[Dixielandjazz] Jazz & Poetry
csuhor at zebra.net
Sun Mar 20 13:05:59 PST 2005
I think you're yankin' my chain, Steve (what does VBG mean?). But I'll
answer briefly, in CAPS since we're now into three-tiered response.
On Mar 20, 2005, at 8:03 AM, Steve barbone wrote:
> on 3/19/05 10:12 PM, Charles Suhor at csuhor at zebra.net wrote:
>> In case you're not just kidding, Steve, I'll try to respond. ANY
>> song-lyric is a poem set to music (or a poem written to fit a melody)
> So it is Poetry and Jazz, instead of Jazz & Poetry? :-) VBG
>> but Jazz & Poetry involves hearing a separately written poem (or
>> sometimes an on-the-spot verbally improvised "spoken word"piece) and
>> jamming some appropriate jazz behind it, picking up on the mood and
>> image of the poem.
> Oh? Where is that "rule" written? And who wrote it? :-) VBG.
IT'S A CONVENTION, A WAY THAT PEOPLE DECIDED TO DEFINE AND TALK ABOUT
J&P AS IT EVOLVED, IN ORDER TO DISTINGUISH IT REASONABLY FROM OTHER
> Even so, what is the difference? The improv?
> Besides, don't people set
> melodies to existing Poems? e,g, "Trees by Joyce Kilmer which was set
> music later. When the melody was written, it was "invented" on the
> Lyrics are often written first and the music added later.
COMPOSING MUSIC TO "TREES" OR WORDS TO "JAZZ ME BLUES," ODDLY ENOUGH,
ARE THE FORMS OF INVENTION KNOWN, RESPECTIVELY, AS
(a) COMPOSING OF MUSIC TO PRECISELY FIT LYRICS AND
(b) COMPOSING OF LYRICS TO PRECISELY FIT MUSIC.
THEY'RE DIFFERENT FROM
(c) IMPROVISING MUSIC, AS IN JAZZ, OR
(c) SPONTANEOUSLY WRITING, AS IN THIS SENTENCE.
IN J&P, WHAT WE HAVE IS (c), DONE IN RESPONSE TO A READ-ALOUD OF A
PREVIOUSLY COMPOSED POEM OR, IN SOME CASES, TO WORDS SPOKEN
SPONTANEOUSLY ON THE SPOT.
>> That oversimplifies, because there are lots of ways
>> of doing this, e.g., another is for the poet to recite short stanzas
>> a series of haiku, and inbetween, the player improvises something
>> suggested by the stanza or haiku, etc. Most rap isn't in the J&P genre
>> because as I understand it, the rap backup is usually either pre-fit
>> the rap or is improvised in such a slight way that there's no
>> significant instrumental invention involved.
> I agree, many ways. One is to take the lyric and improvise a melody
> it. The FIRST time that is done it could be "jazz". It was done
> exactly that
> way in popular song writing for many years, no?
NO. IN COMPOSING A MELODY TO FIT A LYRIC, ONE DOESN'T "IMPROVISE A
MELODY BEHIND IT" BUT WRITES A MELODY TO FIT THE EXACT METRICS OF THE
LYRIC. SURELY YOU'VE NOTICED--THAT'S NOT JAZZ IMPROVISATION BUT A
DIFFERENT AND MORE LABORED FORM, CONVENTIONALLY CALLED, AGAIN, "WRITING
A MUSICAL COMPOSITION."
> Seems to me the only difference is the venue and the audience. The
> appears to be essentially the same.
FOR A GREAT EXPOSITION OF ON THE UNIQUE MENTAL PROCESSES OF JAZZ
IMPROVISATION, SEE PAUL BERLINER'S "THINKING IN JAZZ." IF YOUR
INTUITIONS TELL YOU THAT WHAT YOU DO WHEN PLAYING JAZZ, IN ITSELF OR IN
RESPONSE TO A POEM, IS A PROCESS IDENTICAL TO WHEN YOU SIT DOWN TO
COMPOSE A MELODY, I FIND THAT STRANGE BUT I CAN'T DENY YOUR EXPERIENCE.
BUT AS ALEC WILDER HAS SAID, COMPOSING A MUSICAL SELECTION IS A FAR
MORE LABORIOUS MODE OF INVENTION THAT LIGHTNING-QUICK IMPROVISATION.
THE SAME IS TRUE FOR MENTAL PROCESSES IN LANGUAGE. AS A POET, I INVENT
MUCH MORE SLOWLY THAN WHEN I IMPROVISATIONALLY CONVERSE OR WRITE A
> Steve Barbone
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