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Learn English through Hip-Hop & Shakespeare?

September 5, 2016

 

(Bấm vào đây để chọn bài học kế tiếp)

 

0:05

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

0:06

If I could request the resetting of the clock, it's on at four minutes at the moment,

0:10

I presume from the one before... Fantastic!

0:12

Okay! So, my name is Akala,

0:14

I'm from the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company.

0:16

And before we get into the philosophy of our work,

0:19

what that means, what the intention is behind it,

0:21

I'm going to challenge you guys to a little bit of a pop quiz.

0:24

And we've done this pop quiz quite a few times,

0:26

we'll talk about it after we do it.

0:27

I'm gonna simply tell you some quotes.

0:30

One line quotes, taken either from some of my favorite hip hop songs,

0:34

or some of my favorite Shakespearean plays or sonnets.

0:36

And you're gonna tell me by show of hands,

0:39

whether you think it's hip hop or Shakespeare.

0:42

(Laughter)

0:43

Does that make sense? Okay.

0:45

So the first one we'll go for is:

0:47

"To destroy the beauty from which one came."

0:51

"To destroy the beauty from which one came."

0:55

If you think that's hip hop, raise your hands please.

1:00

If that's Shakespeare, raise your hands please.

1:02

Brilliant, okay, that's 70 percent towards Shakespeare.

1:06

It's from a gentleman known as Sean Carter, better known as Jay-Z,

1:10

from a track called "Can I live?"

1:12

We'll go for another one.

1:14

"Maybe it's hatred I spew, maybe it's food for the spirit."

1:19

"Maybe it's hatred I spew, maybe it's food for the spirit."

1:25

Hip hop?

1:29

Shakespeare?

1:32

Getting overwhelmingly towards Shakespeare. Interesting.

1:35

Anyone heard of a gentleman known as Eminem?

1:38

(Laughter)

1:39

He's not Shakespeare.

1:41

That's from a track Eminem did with Jay-Z actually, called "Renegade."

1:43

We'll go for a couple more.

1:45

"Men would rather use their broken weapons than their bare hands."

1:50

"Men would rather use their broken weapons than their bare hands."

1:56

Hip hop?

2:00

Shakespeare?

2:02

Pretty even spread with a Shakespearean lean.

2:05

That one is from Shakespeare, it's from a play known as "Othello."

2:09

We go for:

2:11

"I was not born under a rhyming planet."

2:14

"I was not born under a rhyming planet."

2:20

Hip hop?

2:24

Shakespeare?

2:26

That one is Shakespeare. It's from "Much Ado about Nothing."

2:29

We go for two more.

2:31

We go for:

2:32

"The most benevolent king communicates through your dreams."

2:37

"The most benevolent king communicates through your dreams."

2:43

Hip hop?

2:47

Shakespeare?

2:49

Ah, fifty-fifty there.

2:51

A gentleman known as the RZA who's the head of the Wu-Tang Clan.

2:54

We're gonna be revisiting the Wu-Tang later, we'll be talking about him a lot.

2:57

He's one of the main exponents of hip hop philosophy,

3:00

someone, or a collective, that had a huge influence on me.

3:03

But we'll revisit them.

3:05

Last quote of the day. Let's go for...

3:08

"Socrates, philosophies and hypotheses can't define."

3:14

"Socrates, philosophies and hypotheses can't define."

3:18

Hip hop?

3:21

Shakespeare?

3:24

Overwhelmingly towards hip hop. And that one, that is hip hop.

3:26

That's Wu-Tang again, that's from a man named Inspectah Deck.

3:29

Interestingly, that quote comes from a single, or track,

3:32

known as "Triumph" from the album "Wu-Tang Forever."

3:35

"Wu-Tang Forever" was the first hip-hop album to go number one in this country.

3:39

So that was what made hip hop cross over with this kind of lyricism,

3:42

but we're gonna revisit that a little later and revisit the Wu-Tang, as I said.

3:47

So, as you can see, it wasn't as clear-cut as many of us may have thought.

3:52

The language used, the subjects spoken about,

3:55

various things make it very, very difficult once the context is taken away,

3:58

once our perception is taken away,

4:00

and we have to look at just the raw language of the two art forms.

4:04

And don't worry, we've done that exercise over 400 times,

4:07

and as of yet, no-one has got them all right.

4:09

Not even some of the most senior professors

4:12

at some of the most respected Shakespearean institutions in the country,

4:15

I shan't name names. (Laughter)

4:18

But needless to say: it's challenged a lot of people's perceptions

4:21

and we extend from that, we look at some of the other parallels

4:24

between hip hop and Shakespeare,

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at some of the other things they share.

4:27

One of the main things that is shared between the two is of course rhythm.

4:30

Iambic pentameter -- dee-dum, dee-dum, dee-dum, dee-dum, dee-dum.

4:34

Five sets, two beats, it's actually a wonderful rhythm

4:37

to use in hip hop music and translates in a way

4:40

that even artists writing today find difficult.

4:42

What do I mean by that?

4:44

It's very difficult to take, even as an MC, who is a professional MC,

4:47

a lyric written over a grime beat,

4:49

grime is a 140 bpm. Very, very fast tempo.

4:53

And then take that same lyric and put it on a...

4:55

what we consider to be a traditional hip hop beat, 70-80 bpm.

5:00

A very, very difficult skill. Even writing now,

5:02

with the music to hand.

5:03

Yet, the iambic pentameter allows us to do just that.

5:08

I'll show you what I mean rather than tell you. So listen up.

5:17

Cue music please.

5:20

(Music)

5:22

What you're about to hear, some of you may know of it,

5:25

some of you may not.

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It's Shakespeare's most famous poem, Sonnet 18.

5:30

I haven't adopted it to make it fit to the rhythm, but just listen close.

5:34

Okay. Yo.

5:38

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

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Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

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Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

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And summer's lease hath all too short a date:

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Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,

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And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;

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And every fair from fair sometime declines,

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By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;

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But thy eternal summer shall not fade

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Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;

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Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

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When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:

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So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

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So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

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So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

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So long lives this and this gives life to thee."

6:16

(Applause)

6:17

Now as you can see, it sits right there in the rhythm.

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It's right in the pocket of the beat.

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Now we're gonna try a completely different style of beat, different tempo of beat.

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You're gonna see the same lyric, because of this consistent rhythm, can fit.

6:34

Let's try.

6:35

(Music)

6:41

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

6:43

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

6:45

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

6:46

And summer's lease hath all too short a date:

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Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

6:50

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;

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And every fair from fair sometime declines,

6:53

By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;

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But thy eternal summer shall not fade

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Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;

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Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

7:00

When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:

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So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

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So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

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So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

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So long lives this and this gives life to thee."

7:10

(Applause)

7:14

What I'd like you all to do is just put your hand on your heart for a second.

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Now... If you feel your heart,

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hopefully, your heart should be beating in sets of two,

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one off, one on, dee-dum, or an iamb, as we call it.

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If it isn't, I do suggest you consult a doctor as soon as possible.

7:34

But because of that -- you can take your hands off your hearts now --

7:36

But because of that, that's why this rhythm is so intrinsic,

7:39

where, really, music is imitating the rhythm of life, the sounds of life.

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The heartbeat of life.

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And so, this rhythm, iambic pentameter, even though being such a simple rhythm,

7:49

is intrinsic to so many forms of music.

7:51

Other places in the world, they have different sorts of rhythms.

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Like the West-African rhythms, it's on the three,

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people speak in triplets, essentially.

7:58

Well, we found that this rhythm really acts as a mnemonic device,

8:01

for young people to remember the lyrics.

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But also, really, as a way to understand some of what is being said.

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The rhythm helps us understand it.

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It helps us to communicate feeling.

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And of course, in hip hop, tonality,

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the way you say what you're saying,

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the mood with which what you're saying,

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the rhythm with which what you're saying,

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is as important as what you're actually saying.

8:21

But revisiting the philosophies

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and the perceptions or conceptions of these two art forms,

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these two things we think we know so much about,

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we'll start with Shakespeare.

8:31

Over the course of the past three or four years,

8:34

having worked with hundreds, thousands of young people now,

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at hundreds of workshops,

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we found out very interesting things

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about people's perception of Shakespeare.

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Who they think he was,

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what the inherited beliefs of the time in which he lived,

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the people he was surrounded by, his background, are.

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Some of them are of course, just as with hip hop, complete nonsense.

8:56

This idea for example that Shakespeare spoke,

8:58

as people say to us, posh, or the Queen's English.

9:01

Received pronunciation.

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Well, received pronunciation we know wasn't invented

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well after 100 years after Shakespeare died.

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He'd never heard what we think of today as the Queen's English.

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When he was alive, people spoke a bit more like a mix

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between people from Yorkshire and Cornwall.

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So for example, the word "hours" was pronounced "urrs."

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"Urrs and urrs and urrs."

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Or: "mood" and "blood" ... rhyme!

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"mu:dd" and "blu:dd" was the way in which people would pronounce those words.

9:26

The times in which he lived, you know,

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the chasm between rich and poor being larger than it is today,

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though we seem to be doing our best to recreate that chasm.

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But... you know, he was living in very tumultuous, very violent times

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and we really receive almost a sanitized vision of that violence,

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you know, coloring our view of the past.

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We know over ninety percent of Shakespeare's audience

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couldn't read or write.

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So how is it that in the 21st century in Britain

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that he's come to be viewed as almost the poster child for [elitism],

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