Friday, April 15, 2011

Pink Floyd's "A Pillow of Winds" and My iPod's Abject Inability to Pronounce Its Title Correctly

Pink Floyd Meddle Album CoverFrom the "Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy" file . . . .

Ever since I got III (or Jr. Jr., as I sometimes call him) with his fancy voice over software, I've gotten an intermittent kick from his fairly frequent misprononunced bandnames and titles.

I've got lots of Les Baxter loaded up into the library, so it's pretty commonplace for me to hear it give Mr. Baxter's first name the French pronunciation, Les as in Les Halles or Les Miserables.

The instrumental postrock band from Athens who had both the good humor and the audacity to name one of their songs "Synchronicity III" isn't Maserati to my poor benighted iPod, it's mah-SAIR-a-TEE, the stress accents exactly backwards from what they should be, and the S as in Sam and not as in . . . well, Maserati.

Soft Machine Volume TwoIt's something I'm used to by now, and I find the software's flaws more amusing than annoying, but this morning while driving into work, though it absolutely aced "Hibou, Anemone and Bear," there issued forth from his digital lips a mispronunciation of a somewhat more mundane if still somewhat poetic title that got me thinking.

The song playing was "A Pillow of Winds," which I love for David Gilmour's preternaturally trippy voice and the way it descends dizzily when singing "Green fields, a cold rain/ Is falling in a golden dawn."

But the name of the tune if not the band and the album escaped me for some reason, so I hit the voice over button, there, as I drove down NW 37th Avenue in the battle-scarred Toyota, and III told me that the song was "A Pillow of Winds," as in winds-your-watch.

This bugs me more than usual, and I'll tell you why.

It's the word before the mispronounced one that gets me going, because the word "of" is NOT mispronounced. So, clearly, some programmer went in there and put in a line of code which says that the two letters O and F next to each other but off by themselves will be pronounced "uhhv."

Good so far. But "of," in addition to always being pronounced with an "uhh" and with a "v," will also ALWAYS be used ahs a preposition--and therefore will always take an object after itself.

And the word that Roger Waters spells as W-I-N-D-S is only an object if it's pronounced with the short i.

Does it seem too much to expect this voice over software--this CHEAP voiceover software, mind you--to keep track of parts of speech in addition to the sounds of letters?

No, I don't think it does.

Maybe in Spanish, everything's phonetic, but in English, sound and meaning ebb and flow in concert with each other. Meaning determines sound and vice-versa.

So, if you're trying to actually reflect the language that both Pink Floyd et moi customarily work in, and you're already putting in a subroutine that tells Jr. Jr. how to pronounce his fucking prepositions, I figure you can damn well include a library of nouns to use as their objects, at the very least.

</rant> the book falls to the floor

Pink Floyd - Meddle - 02 - A Pillow Of Winds.mp3

File under: Songs Named After Mah Jong Hands

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very damn funny.