Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Music without Words, pray for us" (instrumental, or not)

The Poetry Scores blog is intended for edification and amusement on some days, and on other days it's pretty much a gigbook: a place to make a note I'll need for reference later. This is a gigbook note, though I'll try to make it interesting for any regular readers who peaked in at evidence of an update.

What I need to gigbook is another phrase from Joyce's Ulysses, which we aim to score in snatches, that wants to be the title of an instrumental. Joyce certainly tee'd this one up for us, since the phrase is "Music without Words, pray for us".

The phrase appears in what David Hayman describes as "a litany of Bloom's adventures sung by the 'Daughters of Erin'":
Kidney of Bloom, pray for us.
Flower of Bath, pray for us.
Mentor of Menton, pray for us.
Canvasser of the Freeman, pray for us.
Charitable Mason, pray for us.
Wandering Soap, pray for us.
Sweets of Sin, pray for us.
Music without Words, pray for us.
Reprover of the citizen, pray for us.
Friend of all Frillies, pray for us.
Midwive Most Merciful, pray for us.
Potato Preservative against Plague and Pestilence, pray for us.

Come to think of it, as perverse as Joyce is in most instances, we should probably score that litany as a rock song. It would be quite Joycean to give the title "Music without Words, pray for us" to a song with words.

In that case, clearly, the solo - the music without words - would have to come right after the phrase "Music without Words, pray for us". And, indeed, doing the math, that is the eighth line, with four lines following - which is to say, exactly where the solo would fall, after the second verse and before the third.

You end up with a very classic in-built song structure:
* Four lines (verse)
* Four more lines (verse, ending on "Music without Words ...")
* Solo (the music without words)
* Four last lines - ending on enigmatic phrase that would be fun, really fun, to sing as an outro.

Like the millions of people before me who, for whatever reason, and in whatever ways, dove into Ulysses and began to play around, I often end up with the disquieting feeling that Joyce left a trail to lead me here, and I can hear his smart ass laughter at the business end of his ashplant!

Pray for us.

More in this series

"SIGNOR MAFFEI: (With a sinister smile)"
"Sad music" (instrumental)
"Monkey puzzle" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"What kind of a present to give"
"Fires in the houses of poor people" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"Christfox in leather trews" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"All future plunges to the past" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"She was humming" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"Silly billies:" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"Happy Happy" (Fuller, Joyce, King)
"A sugarsticky girl" (Joyce, King, A Better Guitar Player Than Me)
"Everybody eating everyone else" (Joyce, King, You)
"Blood not mine" (Joyce, King, Your Name Here)
"Sell your soul for that" (Joyce, King, Your Name Here)
"Over the motley slush" (Joyce, King, Whoever Helps Me)
"My childhood bends" (Joyce, King)"
"Don't you play the giddy ox with me!" (Joyce, King)


Prayer tattoo by Enrique Patino.

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