Every Sentence is a Song

I’ve long said to myself that when I can write or find the right ones, I will post some interesting poems or quotes on this blog to provide a little bit of variety alongside the longer posts you normally get to read. At the moment, I can neither come up with nor locate anything worth uploading – but thankfully, something came to me by chance when I was least expecting it and I decided it was too good not to share. It was this blog, and where to go next with it, that I was pondering when I suddenly remembered a brilliant quote about sentence structure that a teacher had on their wall at school:

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals – sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”

This quote came from a man named Gary Provost, and whilst I’ll have to Google him to find out exactly who he is, his words intrigued me from the moment I first laid eyes on them. As I’ve written before, I’m a mildly capable keyboard player. I’ve been doing my best to improve for four years now, but it’s becoming increasing clear that no matter how much I play, I’ll never be as good a musician as I am a writer. It’s therefore reassuring to know that in Mr Provost’s eyes, we’re all musicians through our respective languages. We’re creating musical pieces of many different shapes and sizes in anything we write, be it a shopping list or an epic novel. And the very nature of language means that we’re often led to use shorter, medium-length and longer sentences in varying quantities, so every day we have an opportunity to be creative and expand our grasp of English in the process. Maybe we won’t even be aware we’re doing it, but think about two of life’s greatest gifts, language and music, combined as one. Isn’t that just something that beggars belief?

Mason

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