Friday, 25 November 2011

Bits & pieces, two

Interviewer Were you a good violinist?

Interviewee I was very so so. And, that's giving me an edge.

The point of this bit (or piece) is, I guess, the identity of the interviewee. It's lyricist Hal David, worked with Burt Bacharach, mostly. Wrote these opening lines: 'Every day I wake up, before I put on my make-up . . .'

Now sing the interviewee's words to the tune of those lines from I Say A Little Prayer. They almost fit, don't they. Not exactly but close, in beats and rhythm.

The point? That the wondrous ability David had to write lyrics that sounded like real speech was, it seems, rooted in his own speech rhythms. That's why those lines from I Say A Little Prayer are so wonderful. No matter how often I hear them sung by Aretha Franklin (or Dionne Warwick/e), they always sound like she is finding that thought as she sings the words — that neat trick that only really on-the-money actors can do on a regular basis. I'd always thought that was mostly down to the singers. Now I think I'd have to say it was already there in the lines written.

PS If you hadn't guessed it by now, I'm working on something about pop music — not just lyrics but the whole deal. It's a big thing. I've got lots of stuff about lots of songs. And I'm trying out some of the thoughts etc here.

Next up Another bit (or piece) but not about music that time


Lo Jardinier said...

Good quip from David - clearly he could create lines as he thought of them. Good to hear of your music project: if you use these lyrics, they start 'The moment I wake up' of course.

Peter Silverton said...

of course, it is - i knew i was typing it wrong as i typed it but i was too lazy to dig it out and don't have a version by anybody on my itunes - despite a total 11021 tracks (that i did just check)

Lo Jardinier said...

The thing is, I knew it didn't scan as I remembered, but thought the line was 'Each morning I wake up'. Those first two words of David's add the urgency that turns the line from dull to intriguing.
Still getting my head round the fact this isn't on your iTunes...