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BS: Is it a song if.........

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CarolC 14 Aug 00 - 05:21 AM
Liz the Squeak 14 Aug 00 - 05:24 AM
Jon Freeman 14 Aug 00 - 05:55 AM
paddymac 14 Aug 00 - 03:12 PM
Bert 14 Aug 00 - 03:16 PM
Irish sergeant 14 Aug 00 - 06:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Aug 00 - 07:05 PM
CarolC 15 Aug 00 - 06:59 AM
Jon Freeman 15 Aug 00 - 08:41 AM
CarolC 16 Aug 00 - 05:41 AM
Jim Dixon 16 Aug 00 - 12:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Aug 00 - 05:13 PM
Jim Krause 16 Aug 00 - 05:18 PM
Lox 16 Aug 00 - 09:38 PM
CarolC 17 Aug 00 - 03:39 AM
CarolC 17 Aug 00 - 08:41 AM
GUEST, Banjo Johnny 17 Aug 00 - 03:25 PM
CarolC 17 Aug 00 - 09:53 PM
Jon Freeman 17 Aug 00 - 10:13 PM
CarolC 17 Aug 00 - 10:20 PM
Jon Freeman 17 Aug 00 - 10:24 PM
CarolC 17 Aug 00 - 10:28 PM
CarolC 17 Aug 00 - 10:31 PM
Jon Freeman 17 Aug 00 - 10:33 PM
Lox 17 Aug 00 - 10:34 PM
CarolC 17 Aug 00 - 10:42 PM
Jeri 17 Aug 00 - 10:48 PM
CarolC 17 Aug 00 - 11:03 PM
Lox 17 Aug 00 - 11:34 PM
CarolC 18 Aug 00 - 03:26 AM

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Subject: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 05:21 AM

After posting my input to the thread about songs of summer, 2000, I realized that none of the pieces I listed had any words. I found myself wondering if they counted as songs if they had no words. My Webster's only lists one useage of the word "song" that doesn't include having words. "A distinctive or characteristic sound or series of sounds (as of a bird or insect)." Neither my Dictionary of Word Origins, nor my Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins had anything useful to say. What do the learned people of the Mudcat have to say about this question?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 05:24 AM

Yes, otherwise it would be birdnoise. Noisebirds would be the name for larks and blackbirds, and we wouldn't have whalesong either. I suppose that would be whalesqueak. There's a thing I can relate to.....

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 05:55 AM

By my reckoning,

A verse or poem is a song without a tune
A tune or melody is a song without words
A song is verse and melody combined.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: paddymac
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 03:12 PM

Well said, Jon.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Bert
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 03:16 PM

Tweet


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 06:38 PM

If it speaks to you does it really need words to be a song? I think not. kindest reguards, Neil


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Aug 00 - 07:05 PM

Well there's mouth music, lilting, scat singing. They've all got sounds which are sung, and you could write down as if they were words, but they aren't words.

And then you can have words spoken rather than sung, but with a musical accompaniment. Talking Blues for example. I think we'd probably tend to refer to these as songs.

And I'd call humming the human equivalent of the kind of siongs birds and howler monkeys make. Probably predates spoken language. In fact I tend to think that our ancestors probably sang words before they got round to speaking them.

An interesting topic, CarolC. I'm starting to look out for your name in threads. Welcome to the Muidcat, if noone has said so up till now. They probably have.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 15 Aug 00 - 06:59 AM

Thank you McGrath of Harlow. I consider that high praise. Yes, people have been very kind and friendly to me since I joined the Mudcat.

Jon Freeman, when I read your response, I thought that it sounded very logical, and it does sound logical. After thinking about it for a while, though, I find that I now have more questions than I did before.

For instance, an opera has lyrics and a melody, but I don't think it would be considered a song.

On the other hand, the pieces of music that I listed on the song thread are much more than melodies or tunes. They are musical compositions with several parts, each of which could stand on it's own. When I play them with chords on my accordion, they have complex rhythms and textures. However, they are not particularly long, so the word "composition" seems a little too large for them.

I'm still mulling it over, but I think I would be interested in hearing what Malcolm Douglas has to say about this. (You there Malcolm?)

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 15 Aug 00 - 08:41 AM

Good points CarolC.

I suppose that one could argue that an opera contains a collection of songs (what is the posh word - arias?) but that still leaves bits in between that are sung that are more like dialogue that I can not imagine anyone classing as a song. Where does that leave us? What is that missing requirement?

I missed the thread that you mentioned but when is a tune not a tune? In the case of an arrangement, I would consider the tune to be the dominant melody line, the one you would sing if somebody asked how does that piece go? but I am not convinced that covers everything.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 05:41 AM

Jon - in the pieces that I mentioned in the other thread ("Pernod" by Johnny Cunningham and Michael O'Domhnaill, "Plum Creek" by Grey Larsen, and "Viimeinen Valssi" or "The Last Finnish Waltz"), each has a tune as you describe it. However, I don't feel that it's descriptive to call the entire piece a "tune", because there is so much more there than just the melody, or tune.

One of the reasons that I found myself wondering about this is because when I looked at the other submissions, I saw that they were all (as far as I could tell), songs with words. I wondered if maybe I was broadening the definition of the word "song" by applying it to pieces of music that were purely instrumental.

Irish sergeant and McGrath of Harlow - maybe you've got it right. Maybe it's all in the ear and heart of the beholder.

Liz the Squeak - I think I can get behind you on that whalesqueak thing.

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 12:53 PM

John Freeman: Your comment reminds me quote I heard recently: A poem helps you think a thought. A tune helps you feel a feeling. A song helps you feel a thought.

Darned if I can remember who said it, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 05:13 PM

The other thing is that it's not uncommon to have people refer to songs as tunes - "I'll sing you the new tune I came across".

Mendelssohn and others of course have written pieces specifically called "Song without words". I think "piece" is as good a word as any to refer to any bit of music, or for that matter set of words.

Or "thing" - "here is a new thing I wrote last week". We wait to hear if it's a tune or a song or a poem or a story. Could be any. (And if it was "A new thing I made" it might be a painting or a cake or a pair of trousers...)

It's all creativity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Jim Krause
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 05:18 PM

bert, I'd rather sing like the Byrds


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Lox
Date: 16 Aug 00 - 09:38 PM

The Oxford English Dictionary describes "song" as:

1.(a) A short poem or other set of words set to music

(b) "singing" or vocal music (not necessarily lyrical)

(c) a musical composition suggestive of a song (ie, a catchy chorus that the words just haven't been written for yet)

2. The musical phrases uttered by SOME birds, whales and insects...

3. A Poem, especially one in rhymed stanzas.

In the meantime, it can be used to mean other things too depending on context:

1. ...for a song = very cheaply

2. on song = on form

3. a song and dance = a fuss

In North America, a long and pointless or evasive explanation can be called a song.

Its origins are apparently Germanic.

It's all in the dictionary.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 03:39 AM

Lox, your dictionary is better than mine. Mine doesn't have the "c" part of number 2. That makes a big difference.

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 08:41 AM

Let me correct that. It doesn't have the "c" part of the first #1.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: GUEST, Banjo Johnny
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 03:25 PM

What if you play Annie Rooney on the fiddle, without anyone singing? It is a song because it does have words, but nobody happens to be singing them.

What about the opposite? Take Pipe Line .. no words. Now the only simple word we have for a tune/melody without words is a "dance".

The whole thing is confusing. == Johnny


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 09:53 PM

Banjo Johnny, it's confusing to me too. Let me ask you a question. If you were thinking about posting to a thread called "Songs of (whatever)", and you had an instrumental piece with no words that was memorable for you in the appropriate context, would you post it?

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 10:13 PM

CarolC, I would call it a tune!

Banjo Johnny, for a moment I thought you were on to something and it would fit the music I love but I find it hard to imagine dancers going to some classical piecess..

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 10:20 PM

Ok, Jon Freeman. I understand what you're saying and it sounds reasonable to me. Would you post such a piece (or tune) to a thread about songs?

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 10:24 PM

YES but I'm me and would do if I thought it may be interesting or relevant and would not wory about anyone calling me up saying "this is about songs and you posted a tune" later.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 10:28 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 10:31 PM

I honestly don't know how that happened. I think the "forum home" button and the "submit message" button are starting to look a lot alike to me. (Hmmm...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 10:33 PM

.. but did you plan on saying something... ;-)

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Lox
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 10:34 PM

What about the theme from the Godfather.

Any opinions?.......(he asked knowingly)


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 10:42 PM

Lox, what do you think about accordions?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Jeri
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 10:48 PM

I pretty much agree with Jon's definitions up there at the top. Now, a melody is a tune and a tune is a melody. This is why "tune" doesn't work for more elaborate compositions - they're more than just melody. You could call the "compositions" or "works."

"Song" works for words and a tune, because people sing songs. Of course, birdsongs don't have words (at least not as we know them) but birds sing them. But then you have someone singing scat or mouth music - is that a song because it's sung? Maybe technically, I don't know, but I probably wouldn't call it a song if someone's just vocalising the tune.

Carol, let me just add that I also enjoy your presence here, and you ask some darned good questions!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 11:03 PM

Thank you very much, Jeri. That's very kind of you. I quite enjoy the things that you have to say as well.

Carol


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: Lox
Date: 17 Aug 00 - 11:34 PM

According to an accordionist, with whom I am in accord, an accordion is a very useful thing.

I feel however, that to play this particular accordion would be to deviate, and I have no desire to be considered a deviant (much less an accordionist) at this early stage in my mudcat career.

Alas, it seems that no-one has an opinion on whether the theme from "the Godfather" is relevant to the topic in question.......(melodramatic sigh).......

Ah well, a cup of tea should do the trick. Anybody else?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is it a song if.........
From: CarolC
Date: 18 Aug 00 - 03:26 AM

Jon Freeman, I wanted to take some time to think about what you said before I responded. I think you have a good point.

Lox, I think I will have some of that tea.

Carol


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