|SignWriting List Forum|
Valerie Sutton |
Date: Sun Oct 10, 1999 3:34 am
Subject: Re: Writing vs drawing
On Thu, 7 Oct 1999, Fernando wrote:
> research studies have established that Language (whether sign language,
>spoken language, alphabetic writing, sign writing) is
> processed by the dominant (usually left) cerebral hemisphere, whereas
>Imagery (whether visuo-spatial such as iconic
> drawings, proprioceptive such as corepgraphic dances, auditory such as
>melodies) is processed by the dominant (usually right)
October 9, 1999
Thank you, Fernando, for your eloquent and informative message....I am
still enjoying reading it, paragraph by paragraph!
So language is processed on the left side of the brain, whether it is a
spoken language, or a visual language like a signed language. That is an
important finding, because years ago people assumed that signed languages
must be right-brained because they are visual....and that apparently wasn't
true. And it makes sense...because learning a signed language, and becoming
fluent in it, is the same experience as learning a spoken language. And
that experience is not the same as art.....
But the issue of DanceWriting is an interesting one...it is only natural
for people to assume that writing dance would be like experiencing art,
since dance itself is art...but it is actually quite the
opposite...Dancewriters are rarely dancers themselves- a dance notator, or
a "movement writer" is more like a scribe....writing dance is methodical
and un-artistic work.
This reminds me of a time when I was teaching DanceWriting at the Boston
Conservatory of Music. I had around 50 students yearly, required to learn
DanceWriting in their freshman year in the Dance Department. They were also
required to learn to read and write music.
I remember one of my new students looked at DanceWriting for the first
time, and said: "I am going to flunk this class, because I am not an artist
and I cannot draw".
So when the class started I told my 50 students that if DanceWriting was
based on the ability to draw, I not only would never have invented it, but
I never "could" have invented it...because I cannot draw either. I
explained that I don't have the patience for drawing because it doesn't
have structure. It just isn't the same as writing....and I like to write.
So I then pointed out to the class, that when Mozart wrote his musical
scores, he did not "draw music". Mozart "wrote music"....and his scores
were mathematical and structured...
So I argued that when we watch a dance, or listen to music - that is not
the same as writing. That is art and that is "experiencing". Or when a
person composes music, without writing it down ...that too is not the same
But when you take a pen and you are concerned with the exact symbolic
writing of every nuance of the music, I sincerely believe that the brain
switches into "the neuropsychological writing mode" that you mention
above. People who transcribe musical scores with ink pens fourteen hours in
a row, as they did before musical typewriters, were processing information
like any other writer.
So experiencing or composing dance or music is most likely right-brained,
but the physical act of transcribing music scores, and thick DanceWriting
scores "feels like writing" to me...
And that is why I stress to others, that we have "writing rules", and not
Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA