Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: music

Can A Singer Teach Anything To Writers ?


Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, born 2 October 1951—Wallsend, Northumberland, England.

Sting

Image (with manipulation) courtesy of Helge Øverås ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sting_21111985_06_700.jpg

Adept in rock, jazz, reggae, classical, new-age, and worldbeat.

Human rights activist.

Parents died from cancer in the 1980s. Did not, however, attend either funeral stating that the media circus would be disrespectful to them.

Practices Ashtanga Vinyasa,Tantra, and Jivamukti yoga.

An avid chess player.

Adheres to a macrobiotic diet.

Quote: “I’m essentially agnostic. I don’t have a problem with God. I have a problem with religion. I’ve chosen to live my life without the certainties of religious faith. I think they’re dangerous. Music is something that gives my life value and spiritual solace.”

Can this man teach writers anything?

Well, obviously, since he writes songs, he’s a writer, though, can he teach writers of stories?

Well, most of his songs are stories

So What can he teach other writers?

Just before a video that could certainly help any writer, I should mention I’ve written a number of other posts about music and writing.


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Is Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” An Extended Writing Prompt?


For that matter, is any music you happen to love a writing prompt?

I heartily encourage my readers who are writers (and, those who are not yet writers) to listen to The Wall

Have a pen and paper or a simple computer note-taker handy

If you don’t get at least one dynamite writing idea, I’ll return your full purchase price :-)

Also, if you’ve heard Pink Floyd and can’t stand them, please tell us in the Comments what music gives you writing ideas

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Select as many as you like:

Education, Music, and Writing


“We don’t need no education” are words from Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall.

They’re followed by “We don’t need no thought-control”.

Equating education and thought-control is easy in our current world-culture.

Plus, thought-control doesn’t only happen in the classroom—film, TV shows, mainstream media, clergy, and advertising all attempt various forms of “education”

And, many books of fiction “educate” us by immersing our feelings in situations so seemingly real we absorb dangerous “lessons”—unless we’re on our guard.

The word-history of “education” includes the meanings “lead out”, “bring out”, and “lead forth”.

So it would seem we do have the ability to protect ourselves from improper “education” by not letting ourselves be led around, whether the enticement is to our hearts or minds.

In a post from March, Music & Writing ~ Kissin’ Cousins, I said:

“Many authors can’t even write if their favorite music isn’t playing

“Some writers have special music they play for each character in their story

“Even though I treasured books as a youth and considered English as a major in college, until I got to my 40s, Music was my Muse.

“I played brass instruments as a child—sang in the church and later on the secular stage.

“Even when I did write some poetry or attempt a story, I ‘thought’ of the writing as a performance nearly identical to music.”

“Personally, I find the Spirit of Music to be closely related to the Spirit of Literature—word and tone having sprung from the same human Roots

I also feel music educates us since it has such power to lead us, to bring forth feeling and thought

Some folks are very careful about what music they listen to.

Some folks are very careful about what they read.

Some folks aren’t careful at all about either

Can you see similarities between writing and music?

Do you think they both “educate” us, even if we sometimes don’t notice it’s happening?

I’ve always loved to study but always had problems with most of the “education” presented in schools.

Are you that way, too?

If so, you should appreciate this video:


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Music & Writing ~ Kissin’ Cousins


Many authors can’t even write if their favorite music isn’t playing

Some writers have special music they play for each character in their story…

Even though I treasured books as a youth and considered English as a major in college, until I got to my 40s, Music was my Muse.

I played brass instruments as a child—sang in the church and later on the secular stage.

Even when I did write some poetry or attempt a story, I “thought” of the writing as a performance nearly identical to music.

One huge difference with writing was that I was much more the conductor, weaving and integrating the many voices

Some folks even ponder the philosophic snares of whether music should ever have words blended with it—those who champion “absolute music”.

I’ve had a number of interesting conversations over the years about the relative Meanings of the music of songs and their words—each can carry different meaning and great conflict can be created this way

There is, of course, great conflict in the halls of the scholars of literature and music—much debate over what constitutes “proper” literature or music.

Personally, I find the Spirit of Music to be closely related to the Spirit of Literature—word and tone having sprung from the same human Roots

Still you can find ideas like the following (from Wikipedia):

“Also being investigated is the question of why music developed in the first place. The first attempts to put music in an evolutionary framework were made by Charles Darwin who said in his 1871 book The Descent of Man, ‘Musical notes and rhythm were first acquired by the male or female progenitors of mankind for the sake of charming the opposite sex.’ Today there is active research in the evolution of music, with some evidence supporting Darwin’s hypothesis that it was used for mating and other evidence suggesting that music was a means of social organization and communication in early cultures.”

Somehow, I just can’t see our ancestors using only musical offerings to woo their mates. I feel they had ample provocation to use words as well, and the combined use of word and tone in the drama of the sexes may have been the first pop music :-)

Certainly a blog post is not the place to attempt anything like a complete analysis of the relation of writing and music-making; but, just before I offer some music:

How do you feel about the relation of word and tone?

If you compose music, is it anything like writing a story?

How “similar” do you feel these two arts of humanity are?

As you listen to the music from this orchestra, composed of the cream of the Venezuelan crop of high-school musicians, do you hear a story unfolding?

Are there characters interacting?

Is there a plot?

The two offerings are Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, 2nd movement, and Arturo Márquez’ Danzón No. 2 — And, you can read about the Amazing Conductor, Gustavo Dudamel

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Getting Up Close And Personal…


Our last post had me interviewing Simone Benedict. I’m in the process of lining up a number of other writers, some published, some aspiring, and bringing them here to talk about the strange craft they pursue.

Today is me interviewing myself…

I’m a writer but I used to be a singer.

What motivates me in music is the very same mojo that writing gives me.

My soon-to-be-published book carries the same thumping heartache as the Blues, the same impetuous triumph as Jazz.

I was raised by two ministers, Mom and Dad, and my two older sisters also became ministers.

I tried for six decades to fit into our corporate-controlled world and failed miserably.

My book, Notes from An Alien, explores fundamentalistic religion and fundamentalistic corporatism. It also portrays possible solutions to both.

The whole struggle of my life is woven into the book. The whole song of my existence is sung by the book.

Yet, I’m just a writer who used to be a singer…

Maybe you’ll understand my motto, “I’m a writer with roaring flames in my heart”, if you hear my favorite singer.


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