Wednesday, October 16, 2019 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Joe Hill

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A pamphlet, no matter how good, is never read more than once, but a song is learned by heart and repeated over and over. And I maintain that if a person can put a few common sense facts into a song and dress them up in a cloak of humor, he will succeed in reaching a great number of workers who are too unintelligent or too indifferent to read.
--
Letter to the editor of Solidarity (1914-11-29)

 
Joe Hill

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I'd like to thank the Jaycees for electing me as one of their outstanding young men. When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed, has come true a hundred times... And these gentlemen over here, these are the type of people who care, they're dedicated, and they realize that it is possible that they might be building the kingdom of heaven, it's not just too far fetched, from reality. I'd like to say that I learned very early in life that "Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain't got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend without a song." So I keep singing a song. Goodnight. Thank you.

 
Elvis Presley
 

One more instance I will give of his interest and his knowledge. We were passing under a fir tree when we heard a small song in the tree above us. We stopped and I said that was the song of a golden-crested wren. He listened very attentively while the bird repeated its little song, as its habit is. Then he said, "I think that is exactly the same song as that of a bird that we have in America"; and that was the only English song that he recognized as being the same as any bird song in America. Some time afterwards I met a bird expert in the Natural History Museum in London and told him this incident, and he confirmed what Colonel Roosevelt had said, that the song of this bird would be about the only song that the two countries had in common. I think that a very remarkable instance of minute and accurate knowledge on the part of Colonel Roosevelt. It was the business of the bird expert in London to know about birds. Colonel Roosevelt's knowledge was a mere incident acquired, not as part of the work of his life, but entirely outside it.

 
Edward Grey
 

So, if you played a C major chord to pretty much any person on the planet, they'd say that it sounds "harmonious" (or pleasing, or happy, etc, etc). But now when you want to put chords and melodies in an ordering and make a larger piece called a "song", then that is a much more difficult process, and gets very subjective. At that point, it's not just the chords, it's the lyrics, rhythms, instrumentation, tempo, intensity, any number of other things that goes into a song... so many variables that it's almost impossible to predict how a song will affect a given person.

 
Andrew Sega
 

"This wonder which my soul hath found,
This heart of music in the might of sound,
Shall forthwith be the share of all our race,
And like the morning gladden common space:
The song shall spread and swell as rivers do,
And I will teach our youth with skill to woo
This living lyre, to know its secret will;
Its fine division of the good and ill.
So shall men call me sire of harmony,
And where great Song is, there my life shall be."
Thus glorying as a god beneficent,
Forth from his solitary joy he went
To bless mankind.

 
George Eliot
 

Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation. Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.

 
Jorge Luis Borges
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