Frolicking & Frivolities
Frozen ASL



Disney’s newest film, Frozen, is practically the #1 conversation subject when it comes to my friends and I. Especially the song sung by Idina Menzel, Let It Go. Jules and Angel mentioned that someone posted an ASL music video for Let It Go and so we all decided to watch it.

Turk…Turk was sitting there beside Angel, behind me, and as we watch the beautiful hand movements along with the amazing music…Turk…says without a beat, “I wonder what key they’re signing in?”

Silence. A pin could drop, it was so silent.

I then placed my hand over my face, shaking my head. Laughing hysterically. Skittles and the others joined me, but I couldn’t stop laughing. The delivery of that statement was too perfect. Innocent. Without a trace of sarcasm. I didn’t know whether I wanted to slap him upside the head or clap for his brilliance.

Although it might sound awkward and humorous at a glance, your friend isn’t a fool nor a comedian. This is not a disparaging remark. My comment is an applause and a possible standing ovation.

His is an intelligent comment to make, especially if he’s the kind of person normally breaking boundaries by banning the boxing in of his brain. If he is such a person then I don’t need to write this to him, he ‘gets it’.

Pitch, musical tones, duration, loudness, timbre, musical scales and much more all exist in a visual space.The linguistics of visual language also employ analogous features to that of spoken languages.

Note: It’s not just that there are ‘visual representations’ of sound — implying that musical space is first and foremost as the basis for others — but there are musical representations of visual space. The two spaces exist equally, albeit differently. Diversity is irreconcilable with the concepts of ‘greater than’ and ‘lesser than’. So let’s be careful not to use language that supports a framework of thought that discriminates between the value of these two equal variables.

Just because visual theory, insofar as it has failed to trickle down to the masses at the same rate in terms of concepts and vocabulary, doesn’t mean it fails to have an ability to define features with the same robustness as musical theory. There is rhyme and rhythm in sign language. There is alliteration. There is loudness, pitch, harmonization, structure, form, texture and much more.

It is not necessary to understand musical theory in an explicit context in order to have the innate talent to render those elements into a visual medium — because it’s not as if you are having to invent those elements, those elements are features already occurring naturally in a visual space.

If we’re thinking of the same ASL interpretation of the song, and I believe we are, those two individuals do a stellar job of delivering the message with all of its glorious musicality. So while the question asked, ‘what key are they signing in?’ might not be met with a readily available answer, it doesn’t mean it does not exist. You know the drill: an absence of proof is not proof of absence, yadda yadda, so on and so forth.

There is much more to be said on the topic but I think going any further would be traveling outside of the scope of wanting just to add a short comment of differing opinion to this thread.

In conclusion I applaud you friend’s musings on visual musicality and encourage him to continue exploring that line of thinking. Turk for president.

dude this is awesome, I’ve always wondered about this! Thanks for the comment, ewitty :)


Wait… That isn’t normal?

Apparently not. I’m not a music major, but I was in a choral ensemble freshman year of college, and only myself and the older music majors knew it. (and by solfege it’s not just knowing do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do, it’s knowing the increment syllables and being able to sightread basically anything on a given do/tonic in solfege. and if you know this i apologize for the review lol)

basically, not every freshman has taken theory, so everyone’s skill levels differ to some degree.