” A cabaret song has got to be written – for the middle voice, ideally – because you’ve got to hear the wit of the words. And a cabaret song gives the singer room to act, more even than an opera singer. “


” If you’re writing a song, you have to write something that can be understood serially. When you’re reading a poem that’s written for the page, your eye can skip up and down. You can see the thing whole. But you’re not going to see the thing whole in the song. You’re going to hear it in series, and you can’t skip back. “


” When we study Shakespeare on the page, for academic purposes, we may require all kinds of help. Generally, we read him in modern spelling and with modern punctuation, and with notes. But any poetry that is performed – from song lyric to tragic speech – must make its point, as it were, without reference back. “


” In song the same rule applies as in dramatic verse: the meaning must yield itself, or yield itself sufficiently to arouse the attention and interest, in real time. “


” Sometimes I have thought that a song should look disappointing on the page – a little thin, perhaps, a little repetitive, or a little on the obvious side, or a mixture of all of these things. “



All 5 James Fenton Quotes about Song in picture


A cabaret song has got to be written - for the middle voice, ideally - because you
If you
When we study Shakespeare on the page, for academic purposes, we may require all kinds of help. Generally, we read him in modern spelling and with modern punctuation, and with notes. But any poetry that is performed - from song lyric to tragic speech - must make its point, as it were, without reference back.
In song the same rule applies as in dramatic verse: the meaning must yield itself, or yield itself sufficiently to arouse the attention and interest, in real time.
Sometimes I have thought that a song should look disappointing on the page - a little thin, perhaps, a little repetitive, or a little on the obvious side, or a mixture of all of these things.

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