Muse's Muse Songwriting Message Board: Spoken Word Songs? - Muse's Muse Songwriting Message Board

Jump to content

What This Forum Is About:

New to the board? Introduce yourself! Let us get to know you. This is also a place where you can hold general conversations on music and Muse-related topics.
Page 1 of 1

Spoken Word Songs?

#1 User is offline   HoldenTheFuries Icon

  • Contributing Muse
  • PipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 84
  • Joined: 10-December 02
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Utah

Posted 21 April 2012 - 09:41 PM

I am creating an album which has songs that have been mostly conceived and critiqued on this forum, but I have met a poet along my way. The poet is terrific, and we have a concept record in mind that involves using her poems. However, I play in a band... and I do not want to have tracks that suffer due to the spoken word part of the record. Trying to make each of those tracks equally engaging, etc...

Does anybody have any spoken word experience? How about spoken word set to music of a full band? Any thoughts on the genre? Anything that has caught your attention or worked well for your ears in the past?

Hope all is well Musers!
- Sean

#2 Guest_bernabby_*

  • Group: Guests

Posted 22 April 2012 - 02:55 AM

View PostHoldenTheFuries, on 21 April 2012 - 07:41 PM, said:

I am creating an album which has songs that have been mostly conceived and critiqued on this forum, but I have met a poet along my way. The poet is terrific, and we have a concept record in mind that involves using her poems. However, I play in a band... and I do not want to have tracks that suffer due to the spoken word part of the record. Trying to make each of those tracks equally engaging, etc...

Does anybody have any spoken word experience? How about spoken word set to music of a full band? Any thoughts on the genre? Anything that has caught your attention or worked well for your ears in the past?

Hope all is well Musers!
- Sean

Do you mean rap? Jimmy Dean had a big hit with one called Big John.

#3 User is offline   Wolf Kier Icon

  • Inspirational Muse
  • PipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 494
  • Joined: 19-April 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Iceland

Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:21 AM

Great idea for an album.

Historically it might go back further but I'm thinking of the beat poets of the 50s and into the 60s... who often joined in on jazz jams. And certainly added "musicality" to their delivery. Look into that for more. Not a lot of that (words with music from that era) was recorded but it was a big subculture things in the United States, as I understand it..

One absolutely awesome (and reasonably recent) example of the genre is William S. Burroughs doing

Spare Ass Annie. http://www.youtube.c...h?v=ElD7uOqrixQ
Words of Advice for Young People: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=6soziGhCc50


Billy did lots of this stuff before he died as a new generation encountered his genius and roped him into anything they could. Of course you could argue that he was a prose writer....and loads of people would even argue he's wasn't a writer at all.... hee hee.... gotta love the bill man!

Zappa, also, delved into the idea some.

So there's some certified "genius" in the genre stable.

This might be a great niche if you've really got a hold on some great poetry and someone with a great vocal style.

I looked into youtube and typed in Spoken Word and found some interesting stuff too. Worth a look if it's something you're interested in pursuing.

There's rap as well, which I don't know much about but seems to logically fit into the spoken word idea.

Hope this helps some. Good luck.

wolf.

#4 User is offline   DonnaMarilyn Icon

  • A Muse's Muse
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 1,879
  • Joined: 17-August 08
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Delft, Netherlands
  • Interests:Photography, writing, films, reading, nature

Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:35 AM

Sean, another wonderful artist (who died just last year) you might look at is Gil Scott-Heron. He did some excellent work.
Check out YouTube. Here's one: "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised".

http://www.youtube.c...&feature=fvwrel

Good luck with your project. :)

Donna
Honour the earth. Without it, we'd be nowhere.

Life is too important to take seriously.

Rich Blend

DM Songs and Lyrics

Guild of International Songwriters and Composers

#5 User is offline   NigeQ Icon

  • ... but you turn right over to the T.V. page
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Super Moderators
  • Posts: 3,573
  • Joined: 04-April 03
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Birmingham, UK

Posted 24 April 2012 - 05:46 AM

Over the years there have been a few ‘poetry or spoken word’ hits, probably the most notable is Les Crane’s Desiderata . Bernabby mentioned Big John, there was also Deck of Cards and then Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen, which I felt lent heavily on the Desiderata style but poor in comparison so probably best avoided.



The Moody Blues used to mix poetry and music. One of my favourites is the opening to the Threshold of a Dream album; In The Beginning/Lovely to See You. This for me was one of the classic album intros :)




It sounds like an interesting project, I wish you well.

#6 User is offline   Neal K Icon

  • Smile. It'll do you good.
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Moderators
  • Posts: 3,978
  • Joined: 20-November 01
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Kelowna, BC, Canada

Posted 24 April 2012 - 10:48 AM

Here's a Canadian Spoken Word artist who was part of the opening ceremonies at the Vancouver Olympics:

http://www.shanekoyczan.com/

Neal
The forest would be silent if only the best birds sang.

#7 User is offline   Lazz Icon

  • A Muse's Muse
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Members
  • Posts: 1,632
  • Joined: 27-October 05
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vancouver BC

Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:02 PM

HoldenTheFuries said:

Does anybody have any spoken word experience? How about spoken word set to music of a full band? Any thoughts on the genre? Anything that has caught your attention or worked well for your ears in the past?

I have two stand-out favourites from the '50s.

"Jazz Canto"

A highly-valued collector's vinyl rarity now available on CD from CDUniverse or Amazon or downloadable from iTunes.
The cover says "Jazz Canto VOl 1" - but there never was a volume two - great pity, because this is terrific.

Poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Philip Whalen, Lawrence Lipton, Langston Hughes and Dylan Thomas.
Read by John Carradine, Hoagy Carmichael, Roy Glenn, Ben Wright and Bob Dorough.
Music by Gerry Mulligan, Chico Hamilton, Fred Katz, Bob Dorough and Ralph Pena.

I was especially fond of Dorough's version of Ferlinghetti's "Dog". On my first visit to San Francisco, I started out at the poet's "City Lights" bookshop and then followed the dog's route around town, pursuing the same sights and sounds and smells, but I never found the statue of Congressman Doyle the dog used to mark the end of his journey.
"He's afraid of Coit's Tower
But he's not afraid of Congressman Doyle:
Congressman Doyle is just another fire hydrant to him."


Each track is a triumph.

"Red Bird"

This one is a tiny odd old English EP from a BBC Radio 3 broadcast in 1959.

Poetry by Christopher Logue, loose interpretations from Pablo Neruda’s “Veinte poemas de Amor”.
Music by the Tony Kinsey Quintet.

You can read and listen at this link
Someone has also posted both sides on YouTube:
Side 1
Side 2

Neither quite as cool nor as convincing as "Jazz Canto" - but I still enjoy "Lithe girl, brown girl... ".

***

KRONOS QUARTET
Much more recent and more effective than "Red Bird" are two projects by the Kronos Quartet (always exploring, always worth checking out):
"Howl" (featuring Alan Ginsberg) which contains a magnificent rendition of Harry Partch's "Barstow: Eight Hitchhikers' Inscriptions from a Highway Railing at Barstow, California" read by Ben Johnston.
"U.S. Highball: A Musical Account of Slim’s Transcontinental Hobo Trip" - more Harry Partch fun with the voice of David Barron
Hip Pocket Music

"It is the best of all trades to make songs...
and the second best to sing them"

Hillaire Belloc

“SONG is the joint art of words and music, two arts under emotional pressure coalescing into a third.
The relation and balance of the two arts is a problem that has to be resolved anew in every song that is composed.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica

#8 User is offline   neuroron Icon

  • A meandering Muse
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Moderators
  • Posts: 2,656
  • Joined: 22-October 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Houston, TX
  • Interests:All aspects of music and sound - from the poetic to the scientific. Neurology/neuroscience.

Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:25 PM

View PostHoldenTheFuries, on 21 April 2012 - 09:41 PM, said:

I am creating an album which has songs that have been mostly conceived and critiqued on this forum, but I have met a poet along my way. The poet is terrific, and we have a concept record in mind that involves using her poems. However, I play in a band... and I do not want to have tracks that suffer due to the spoken word part of the record. Trying to make each of those tracks equally engaging, etc...

Does anybody have any spoken word experience? How about spoken word set to music of a full band? Any thoughts on the genre? Anything that has caught your attention or worked well for your ears in the past?

Hope all is well Musers!
- Sean


You know, the Moody Blues, starting with, and especially "Days of Future Past" alternated poetry (with orchestration) tracks with song tracks and I think that works well if you can somehow tie the two together either thematically or atmospherically.
Visit me at my Soundclick site: The RT Project - Or Facebook

#9 User is online   Bruce N Icon

  • ' Ribbit '
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Moderators
  • Posts: 5,285
  • Joined: 22-December 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winnipeg MB Canada
  • Interests:Sure.

Posted 24 April 2012 - 03:39 PM

I think it can work, I also think it can float like a ton of bricks.

The Guess Who's "Hang On To Your Life." While I think it's a great song, the spoken word poetry at the end of the song sucks, but it would probably work if the poetry was great to begin with and if someone can deliver the spoken word in a dynamic fashion.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=3QiFKQgDmgw
The views and opinions expressed by me in the "Off Topic Forum" are mine, and mine alone and should not be considered as representing the views and opinions of this site, the site owner, or that of other Moderators.







Page 1 of 1

1 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users