The Lyrics Understand

One of the best parts of my job as the Choral Department Accompanist at Fort Dodge Senior High is the chance to pull out songs at this time in the year that were first performed in October.  Since the Acapella choir is getting ready for a short tour, it’s time to get those “old” songs polished up and ready for performance.  Yes, they are called “Acapella” and most of what they perform is sung without accompaniment.  But I do occasionally get to join in on the fun! Today we revisited a favorite from the fall.  The piano part is gloriously complex – almost another voice in the piece – which always makes it fun for me!  But, as a life-long musician, the lyrics on this one REALLY hit me in the heart!  The song is a setting of the poem “Listening” by Amy Lowell and the music was written by Dan Forrest (want to give credit where it is due!).  My recreation of the poem is based on the lyrics of the song since the poem was adapted – lines repeated, etc. – to work with the music. The message is simple – each musician brings a piece of herself/himself to the piece they sing. Words and notes on a page are just untapped potential until someone connects with the piece and breathes life, emotion, thought, and ideas into the pitches and rhythms. As the song title says, “You Are the Music”. Enjoy!

‘Tis you that are the music, not your song.
The song is but a door which, op’ning wide,
Lets forth the pent-up melody inside,
Your spirit’s harmony, which clear and strong
Sings but of you.

Throughout your whole life long
Your songs, your thoughts, your doings,
Each divide this perfect beauty;
Waves within a tide, or single notes,
Amid a glorious throng.

The song of earth has many diff’rent chords;
Ocean has many moods, and many tones,
Yet always ocean.

So is this one music,
With a thousand cadences.

‘Tis you that are the music, not your song.
The song is but a door which, op’ning wide,
Lets forth the pent-up melody,
‘Tis you that are the music.

Lets forth the pent-up melody inside,
Your spirit’s harmony which clear and strong
Sings but of you.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s