The music of grammar

G-Space evolved from a cross-like, bi-dimensional notation (originally named “Crux Logica”) into the Tower of Bubble. This is what Crux Logica looked like:


And in this pdf is an example of how it could be used.

Tower of Bubble, instead, is inspired by a musical score: you can write the text (lyrics) underneath and, above each word, the grammatical symbol that represents it. The positioning of the bubbles on the pentagram represents a simplified logical analysis (syntax of the cases).

The evolution of Crux Logica into Tower of Bubble did not happen suddenly or by chance. There were two main issues with crux logica:

– representation was limited to logical analysis;

– as you “graphically positioned” the text according to grammar, you lost the order of the words from the original text.

One day towards the end of 2013, I read an article about child musical-prodigy Alma Deutscher (YouTube | Wikipedia). At that time, I had just finished reading The Unfolding of Language, a fascinating and insightful book written by Alma’s father, Guy Deutscher.

My brain must have put two and two together (Language and Music) because, a couple of weeks later, I decided that Crux Logica could be represented with a musical score. Not only would that resolve my issues, but there was also plenty of music-writing software available, which would have made it easy to “compose” analytical representations of grammar on any text.

This provided the added bonus that you could also “play” it: …a truly synaesthetic experience! With my enthusiasm renewed, I spent a few weeks dabbling with musical software prior to opting for a more targeted, purpose-built notation: the Tower of Bubble.

Ultimately, I wanted to stay focused on visualisation and optimised notation rather than euphony: the challenge with music was to think about how best to represent grammar with notes in a way that it actually sounded good! I eventually decided that this task would be best served by a more experienced musician who could focus on the music.

Tower of Bubble allowed me to make the most of Crux Logica and music for my purposes: a simpler notation that would permit spatial visualisation whilst preserving word order. So… even if I abandoned the musical representation at this stage (until a geeky musician volunteers to help!) I thought it would be nice to share this part of the journey:

– here is a musical representation of the grammar of the initial verses of the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Aeneid: MusicEpics

– here is a summary of the grammatical rules I was looking to represent:


– …now hear the beginning of the Iliad… you can see why I think a musician should be able to do a better job: click here!

Want to try Tower of Bubble (ToB)? Download the Template | Cheat Sheet (Key Symbols)

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