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Sample Handout for a Song


The sample below could be handed to an audience for a group presentation about a song, emailed to augment a phone conversation individually, or even segmented for use in a PowerPoint about the song that could illustrate a group or an individual presentation.

It includes biographical information about the songwriter-singer, comments on the arrangement, and annotates the lyrics to describe the behavior of the instruments used and of the singer.  After that, it uses a few of the checklist topics to analyze poetic qualities of the song lyrics.

The Rose

by Amanda McBroom

The Singer & Songwriter: Bette Midler popularized this song--and consequently its writer--in 1979 with her version of "The Rose," that ends the movie of the same name.  Respected for her pure voice and emotional lyrics, McBroom has performed from London to D.C. to Taiwan and Australia for more than twenty years; she has made several albums, including a ground-breaking hi-fi album sung directly to vinyl in 1980, as well as performing in stage musicals. In her song writing, she often collaborates with Michele Brourman ("Amanda McBroom Biography" http://www.amcbroom.com/bio.html 1/1/04).

Lyrics and Arrangement: The general pattern of this arrangement is to build in intensity from verse to verse first from a single synthesized instrument behind the voice to an added piano-like synthesized instrument and two-voice harmony (reverb?) to the climactic third verse that adds drums and back-up singers.

Italic = highest volume of singer and instruments

Before or after these words the background instrument makes multiple notes, perhaps a trill or crescendo.

Some say love, it is a river that drowns the tender reed.

Some say love, it is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed.

Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need.

I say love, it is a flower, and you its only seed.

It's the heart, that fears a breaking, that never learns to dance.

It's the dream, afraid of waking, that never takes the chance.

It's the one who won't be taken, who cannot seem to give.

And the soul, afraid of dying, that never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,

And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,

Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snow,

Lies a seed, that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes the rose.

Organ (few notes)

 

 

Piano joins in.

Harmony

Flute

Drums and
back-up singers

Piano and voice

Poetry Topics

Imagery: Translate the figurative language into plain English to point to a theme or tone.

o The basic image is of the rose, which embodies the speakerís view of love: Dormant for a time, love can bloom. Though precious, lovely, and fragile, love can also be hearty.

Rhythm: What's the beat of the song? Or, what mood does the beat suggest?

o The songís rhythm is four beats per measure, which can be a slow, stately rhythm, suitable for a contemplative song.

Rhyme: Do any of the rhymes hint at the song's main idea, or theme?

o The long e rhymes of the first stanza are at least a unifying element that spans the extended metaphor of the debate in the first verse.

Connotation: Which words mean more than they say outright?

o The most emotion-charged words in the song are "bleed" and possibly "fear," which is repeated in various forms in the second verse.

Theme: What idea or impression emerges from the work?

o This is a song of hope, more specifically, a speaker pleading with someone that she cares for to maintain hope until the time when the love that lies dormant within him can bloom.


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