses and also try to have the line make sense without the parenthetical words.

Something that helps me follow an author's lyrics when karaoke-ing them is when a stressed internal rhyme is hit (and internal rhyming in general). It doesn't have to be perfect, like "guys" in place of "high", because both have the hard I sound. With faster paced songs this seems more important as it's easier to get lost while reading them. Which is why raps are a PITA to do well IMO; they have a ton of rhymes (end, internal, alliterate, etc) and are usually sung quite fast.

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Red Ant on 03/21/06 at 11:52 pm

I thought it would be interesting to see how my position has changed regarding pacing over the last year. I'm sure you remember the first time I posted my 'guidelines' for pacing; they were incredibly strict. In case you don't, here they are again:

http://www.inthe00s.com/index.php/topic,8930.msg396041.html#msg396041

Wow, the pacing Nazi!

Then this:

http://www.inthe00s.com/index.php/topic,9890.0.html

More reasonable

Then this:

http://www.inthe00s.com/index.php/topic,10527.msg479959.html#msg479959

Then this:

http://www.inthe00s.com/index.php/topic,13568.0.html

and now what I have here.

:o


Perhaps I said it best when I mentioned parody "flow":

"Syllable counts, rhyming, stresses on the correct syllables, breaks/pauses, etc. are what I have termed "natural pacing", that is if the parodied words were karaoked there would be few problems in doing so."

I think Stu said it best with this:

"The point of pacing is to remove ALL ambiguity from how the line is stressed, and hopefully this will also mean correct syllable count."

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 03/22/06 at 4:00 am

I agree, Red, but I disagree about becoming more "reasonable" because that implies becoming more lenient.  I think we just become more aware of the subtleties, and of how good bullet-proof pacing can be .  I know I'm tougher on my own pacing now than ever, not reasonable at all, and I'm certainly tougher on myself than when I was a newbie, and thought I had great pacing - which was before I saw stuff from Spaff, Claude, Phil, Johnny D, Kristof, etc. and realised there were higher levels and cleverer tricks.

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Step-chan on 03/22/06 at 2:45 pm


Thanks, Step-Chan - I totally agree.  It's ultimately all about giving a smooth ride to all readers




I do take syllable count into affect first, but I'm actually pretty lienient when I vote on a parody's pacing, it really depends on the song. I'm actually more strict with Nirvana songs when voting than any other band, but that still depends on how hard it is to write a parody to it, if anyone else does a parody of "Beeswax" or "Mrs. Buttersworth", I will be easy on the parody pacing wise because those songs are very hard to get good pacing to the OS, I know from the personal experience of writing parodies to those songs(I've done more than one parody to each of those songs). Same way with any rap songs that I do occasionally vote on as well as certain difficult songs(AIC's Confusion comes to mind).

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: PRobinson on 03/24/06 at 1:17 pm

Interesting stuff. all...Originally - that is when I first started posting here (Nov. 10th, 2003...lol), I ALWAYS counted and marked up a written copy of the OS, line-by-lline with syllable counts at the end of each...and it was a big help in getting started.  And I still  DO make syllable counts...and sometimes mark them...but sometimes I don't - if everything I write just flows out naturally, well, then I just write...and then listen to the OS while I'm reading...and then record a voice overlay to see if it CAN be sung - some words SEEM fine on the page, but when you sing them you find you are unable to transition to the NEXT word in time with the OS word or syllable...the mouth/tongue is just not in place to accomodate...which necessitates some re-writing...Long-story-made-as-short-as-someone-like-me-can-make-it:  Sometimes you need to count and sometimes you don't...each piece has it's own sensibilities...just as the OS does...I often try and use the mood and tone of the original...but sometimes I want to MATCH that to my subject...and other times I want it to be at odds with what I am saying...take a "sweet/sensitive" song and sing "gross" things in it...either treatment can be effective (or not...lol).  There, how's that for straddlilng both(all?)sides of the issue??...Ummm...But, on the other hand........

'bye

pr

Subject: Re: My disallowed reply to Red Ant on my Moody Blues parody

Written By: Stuart McArthur on 03/24/06 at 6:32 pm

That's been my experience too, Paul, which is why I feel that singing it to yourself over the OS is so critical.  And you try to make lines intuitive, but it's hard to account for where each reader will put his/her unique individual stresses. That's why I rarely come down on pacing, because the writers here are so experienced, I know that their lines must have paced for them. 

But accounting for a correct intuitive read from 100% of readers is obviously the Holy Grail of pacing.  You try to achieve it any way you can.  It seems the only mandatory rule is that the "stressed syllable" count matches that of the OS.  After that you try to negotiate the hills, valleys, and thick and sparse terrain of the OS's rhythm, using as wide a variety of tricks as you know (many being learnt from this site).  Correct syllable count can sometimes get lost in this process.

Anyway, on a neighbouring thread, I thought I'd check to see what the professionals do, so I googled "Eat It" - probably Weird Al's best known parody.

After only 6 lines, I'd found the following...

OS:          The Fire's In Their Eyes And Their Words Are Really Clear - 12 syllables (13 if "fire's" counts as 2)
Weird Al's Lyrics:  Well, don't you know that other kids are starving in Japan - 14 syllables

OS:          You Wanna Be Tough, Better Do What You Can        -  11 syllables
Weird Al's Lyrics:  You won't get no dessert 'till you clean off your plate  -  12 syllables

Apparently Weird Al is happy to forgo syllable-count for the greater good of the final product. I reckon we should follow his example.   :)


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