Music and Storytelling

By Limor Shiponi

Cleaning my Outlook I found an email from over a year ago sent to me by a colleague. It had a link in it and a short message “I think you will find this interesting”. Here is what I got and I recommend you give yourself a 20:46 minutes present and watch it through until the end.
Then you are invited to come back and read the rest of this post.
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Fabulous and moving, isn’t it? it sent me back to a work I started during 2002 and never got to conclude because of the bumpy road of life and lack of time or support. So I decided to share the material bit by bit on this blog, hoping you will find it useful (practical parts are embedded later on), hoping to create a conversation that will lead to the conclusion of this work. We’ll see. Soooo…..

Important: This material is copyrighted. Do not copy or distribute any portion of it in any form without expressed permission of the author. Tweeting, facebooking, forwarding – whatever – please do, just keep the material intact, including the credit.

The Musical score and Storytelling

Implying frameworks of Music syntax to synergize the three essential narratives of Storytelling – the Verbal, Vocal and the Motional, in respect with the three facets of Storytelling – the Teller, the Story, the Audience. A new method for coaching and practicing Storytelling.

The Storytelling Renaissance gave birth to a new art, the art of Modern Storytelling. Traditional telling is still going on – a teller, telling his people their stories so they will know who they are, what their traditional cultural inheritance is. But more often does it happen these days that a Storyteller from somewhere tells a story from elsewhere to a multicultural audience. Coaching a modern Storyteller has become a new search.

“The Musical score and Storytelling” is a practice aiming to synergize the three essential narratives of Storytelling – the Verbal, Vocal and the Motional, in respect with the three facets of Storytelling – the Teller, the Story, the Audience, in order to meet new challenges.

Music and Story events are both forms of ‘creating sculptures in time’. In both, comprehension of the whole work by members of the audience fully occurs only after the performance is over and last echoes dissolve into thin air. Performers of both arts have only one take in front of their audiences. They both spin their art in the audience-performer-text triangle, creating inner response by invisible means. Personal interpretation by performers is welcomed in both even when the text should stay intact.

Form, timing, patterns, creating tension and relief, color, subject molding – these are just a few issues in the musical paradigm by which musicians can be evaluated and coached. Music theoreticians and performers have accurately defined the skills researched today by storytelling coaches. Implying this knowledge can generate many benefits for storytellers.

Take “Form” for instance. One of the major criteria for a good storytelling event is the feeling of tight form. The storyteller leads his listeners from one bank of the river to the opposite bank and gives them the feeling of being attended in the right manner throughout the cruise, a feeling of satisfaction and harmony. In Musical practice, good form is introverted through a long period of training. You walk in the footsteps of great masters, until form becomes part of your inner motion, it becomes obvious.

Understanding and practicing musical form can shed light on the process of editing stories and storytelling events. It can help “tailor” tales for tellers and audiences from various cultural backgrounds. Lengthy stories can be unraveled anywhere without loosing tempo. Working with accurate form can help you improvise or even better – recreate the story freshly with any specific group. It can help you memorize a story you’ve heard, or prepare an affective time-limited presentation.

Good parts of this knowledge can serve Storytelling in order to more accurately define what is described today as “natural talent”, “feeling for the audience” or “well, either you’ve got it or not”. This analysis leads to the creation of methods and techniques for coaching modern storytellers, enhancing skills and creating tools for evaluation.

P.S. Much more to come. I’ll be happy to read your thoughts about this brief. Regards, Limor.

4 thoughts on “Music and Storytelling”

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