The Poetry in Songwriting

It seems to be a pattern that lyrics are often disappointing without the emotional backdrop of the music they accompany. Likewise poems which stand perfectly on their own can be very difficult to fit to music without taking into account the natural rhythm in the writing itself. It is interesting and sometimes unsettling to listen to a piece of music transform mediocre writing into art which is precious to thousands of listeners.

The structure of the writing seems to be the key as to how it connects to the music. If the intention is to write a poem that relies on it’s own musicality, then it may be difficult to avoid a clash when it is fit to precomposed music. This is because a structured poem already has musicality, a structure, an aesthetic. Thus, the music will have to be tailored to work harmoniously with the musical structure that is already present in the poem.

Lyrics written for music however, often lack their own rhythm and read off the page more like a list of statements. This allows the phrases and words to be tailored, moved around, and laid nicely over the rhythms of the music.

Thus, in the writing of lyrics, the music becomes just as important to the beauty of the poetry as the meaning of the words themselves.


Let me know what you think.





Phantom of the floppera

People have made floppy drives sing before, but this is George Whiteside’s take on it.

It features two 3 1/2″ drives and two 5 1/4″ drives connected to a PIC18f14k50 microcontroller. I wonder how many people will never see a floppy drive? If your’e interested in more of the technical details of how it works and how it came together, you can take a look here.

Bach’s Toccata & Fugue has never seemed so cool.

Music delivery in 1855

Long before itunes, Pandora, and even before radio broadcasting, inventors experimented with the idea of music delivery to homes – “piping” music into homes acoustically.

From London’s Musical World, January 6th, 1855:

At the Polytechnic, a band playing in a distant apartment is unheard; but connect the different instruments, by means of thin rods of wood, each with the sounding board of a harp in the lecture theatre, and the music is audible to all as if it were present. The experiments prove, what we have often speculated on, that music might be laid on to the houses of a town from a central source, like gas or water.

If you feel like checking out the article in the original text, you can find it here on page 55.


The picture above is from an art installation called “Sonolevitation”. Artists Dmitry Gelfand and Evelina Domnitch have trapped little triangles of gold leaf in negative pressure zones created by standing waves of sound.

Gelfand and Domnitch are basically modern day Wizards, taking a simple-but-strange natural physical phenomenon and turning it into artwork.

I know that sometimes music can make me feel like I’m floating, but I guess this takes it one step further. Check out the video to see it in action:

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