Jonathan James visited the Institute for Advanced Studies for a workshop about finding musical ways in to creative writing and the spoken word on 9 May 2014. He is a freelance classical and jazz educator who writes professionally, specialising in libretti for opera.
Creative writers have often taken inspiration from musical form, whether sonatas, fugues or different aspects of Baroque dance. In the Spoken Sonata workshop, participants were given an in-depth appreciation of classical Sonata form from a musician’s perspective. They were then invited to respond to the structures and processes demonstrated in the music as closely as they could within an hour, on a theme of their first sound-related memory.
To close the creative circle, Jonathan offered, in turn, to take any ‘spoken sonatas’ that are posted here and to allow the rhythms and ideas of the poems to
evoke a musical response, as a stand-alone movement, quasi-improvised on the piano. He is looking forward to uploading sound-files if anybody is happy to share their work below.