Studia Metrica et Poetica 2020-04-29T13:43:39+03:00 Maria-Kristiina Lotman Open Journal Systems <p><em>Studia Metrica et Poetica</em><em> is</em> a biannual peer-reviewed journal of prosody and poetics. The main aim of the journal is to publish papers devoted to the comparative-historical and typological issues, but various questions of verbal art and descriptions of the individual creation of different authors are addressed as well.</p> <p>One volume in two fascicles is published each year.</p> <p><em>Studia Metrica et Poetica</em> is indexed in Web of Science Core Collection (Clarivate Analytics).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Performing Mediaeval Hebrew Poetry 2020-04-29T13:43:39+03:00 Reuven Tsur <p>This is an instrumental exploration of theoretical issues related to the vocal performance of Mediaeval Hebrew pegs-and-cords meter, of which we have neither authentic recordings, nor verbal descriptions of actual performances of the time. Consequently, I am exploring only <em>possibilities</em> implied by poetic structures as embodied in later performances, not in <em>actual authentic</em> performances. But, in my earlier writings, I have extensively explored similar issues in English, Hungarian and modern Hebrew poetry, as recorded by experienced readers. The pegs-and-cords meter is a unique quantitative system based on systematic (not necessarily regular) alternation of <em>schwa mobile</em> and full vowels. The time ratio between the two is supposed to be 1:2, 1:3 or 1:4. Some scholars believe that in Jewish Yemenite liturgy the authentic performance has been preserved. This article is focused on one brief liturgical masterpiece by Shlomo Ibn Gabirol, submitting to computer analysis a modern recital of it, and a sung performance of a Yemenite master. Regarding the correspondence of language and versification, eleventh-century Hebrew poets explicitly distinguished between two possibilities: word endings may or may not coincide with the ending of a metric foot. I have investigated on the computer whether it is possible to convey continuation and discontinuation at the same time by a single voice, where word endings and metricfoot endings do not coincide. Neither performer observed the conflicting endings consistently, but both provided evidence that it <em>is possible</em> to identify the problems and solve them by vocal manipulation. In the Yemenite masters’ performances, computer measurements could not establish that the schwas are consistently shorter than the vowels. Furthermore, poetic rhythm requires the simultaneous perception of two versification levels at least: a wider unit (the verse line or a hemistich), and the metric feet that divide it. Psychologically, simultaneous presence implies being contained within the same span of short-term memory. In the Yemenite masters’ performances, the wider units exceed by far the span of short-term memory, owing to repetition of phrases and drawn-out embellishments, so that the poems’ rhythms could not be preserved. In the 16th–17th century there were Jewish musicians in Western Europe who composed liturgic music in the baroque tradition, some of it to pegs-and-cord texts. In a brief pilot I point out the differences in aesthetic conception between this baroque music and the Yemenite master. Finally, Mediaeval poets treated a schwa+vowel as a unit called “peg”. Here the question of psychological reality arises. The issue at stake is whether two immediately-observable constituents <em>can</em> be experienced at a more abstract level as one unit. The precedent of what generative metrists call “disyllabic occupancy of metrical position” in English poetry suggests a positive answer. “Power” at the end of an iambic line may be perceived as occupying one or two metrical positions. Computer analysis shows systematic acoustic diff erences between instances in which two syllables occupy one or two positions. We cannot know, however, what was actually the case with the peg, since we do not know how it was performed; in this respect, we have demonstrated only a <em>possibility</em>.</p> 2019-12-31T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) Rhythmical Ambiguity: Verbal Forms and Verse Forms 2020-04-29T13:43:39+03:00 Igor Pilshchikov <p>In undertaking the statistical analysis of the rhythm of Russian syllabic-accentual verse, one confronts a problem: how to accentuate words whose natural-language stress is weaker than that of fully-stressed words. Zhirmunsky called such words “ambiguous” and formulated a rule: they should be considered stressed in “strong” (ictic) positions and unstressed in “weak” (non-ictic) positions. Gasparov, who accepted and elaborated on Zhirmunsky’s rule, pointed out that “this difference in the quality of stress in strong positions [...] has a significant impact on the rhythm of verse, especially that of ternary meters.” The main point of the present paper is that this ambiguity equally impacts Russian binary meters. In the case of iambic tetrameter, for example, fully-stressed lines that contain rhythmically ambiguous words are often isomorphic with the predominating rhythmical form. In the present paper, this phenomenon is explored in connection with Jakobson’s hypothesis that rhythmically ambiguous words gravitate toward “weak” (i.e. less frequently stressed) ictuses. Although Jakobson’s view of accentual ambiguity was different from Zhirmunsky’s, and Jakobson’s calculation was, in fact, methodologically inaccurate, a cross-pollination of their approaches may prove fruitful.</p> 2019-12-31T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) The semiotics of verse rhythm and comparative rhythmics: Vladimir Nabokov’s and Jurgis Baltrušaitis’s binary tetrameters from a typological perspective 2020-04-29T13:43:38+03:00 Mihhail Lotman <p>The article discusses the problems of poetic rhythm in two aspects. The first concerns the possibility of awareness and conscious modelling of various aspects of poetic rhythm; the second is related to the manifestation of similar or even identical tendencies in the rhythmic structures of various authors who belong to different eras and literary trends and even writing in different languages. Works from bilingual authors such as Vladimir Nabokov and Jurgis Baltrušaitis are of the particular interest.</p> <p>The first half of the article focuses on how the concept of rhythm proposed in the book by Andrei Bely (1910) influenced the poetic practice. Before Bely, it had been implicit that the choice of stanzaic and metric forms was usually conscious for authors, while Bely demonstrated that poets and their audience can be aware of verse rhythm as well. After the publication of his results, Bely and other poets of a predominantly Symbolist approach began to pay attention to the rhythmic structure of the verse and made attempts to model it. Considered are the following problems: a) how do poetic meters relate to rhythmic forms; b) to what extent can the rhythmic momentum be recognized by the author, and to what extent can the author influence it; and c) how can the author compose verses in accordance with a pre-selected rhythmic model.</p> <p>In the second half of the article, the rhythm of iambic and trochaic tetrameters in Russian poetic heritage of Jurgis Baltrušaitis is analysed in comparison with the rhythm of his Lithuanian verses. As it turns out, despite the obvious differences in the prosody of the Lithuanian and Russian languages, the rhythmic structure of his poems obeys the same regularities.</p> <p>In the final part of the article, possible explanations of rhythmic patterns are proposed and an outline of the typology of the rhythm of the binary tetrameters is given.</p> 2019-12-31T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) Poetic metre as a function of language: linguistic grounds for metrical variation in Estonian runosongs 2020-04-29T13:43:38+03:00 Mari Sarv <p>The article focuses on the relationship of language and metre in case of oral poetry, more exactly, to what extent and through which processes the changes in language have induced the changes in metre in case of Estonian runosong, a branch of common Finnic poetic-musical tradition. The Estonian language has gone through a series of notable phonological changes during approximately last 500 to 700 years that have systematically shortened the word forms; the extent of these changes varies across dialects. At the same time the language of runosongs has partly resisted these changes, and partly adopted; the archaic and new word forms are in concurrent use, and vary geographically. The metre of Estonian runosongs appears to be a transitional form from quantitative runosong metre (Kalevala metre) to the accentual runosong metre (both of them syllabic metres). The current study shows that the transition depends directly on the average syllabic length of the words in runosongs (the longer the words, the more quantitative the metre, and vice versa), which in turn is induced by the shortening of words in dialectal language. The closer look at the points of tensions between the metre and language, i.e. the geographical distribution of the morphological forms that are critical for building the verses in quantitative metre and have been systematically retained in runosongs (but shortened in language) shows that in two metrically innovative areas runosongs have given up preserving the archaic word forms, while in big central area between a linguistically and metrically conservative centre in the North-East of Estonia and two innovation centres in Western and Southeastern Estonia the archaic and newer word forms are used concurrently. The slight difference between the metre of western and southeastern runosongs follows the prosodic patterns of dialectal language.</p> <p>The side topic of the article discusses the questions of the evolution of runosong in the light of newer theories of emergence of Finnic languages (in the first millennium BC) and poetic system of runosongs, but apparently the metrical variation of runosong is entirely explicable by the impact of much later language changes (approximately 500 to 700 years ago) and seems not to be able to answer the questions related to the emergence of the poetic tradition.</p> 2019-12-31T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c) Plotting Poetry 3. Conference report 2020-04-29T13:43:37+03:00 David J. Birnbaum Anne-Sophie Bories Thomas N. Haider Mari Sarv <p>Plotting Poetry 3. Conference report</p> 2019-12-31T00:00:00+02:00 Copyright (c)