Poetry and music have a connection that has lasted for thousands of years. In the past, most poems were sung. Shijing, the oldest Chinese poetry anthology was actually a collection of songs. It’s also known as The Classic Poetry of the Book of Odes. In Ancient Greece, poets shared their creations with others by using the lyre. In Europe, troubadour poets left a huge mark on both literature and music in the middle ages.
Even today, ballads are a common form for songs and poems. In the US, the most famous poets like Emily Dickinson sourced their inspiration from the forms and rhythms of church hymns and other music pieces. Grand names like J.D McClatchy and W.H. Auden wrote very successful opera libretti.
Poetry and Music in the US throughout the Years
Nowadays, poets frequently draw on the rhythm and form of different musical genres such as rap, jazz, folk songs, country music, and hip-hop. It takes very little effort to find some roots of poetry in almost every song we hear. Music which includes lyrics almost always has some form of poetry in it, at least in its foundation.
The power of poetry in the music industry is widely discussed and researched. Today, you can read endless poems about music and the connection these two make. It’s safe to say that most of the grandest musicians are poets of their own.
Most of the patriotic songs are already rooted in poetry. Samuel Francis Smith’s America has moving lyrics that are hard to miss – and even harder to forget.
This is even evident in children’s music. Have you ever heard of the song ‘’Bickle, Bockle’’? It’s often used in Music classes by teachers who want to introduce intervals and rhythm. Short poems are an excellent foundation for this and the educational system in the US has already uncovered this.
Indeed, music is very strongly associated with poetry. Thanks to poetry, we have many amazing songs and lyrics these days. In fact, there’s a lot of research that connects poetry to lyrics creation and music in general. Reading some of them might help you understand the connection and better grasp the power of both. For those who are interested in this topic, Gradesfixer has collected essay samples at https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/poetry/, where professional writers discuss the topics of music, art, and poetry. If you’re a college student who enjoys reading or writing poetry, you’ll surely love these quality examples. Not to mention, they are excellent essay samples for those studying Literature, or even Music as their major.
Poetry in the Music Industry
There are never-ending examples of the connection between music and poetry. They are intertwined in every aspect of this industry. The most heard and greatest artists today use both to create their masterpieces. Start with classics like opera to pop and rap music, everything combines both words and melody.
The places where this is most evident are ballads and blues
Ballads and Poetry
Also referred to as ‘’story songs’’, ballads are an excellent representation of how strong this connection is. The most valued ballads were first sung in the Middle Ages, but this tradition still continues in the US and on a worldwide level.
Lyrics in ballads have a unique rhythm and structure. Quatrain, the traditional ballad stanza is known for its four lines and very specific order of syllables. In it, he first and third line have 8 syllable, while the second and fourth have 6 syllables.
There’s also the matter of the beat. Most ballads have a verse in iambic beat. This is where a weak syllable precedes a stressed one, something that poets describe as ‘’the sound of a heartbeat’’.
Blues and Poetry
Blues stanza is African American popular music structure, widely used today. It’s intended to express emotion and is sourced from field hollers and songs sung while people were working. Most of these songs have three lines where the second repeats the first. It’s the third one that actually brings the rhyme home. Just think about The Thrill is Gone by B.B. King and New Light by John Mayer – have you ever noticed the connection?
The effects of poetry on music are undeniable even today, and vice versa. Both have been a great source of entertainment during self-isolation in these past few months, not to mention an endless source of inspiration and strength for centuries across the globe.
Joshua Robinson is a composer, piano player, and an amazing singer. Even though he hasn’t pursued a career as a singer, Joshua has composed amazing lyrics and songs in the past decade. Today, he works as a professor at an Academy of Arts, teaching students more about music.