[Essay] Jazz detail /chestnut of melody

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sherishine

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(still from the English Patient)

"Do you know the words?

There was no movement from them. She broke free of the chords and released her fingers into intricacy, tumbling into what she had held back, the jazz detail that split open notes and angles from the chestnut of melody.


When I take my sugar to tea
All the boys are jealous of me,
So I never take her where the gang goes
When I take my sugar to tea.
"

what does the red sentence mean,especially this part"split open notes","from the chestnut of melody". What does chestnut mean?

The blue lines , you can find this song online.
When I Take My Sugar to Tea: Lyrics from Answers.com

"So I never take her where the gang goes" repeats several times. does it fuction as a sort of metaphor?
 

BobK

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(still from the English Patient)

"Do you know the words?

There was no movement from them. She broke free of the chords and released her fingers into intricacy, tumbling into what she had held back, the jazz detail that split open notes and angles from the chestnut of melody.
'Splitting a note' is playing two notes at once - sometimes by accident (a wind player often splits a note by overblowing), but here for a jazzy effect. So they are not 'split open', they are 'open notes' (I believe she's playing the piano - at least, she was in the film) that she splits.

'Chestnut' is an idiom referring to a familiar tune or argument: 'We've all heard that old chestnut.'
When I take my sugar to tea
All the boys are jealous of me,
So I never take her where the gang goes
When I take my sugar to tea.
"

what does the red sentence mean,especially this part"split open notes","from the chestnut of melody". What does chestnut mean?


The blue lines , you can find this song online.
When I Take My Sugar to Tea: Lyrics from Answers.com

"So I never take her where the gang goes" repeats several times. does it fuction as a sort of metaphor?
The point of the 'when I take my sugar to tea' is that both sugar and tea are metaphors (the first is the woman he takes, and the second is a metonym referring to a place or event where tea is often served - quite possibly, in this context, a Tea dance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). The other boys (hence the repeated mention of 'the gang') are envious (the lyric says 'jealous', but it means 'envious'*).

b
PS *A lot of people would be tolerant of this abuse of 'jealous'; some would even say there's nothing to be tolerant of, and the meaning has just widened. But I think it's a useful distinction, and try to preserve it.
 
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sherishine

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'Splitting a note' is playing two notes at once - sometimes by accident (a wind player often splits a note by overblowing), but here for a jazzy effect. So they are not 'split open', they are 'open notes' (I believe she's playing the piano - at least, she was in the film) that she splits.


Yes, she was playing the piano.
Then ,what does "open notes" mean?
 

BobK

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Yes, she was playing the piano.
Then ,what does "open notes" mean?

Presumably the individual keys. It's a strange word choice though. With stringed instruments, the terms 'open strings' and 'open notes' are interchangeable - they refer to the open, unstopped string (which vibrates along its full length from the bridge to the nut). I've never seen 'open' used to mean 'separate' on a piano (which is why I thought the film might have had a different instrument); but that's what the phrase seems to mean, given the rest of the context.

b
 

sherishine

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I think the "open notes" has some corelation with the reference note of the Jazz. We know that the reference note of Jazz is quite unique.

Ps
How I wish that I could ask Michael Ondaatje directlyO(∩_∩)O
 
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