Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Words and Songs

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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