The Similarity of Poetry and Music
I have always had the feeling that music is similar to poetry. The primary aim of each concept is to express vivid emotions and feelings of the author and transfer them to the audience as directly as possible. Music is the purest expression of the composer’s soul. At the same time, poetry is an intense individual poet’s experience shared with the readers. When they come together, they increase and complement each other. Today, listening to beautiful and haunting Adele’s Lovesong, I thought that this song was highly poetic. Adele's song is a perfect example of the combination of these two notions.
It is worth mentioning that music and poetry were always connected and interrelated. The modern lyric’s roots come from the Ancient Greece, where the play on the lyre always followed the lyric poems. Lyric poetry does not describe characters or actions; on the contrary, it addresses the reader directly, portraying author’s insights and perceptions. In this song, the heroine feels “young” and “clean,” which gives the listener the feeling of the participation. Such poems later become song lyrics, which presupposed that a music was adapted to or composed for a poem that has already been written. For instance, Franz Liszt used Petrarch’s sonnets written in the ХIII century.
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All arts are related, connected, or inspired by others in one way or another. It is difficult to say which of the two modes of expression is primary, as music with its idea reminds poetry, but the latter has its roots in a song. In this song, slow, relaxing music brings the feeling of calmness and comfort intensified with the love song's melting lyrics:
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I'm alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again. (Adele)
Music and poetry share similar ideas like rhythm, rhyme, and repetition. Musical songs, as well as traditional poetry, have to be rhythmic. Rhythm is the pulse of poetry. Poems with regular rhythms are often set to music as they are good for marching and dancing. As for the rhyme, it makes the poem musical, easy to remember, and energetic. Another important technique characteristic of both music and poetry is a repetition of musical sounds or sequences and words in the lyrics. In this song, apart from the repetition of the chorus, there is a verse repetitive pattern construction: “Whenever I'm alone with you / You make me feel like I am home again” (Adele). And only the ending changes during two verses (“home again”, “whole again”, “young again”, “fun again”, “free again”, “clean again”). The word ‘again’ finishes every line, thus engaging the listeners on an emotional level. Therefore, all these techniques and devices make words and music work together.
Moreover, a good collaboration between poetry and music evokes listener’s emotions. Consequently, they experience Adele’s pain, hopes, and love either by singing a chorus or humming the melody: “Whatever words I say I will always love you / I will always love you” (Adele). And it penetrates directly to a heart.
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