Dialogue and song patterns from the book of Federico García Lorca

An old, sepia picture of two actresses on a stage. One dresses in white and is holding a baby, the other is dressed in black Margarita Xirgu and Pilar Muñoz in a scene of the play, ca. 1934. Author unknown, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A dialogue and a song, visualized

Recently I enjoyed reading Yerma, a short play by Federico García Lorca part of his trilogy of rural tragedies.

The first scene of the second act is half a dialogue and half a song between a group of laundresses. In the first part, two of them (3 & 4) lead the conversation gossiping about Yerma, with others intervening to criticize (6) or defend her (5). In the second part, they start singing a popular tune about husbands, lovemaking and motherhood.

I was curious about the rythmic pattern intended by the author and how it would feel in a play with the different alternating voices, so I parsed the text and did a quick plot to visualize it.

A scatter plot showing a pentagram-like structure with the different characters on the y-axis. Colored dots alternate as the different characters intervene. A ping-pong pattern is evident in the first half, a dialogue, and a scale-like pattern emerges in the second, a song

In it, the initial ping-pong pattern evidences the dialogue and when the song starts, there is a series of scales as the different singers alternate.

Miguel Arbesú Andrés
Miguel Arbesú Andrés
Researcher in Bio ∩ AI

An organic chemist turned structural biologist, then data scientist.