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Author Topic: Splitting phrases  (Read 3268 times)
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« on: December 09, 2014, 01:19:53 PM »

Assuming there is probably a pause after the end of each line, how bad is it to separate the parts of a phrase in different lines?

For instance, is the following construction really bad?
"And so I face
the final curtain"

I know Pat Pattison recommends not using transitive verbs on rhyming positions, and it severely limits our verb options. But how bad is it really?
I understand that he is trying to prevent us to sound like Yoda, but we hava another option, also disapproved: we can finish the phrase in the next line.

Do you feel like your comprehension of the sentence is really injured by doing that (or other types of phrase splitting)?
If so, it seems to me that any longer note or note+pause should damage the comprehension flow.

For instance:
"In sleep he sang to me
In dreams he came" (in the Phantom of the Opera)

sounds pretty much like

"In sleep he sang
to me
In dreams
he came"

I feel like there is something missing about the rule of avoiding phrase splitting. Doesn't seem so bad when you see the practical effects.

And since, as says Pat Pattison, to have more options means the bless of being able to say NO, and this is a stronger guideline (one that relativizes the need for perfect rhymes!), I'd like to know everyone's opinion about splitting the parts of a single phrase among 2 or more lines.

PS.: Sorry for any english mistake. Although I study Pat Pattison's books, I'm brazilian (and I'm able to apply almost everything he teaches to portuguese language as well. His knowledge useful everywhere).
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2015, 06:52:36 AM »

Hi gollun!

In my opinion, I like how you split the phrases in both examples you gave, and want to do that with my lyrics as well. In reading Pat P's books, watching his youtube lectures, etc. I've found that the best thing to do is to take what resonates with you and your writing style. The tips and lessons learned should be more constructive than prescriptive, is what I think!

Anyways, I like the phrase splitting because to me it reminds me of something I learned in a creative writing class about poetry: depending on what word the line ends on, the effect can be very expansive.

For example:

I stop to reflect in the mirror
lake of the same damned mistakes
I made this time last summer

Ending a line on a certain word can often have an expansive effect! From the first line, imagery of the speaker looking at themselves in a mirror suddenly transforms into imagery of the speaker looking out at the lake kind of zoning out on the memories made there last summer. So first we get mirror imagery which then expands to lake imagery. So that's my input on phrase splitting! Feel free to respond and exchange more ideas!
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2015, 12:36:46 PM »

That's a very nice insight, bluish! Cool stuff.

What else can a pause do, in your opinion? When it finishes on transitive verbs, I think they help creating expectative for what comes next (just as an even number of phrases would, but in a semantic level only).

In your expansive effect example, I think there are 2 important things to consider:
1) A spotlight turns on over the starting word in the seccond phrase ("lake").
2) The greater the pause inside the phrase, the more we should keep other musical elements open (phrase length/number, rhythm, tone, harmony, etc.) in order to prevent the pause from hampering our comprehension (or letting it create an awkward feel). What do you think?
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