Monday, January 25, 2010

Phrasing Musings

Phrasing Musings
Submitted by Peggy Hackney - October 6, 2000

Over the past several years in the Integrated Movement Studies Cert. Programs, we have been dealing with Phrasing in the following ways: (mostly this sequence is in relation to Effort Phrasing)

A) We generally begin with the general sense that movement happens in phrases, i.e., perceivable units of movement which are in some sense meaningful. They begin and end, while containing a through line. We play the "Begin-End" game (Bob Dunn is with me in my thoughts always as we play this game.) We get a sense for personal preference in terms of phrase length (how long are the phrases?) and begin to sense how we distinguish phrase boundaries (how many phrases?). In later observation blow-by-blow analysis my sense is that we will never get inter-observer reliability unless we agree on the number of phrases, so this could probably use more discussion. We use the bow shown in 1a.

B) We generally next start to notice if there is an emphasis in the phrasing, or if the phrasing is non-emphatic.

(My memory is that we decided to call it "Phrase Emphasis" in 1980 at the Hampshire College LIMS conference. We decided to call it Beginning Emphasis, Middle Emphasis, and End Emphasis, rather than the former Impulse, Swing, Impact. We use the bow in 2a with either the indication in 2b or in 2c. Ann Hutchinson Guest (in Your Move) says these marks refer to the quantity of energy used. 2b equals a strong accent; 2c equals a slight accent. "These are brief moments that immediately die away." IMS generally feels that these marks are associated with some aspect of Weight and Time Effort (2d). We also briefly considered (in 1998) using the dot in 2e,f,g for emphasis of a general kind (as Marian North does with her specific Effort constellations, as in 2h), but at that point in 1998 we decided to stay with the marks in 2b and c even though they were a bit more specific at this stage in phrase learning.

C) I generally then teach, through sounding, the general idea of Increasing and Decreasing energy within a phrase -- or remaining relatively constant.

D) We then teach the Increase-Decrease Phrase-type bows --and we do teach all of the Phrase-types that Vera Maletic suggested in her paper entitled "The Identification of Phrasing Types in Movement and Dance" (1983). We decided, however, to use the line to close the symbol (as suggested by Charlotte Wile in her Motif manuscript); i.e., we use 3a and 3b rather than 3c and 3d because we feel they are clearer as Phrase-Type bows. We then use 3c when we want to put a specific effort constellation that is increasing, as in 3e.

In teaching these generalized symbols (3f,g,h etc.), we notice that students feel an increase or decrease in more than just Effort. For instance, they might tend to use those symbols when the Kinesphere size is increasing or decreasing, or when the level of the movement is changing, or when more of the body is involved. Let's discuss this!

In relation to Effort, however, we feel an emphasis is created by an increase in energy due to:
a. Loading, as in 3i.
b. Intensity, as in 3j.
c. Change of Effort (often reversal of Effort within the same Factor, as in 3k).

E) We then do further explorations of accenting and move on to much more detailed blow by blow Effort Phrasing. We often don't have enough time to do this kind of detailed work and I would love to do more of it with colleagues.

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