Tinkling the Ivories, Jangling the Nerves by David Stafford

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David Stafford is a writer, broadcaster, and occasional musician. Stafford began his career in fringe and community theatre in the 1970s. In the early eighties, he collaborated and toured with Alexei Sayle, which resulted in two series for Capital Radio, two plays for TV, a book, Great Bus Journeys of the World, and various songs and recordings including Doctor Marten's Boots. At the same time he was a presenter on the Channel 4 consumer programme 4 What It’s Worth, contributed to many arts programmes and documentaries including The Media Show (Channel 4) and extensively to The Late Show (BBC2). His TV plays include Dread Poets Society (BBC2) co-written with the poet Benjamin Zephaniah. For ten years he also wrote a weekly column for the Saturday Guardian, eventually called Staffordshire Bull. The text under analysis called “Tinkling the ivories, jangling the nerves” tells us about the author’s recommendations concerning the choice of a musical instrument to learn. He examined the most popular musical instruments and gave a funny characteristic for each of them. It should be mentioned that the text draws the reader’s attention not by the abundance of stylistic devices proper but rather by the amusing that is comic effect it produces. First of all in lots of passages the author resorts to irony and we can easily feel it. For example, in the very first sentence “Except perhaps for learning a foreign language and getting your teeth properly sorted out once and for all, there is nothing more rewarding than learning a musical instrument” the author refers to the dental and linguistic experience of the reader since everyone knows that a visit to a dentist may be painful and unpleasant and learning a language requires expenditure of time and efforts. It’s a pure irony since there is the contradiction between the said and implied that is “nothing more rewarding” and the process of learning a musical instrument itself. This sentence sets the tone for the whole text. The...
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