My talk will present an approach to the concept of intonation that diverges from existing analytical frameworks, which view intonation as an exclusive property of oral communication. I will suggest instead that intonation operates across all communicative situations, including those of script and print where the prosodic component of speech is irrelevant. The talk will focus on intonation’s role in the formation of artistic discourse, both oral and literary. To that end, I will juxtapose two specific works: one oral (a folktale subgenre known as the cumulative, or chain, tale) and the other literary (Leo Tolstoy’s late novella "The Forged Coupon" which employs the cumulative tale’s composition). I will argue that the distinctive aspects of cumulative narration in folklore and literature can be seen as the textual consequences of the unique role played by intonation in aesthetic activity.