Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lyrics and Poems

A lot of people refuse to understand that a lyric is not a poem. A lyric, especially in a musical, must get its message across on first hearing, while we can and should ruminate through a poem several times to extract its essence. A lyric must also be singable, and every one knows that some of the most meaningful words are impossible to sing. A poem relies on our brain to sort out images, while a lyric depends solely on our ear and emotion. The best lyrics really call for music. They bloom in the music like those Japanese paper flowers opening up when put in a bowl of water.

1 comment:

  1. Very good distinction. Lyric and poem belong to a different perception of time and to a different way to contemplate meanings in time, in short: to a different rhythm.

    Yet it is surprising how well a profound poem sometimes can be sung. For example Hölderlin's "Hälfte des Lebens" sung by Wolf Biermann.