27 June 2007

Gibberish 101

In class yesterday we learned about gibberish. You would think there is not much to learn about gibberish--just open your vocal chords and flap your lips--but in fact it is not so simple. Compelling gibberish must be backed by emotion, and ideally you have meaningful phrases in mind as you utter meaningless ones. You might want your gibberish to sound like a particular foreign language; certainly you want to appear in all other respects to be saying meaningful things.

There is something liberating about spouting gibberish but like all things in improv, what seems like complete freedom works better when you throw some structure around it (e.g., specific emotion and mental translation). Otherwise after a while you feel lost: emoting hard, but not getting anywhere.

Today, though, out shopping, I found myself singing (softly) in gibberish, and there was nothing lost about it. Just delightful. I suppose it's like scat singing: the music is itself the structure.

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