Melysmatic Myncis

In How I Escaped My Certain Fate Professor Lee talks at length about the structural technicalities of stand-up comedy. He speaks amiably of a method he calls “O’Briain’s Truncated Appendage”, it’s when comedians tell a joke and then immediately say “So!” or “Errm” or “Ah” after it.

I’ve been thinking about the album AM and what it is about it that makes it pleasurable to listen to. I think it’s to do with when they extend a single syllable of a word and slur it over several notes. I had originally thought I would have to come up with a Stewian labelling for this musical flourish like diversified elongation. But I did a tiny bit of reading and from my limited research I think it may be to do with proper Italian music words. The articulation of a legato (notes tied together), I think it ends up being called melisma (correct me if I’m foolish).

Is there an element to which the Adamic mandate to taxonomise extends to music and stand-up comedy and in fact all art and the burgeoning new techniques therein? I like that moment when I see a repeated artistic thing happening and I don’t know what its called and my task is either to find out what that is that someone has already given a name to — or even better — to pioneer the branding of this newly discovered trend.

Here’s three examples of melisma from AM, I have demonstrated the legato using dashes:

– “I wanna be yoh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ours” (I Wanna Be Yours)

– “…of try-y-y-ing, to kiss you.” (Do I Wanna Know?)

– “From the bottom of your hea-ah-ah-ah-art / the relegation zone.” (One For The Road)




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