Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Argotist - Interviews with Songwriters on Poetry and Song

I found this interesting series of interviews on the Argotist Online website. The series is called Interviews with Songwriters and can be found here. As the site sets out:
Poetry, especially in the 20th century, became a victim of specialization. That was the trend – the notion that in order for someone to be good in a discipline one needed to devote all his or her time to a specific aspect of it. This makes sense in the sciences because the more we know the broader the area of study becomes and there is simply not enough time to know everything about all the sciences. Following the lead of the sciences, the whole of Western culture became specialized. This was not necessary. I think we are beginning to recover from that misstep. The sciences are discovering that it is beneficial if all the sciences collaborate to move toward a more comprehensive picture of what we know and don’t know. Specialization was essential as a way of moving away from the ancient centralizations like monarchy, a single dominant religion and so forth. And specialization should continue, but in conversation the arts can lead and are leading this development – not toward an elimination of specialties, but conversation and collaboration.
What does this mean in comparison to song? From the interviews, the theme develops that the song is a better "delivery system" than a poem to affect an audience emotionally - to elicit that emotional response in the listener... I guess it depends on the song or the poem - in other words, quality is definitely a factor, but all things being equal, I'd tend to agree that the song stays with us longer (which I'd attribute to the blatant tonal quality in the music - the melody - that is thrust upon us in a song, rather than the sometimes pedantic and repetitive meter of a poem that can wear thin after a while - Melody Over Meter?)...

In any event, poet or songwriter, may the Muse be with you...

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