Mudcat Café Message Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
keberoxu Help: Who sang 'What's it all about Alfie?' (75* d) RE: Help: Who sang 'What's it all about Alfie?' 12 May 19

Song lyrics, and the writing of lyrics
that are meant to be completed by music --

this is a specialty in a class by itself really.
The well-educated and informed, late lamented
Andre Previn remarked
that songwriters (lyrics inc.) are a law unto themselves.

A comparable dilemma existed -- when it was a viable form --
for the kind of verse that was intended, not only to be sung,
but to be dramatized onstage.
I refer to the versified 'libretto' for grand opera.

A couple of posts on this thread put down Hal David's lyric.
The Mudcatters/guests with those opinions
would probably be equally unimpressed
a libretto by Metastasio, da Ponte, Illica, and the rest.

As well as a few nineteenth-century authors
who published poetry and
fully intended that composers -- any and all composers --
should create folk-song-sounding Lieder out of their lyrics.
There are a bunch of those publishing in German in that era.

And yes, if you take the printed words
by themselves, straight off the page,
it is easy to dismiss and belittle what is there;
such lyrics
were always intended to be in a sense incomplete --
it is the music that completes the work.

Hal David's lyrics for "Alfie"
do not stand alone, nor are they meant to --
no more than Irving Berlin's lyrics
ought to be separated from Irving Berlin's music.
This is a special craft,
and not many appreciate how special it is.

Post to this Thread -

Back to the Main Forum Page

By clicking on the User Name, you will requery the forum for that user. You will see everything that he or she has posted with that Mudcat name.

By clicking on the Thread Name, you will be sent to the Forum on that thread as if you selected it from the main Mudcat Forum page.
   * Click on the linked number with * to view the thread split into pages (click "d" for chronologically descending).

By clicking on the Subject, you will also go to the thread as if you selected it from the original Forum page, but also go directly to that particular message.

By clicking on the Date (Posted), you will dig out every message posted that day.

Try it all, you will see.