The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

More Muhly

Nico Muhly, the terrific composer, is also a terrific blogger. It’s all about the voice. The voice! He’s in the Netherlands—look at the conversational flow, the thinking-out-loud, the high and low:

Dutch is one of those languages I wish I had a quicker time with. I’ve mastered ordering coffee and sparkling water without people switching to English, so, that’s good. There’s something slightly disturbing about the visual scan of the language (I don’t even know what the term is for that: you know when you see a page, or a sign, written in a language and you have an immediate impression of the content of the text? This works also in your native language: look at a page from, like, Dickens, and you can sort of get the Shudder of the Text, or whatever, anyway, what I mean is that some languages, like French, always seem to bear a melismatic philosophy behind the page; German, an authority, Amharic, a crooked delight…) … with Dutch what I get is a sort of childlike pornography: hoog, sneeuwt, poesje, standplaats.

It might seem like I’m overreacting, but no, this is a really good blog post, and they’re often like this.

“Amharic, a crooked delight.” I love it. “The Shudder of the Text”—I’m not even 100% sure what that means, but I love it, too. I want to write a story called “The Shudder of the Text.”

This post is also ace.

And Nico Muhly’s music is, of course, also great.


I too love Muhly’s blogging, & his music, too; he’s the Ned Rorem of our time.

I get melismatic philosophy from Amharic, though, and a bit of crooked delight leaking through the French, so I don’t know what he’s talking about there.

One thing that delights me about spoken Dutch is that if you tune out just a little bit—sort of let yourself go cross-eared—it sounds like English. They’re close enough to give a taste of the pre-Babel alienated affinity.

“Cross-eared”! That’s Muhly-caliber language!

That’s such a fun thing to do — and so brain-bending — for English, at least (the only language I know, rats): to try to listen to the sounds and not the words. From English, I get a lot of hrmm-hrmm rumbles punctuated by sharp hisses. The ‘ess’ seems like a signature English thing. Rumble-rumble-ESS rumble-rumble-ESS.

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