Wednesday, July 9, 2008

From the Horse's Mouth...

Sometimes one just has to get information "from the source" as they say...

This from an interview with Dan Schutte at the "Grapevine" blog... I wonder if they actually listened to what he was saying at this point...

My songwriting process can be different for different pieces. Sometimes it begins with a melody. Often it will begin with a single line of text that I use to begin to create a melody. As the music will often run beyond the snippet of text that I have, I then have to fill in the rest of the lyrics. As a piece comes together I will play and sing it many times over looking for places that don’t feel quite right. This is where, I suspect, the creative intuition enters the process in discerning when something is just right or not. I will often have to work at certain places in the music or lyrics until I discover what feels right.

Of course there is nothing unusual about this process of song-writing... it's how all pop music is written! Melody first, lyrics invented to fit the melody. Reminds me of Sir Paul McCartney's tale about how he wrote the ballad "Yesterday"... beginning with the lyrics "scrambled eggs", creating a melody from that, then scrapped those words and put in the word "yesterday", and from that "filled in" the rest of the words. An excellent creative process. For pop music.

However, this is the antithesis of sacred music in which the text has primacy, and the music comes from the text. That is the model provided by Gregorian Chant and Polyphony. That is the model that even contemporary sacred music is to follow. Not that it is a "revelation"... but here we have Mr. Schutte admitting that he does just the opposite.

With this process duplicated over and over again by such "composers" (I prefer songwriter), is it any wonder that texts eventually emerge that have nothing whatsoever to do with the Catholic Faith? The point for them is not the words.... it's the melody. A tune. A pretty tune. A singable tune. The words are an afterthought, something to go along with that tune. Who cares what they say, as long as they sound nice.

Thank you Mr. Schutte, et al....

2 comments:

Dad29 said...

Take a look at the combox where I reference your post:

http://dad29.blogspot.com/2008/07/pops-composer-schuttes-method.html

Strange that the English Professor was posting from a Sprint PCS/Costa Mesa, CA. IP address, no?

Charles said...

Oops redux

http://musicgiftofgod.blogspot.com/