Recently I embarked on a new journey with a like-minded partner. David writes the music; I write the lyrics. Now David is different from most composers. He likes to have a bunch of words in front of him before commencing to write music. So, my lyrics come first.
And let me tell you, as a poet from way back, writing lyrics is very different from writing poetry. You need to have an appreciation of music so that some sort of song sings through your head as you write the words. Will the words sound out of place when set to music? Is the rhythm of the words conducive to the synapse transmission to music rather than just sound?
We write all sorts of songs, some with a view to providing them to our local singing group. As we singers are all over 50 (and that’s a polite euphemism), we are tolerant of not-quite-right rhythms and phrases. But David and I also produce songs best tackled by a soloist and accompanist such as Dark & Light, our present offering. David has roamed all over the keyboard with this one so I’ve suggested a little less minor angst and more…well, light.
And sometimes my words puzzle David and he suggests not that I change them, but that I switch them around for clarity. I’m still learning, you see, that poetry and novel writing is not at all the same as soaring lyrics that can’t wait to be sung.
And then there’s words like Constantinople that need a stress on the first two syllables and demisemiquavers for the …ti-no-ple. But I leave the hard yards to David. After all, he chose to fit his music around my words and boy, is he paying for that little brainstorm. One day he’ll compose a stupendous song that I have to fit the lyrics to in the more normal fashion. Challenges, challenges… Creativity is never-ending.