Yesterday I posted resources to help get you started thinking about literary translation. When an author translates a text into her native language, she must be flexible with language and ideas in order to convey, as much as possible, meaning and form.
Today I challenge you to translate music – preferably a piece without words – into a poem. You could also try a piece in a language that you don’t speak.
Listen to the song several times and consider the story that is being told through the individual instruments, rhythms and tones. If necessary, close your eyes and truly listen to the music. If you can, try to follow the voices of the various instruments. For example, consider what the piano has to say and its relationship to the flute. A narrative or emotion will emerge.
Your task is to describe the narrative and/or emotion in your free-write. Write for ten minutes without stopping and see what emerges. Afterwards, read through your writing and underline the sections that you’d like to explore further.
Would you share your result with us in the Comments section below?