Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tones of a Text

I read Winder, Reading The Text's Mind. He described tones of a text. Hmmm, does a text really has a tone in it? If so, what are the tones of a text? When we read, we may certainly be conscious of much more than we actually use in our reading. A letter may be blotched, the spacing of the text may vary, a higher proportion of G's may be found in one passage, a sequence of words may have a particular rhythm. These we may perceive, but may choose to ignore, or not, when we read. Carmina figurata --visual patterns made with text-- are good example of how unique qualities can be found.

How about text on computer screen like this before my eyes now (that is units of electronic text that are composed of electronic characters which are so uniform)? Even in the more abstract medium of that electronic text, where the basic tone units are the set of ASCII characters, the possible number of tones is infinite, since even the shortest passage can be taken as the source of a combinatorial explosion which places it at the centre of an infinitely expanding cloud of associated patterns. However, the tones of a text are defined as those qualities that we do indeed wish to consider as fundamental and unanalysable. For example, in many texts we consider alphanumeric characters as unanalysable; we will not analyse them into the bars and curves, or distinguish them according to their pitch in proportional spacing. Hmmm, now I can see how characters combined in such way and performed as tones of a text.

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