Today I properly noticed something that I had never given any consideration to before. I was decorating a small poster with a sharpie, repeatedly writing the word, “NOW” on it in capital letters. Then, the music-orientated part of brain tuned in.
I started noticing the rhythm of the sound my marker made.
Because I was writing the same word quickly, so many times, the way I wrote it suddenly became apparent. I realised that nobody writes evenly with a pen or pencil. When we form the symbols there is usually a slight pause between words, as we leave a gap.
There is also an audible space between individual letters, especially when we are writing in capitals. As our ears tune in further, we notice that even in the forming of a single letter, there are parts when the pen moves quickly or smoothly, and parts where it is slower.
As I repeatedly wrote the word, “NOW” on my poster, I heard the pattern of it: The differences in volume and pitch, the spaces between and within the letters. It was the same each time – an instrumental mantra of Sharpie on photo gloss paper.
When I’m writing a letter that includes a quick upstroke, like how I form,”N” or “W” the upstroke sounds slightly softer and more high-pitched than the rest. With “O” the sound of my pen on the paper gets quieter as it goes up and round because I relax the pressure with which I’m holding the pen, before lifting it off the paper to form the next letter.
Because we write so fast, often automatically, we must specifically tune in to hear these phrases. But when we do tune in, we are rewarded with music!
Today, I decided to take that literally. I picked up my guitar and strummed to the rhythm of my capital “NOW.” I played the exact same pattern I had heard myself writing on paper. This time, I had chords. I made the upstrokes quieter in the same way that they had been quieter when I was writing on the poster, and left short gaps between the “letters,” – which were translated to upstrokes and downstrokes on the guitar.
The result was what felt what like a more natural strumming pattern.
The rhythm seemed more, “me.” Because it came directly from my inbuilt movements, there was just something about it that resonated on a deeper level – if you’ll excuse the pun. I simply liked what I heard. And I really do reckon it’s because it came from within.
Now, I wonder whether other people would agree that the strumming pattern sounded more “organic,” or whether that feeling is specific to the person from whom the rhythm originated. Going by this theory, we would all have different beats inside us; we all form letters differently. You probably have a different way of writing, “A” to the one I have. Maybe you create the frame of it first, while I create the bar of it.You and I will have our individual speeds and volumes. If we all have different rhythms inside us, what sounds “natural” or “right” to each of us could very well be different.
Have you ever written a page, and at the same time, listened to the sound your pen or pencil made on the paper? Have you noticed patterns in the way you write different words? It could be a fun exercise if you’re up for it! Or, if you want to go a step further, you could grab an instrument as well. This could be a fine tool for overcoming musician’s block and creating songs.
Have you ever been surprised by how musical something “normal” and “everyday” sounded? What was it?
I look forward to being ridiculed upon the reading of this post 🙂