Frutiger

Here at the Parlando project we say we’re where music and words meet.  Sometimes words sing without overt musical notation. Sometimes music speaks to you without speech. And since Dave and myself also play the music heard here, it gets to speak for us, we get to say this music. Every musician, whatever their level of talent, skill, and knowledge gets to experience this.

Today’s piece, “Frutiger”  is an elegy for an artist, Adrian Frutiger, a typographer who created typefaces, the shapes of letters we might use to spell out words. Typography is an unusual art in that we may invest in words a great deal of meaning but the actual ink-shapes that present them on a sign or a page may seem immaterial to that process. Like the music we sometime forget to hear in words, those little carved paintings of letters may disappear below our attention, but their legibility, and even their subtle pointilliste shadings in blocks of text, are still part of our experience of printed words.

Frutiger’s most widely used typeface design bears his own name, and it often chosen for signs because its letter forms excel in legibility during inclement weather or from a distance. For example, one of the Frutiger typeface’s  distinguishing features is use of square dot on top of the lower case i, which gives it a tiny advantage in the necessary discernable gap between the letter and the dot. In the words of the “Frutiger”  piece, I call that out as if the square dot was a diamond rotated (“diamond” just brings in more meaning) and lets me vaguely pun on the Eye of Providence.

Frutiger Sample

A line from today’s piece “Frutiger” in the like-named typeface

Three minutes in, and this little elegy’s words are over, but I start a guitar solo. At two minutes in length, that solo will be shorter than the spoken word part, and it was only indirectly called forth by those words.

That solo says what? Loss? Anger? An urgent and puzzled prayer? A man using his limited musical skills? A patient LYL Band allowing it to occur?

All I can say is that says what I was feeling that day, and today.

To hear today’s audio piece “Frutiger,”  use the player that appears below.

 

 

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