The Festival provides the most famous of Edinburgh’s word-and-music experiences.
But Edinburgh is the perfect place all year round for the word-and-music enthusiast. Its libraries in both areas are excellent and convivial. Throughout the year there are innumerable and highly accessible concerts, theatrical performances, and research seminars to stimulate reflection on words, music, and what they might have to do with each other. There is a small and tightly-knit community of postgraduate students at the University of Edinburgh whose work is centred on word and music studies, and a considerably larger network of people with a keen interest in the topic, from all angles, and from departments including Music, English Literature, several modern European languages, Comparative Literature, and Translation Studies.
At taught MSc level, a focus for this interest is provided by Peter Dayan’s course on Poetry, Music and Translation. In this course, we study poems on the theme of music, originally written in languages other than English. We examine the theme of music in the poem, we ask how the poem itself might be considered musical, and then we look at what happens to the music in those poems when they are translated into English. This course has inspired many students to continue with Word and Music studies in their dissertations, or at PhD level.
Word and Music Studies is also a key intellectual component of the Edge of Words, a major five-year research project:
This article was published on Mar 1, 2013