Being melody

(Click here for a recording that goes with this poem)

A garden of sweet strings softly lit by
The warmth of flute and clarinet
Rises into the air, inviting my entry,
Into flowing landscapes of sound

And now I hear those notes that are
For me a cue to prepare my body
To take in air – every inch of my torso,
A balloon whose walls are poised muscle.

Smooth inevitability of the passing bars
Leave me no choice but to join the dance
And suddenly the internal space of my head
Is throbbing with sound – my voice lives.

Who am I? A mournful abandoned lover
Every emotion raised to operatic intensity
By the magnificence of the pouring harmonies
That awaken powerful echoes in my heart.

The endless lines must flow unimpeded
By self-doubt or adjustment. I try to float
And trust that the sound will ride secure
On the smooth strength of the tensing muscles.

Suddenly a change of key brings out the sun
Rushes optimism through every bar
The heart beats faster as if obeying
The quickened pulse of the conductor’s arm.

A new challenge now – cascades of notes
Too fast to think, or fear mistakes
Just following, setting the voice free to fly
And soar above the racing orchestra.

Now tension builds towards the climax
My breathing deep, my throat relaxing
To soar above the frozen orchestra
And plummet down to the final note.

Responding to a prompt at one single impression to write about melody, I thought I would try my hand at a poem that trys to capture a singer’s perspective of singing one of my favourite arias – Bellini’s Qui la voce sua soave from I Puritani.

To make this a multimedia experience, I’ve added a recording of me singing the aria I had in mind. It was recorded at home on my computer so it’s neither great quality sound nor my best quality singing – but I thought it would give you an idea of what the experience I’m describing sounds like from the outside.

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11 responses to “Being melody

  1. Thank you for responding so beautifully to the OSI prompt. Your contribution is wonderful. As a person with very limited musical knowledge, I found your poem very exciting because it offered me so many new insights into the wonder of music. God bless.

  2. A singer’s poem. Clearly the song IS yours. Lovely poem.

  3. It’s so extraordinary! Alas, my voice has never lived! Thankfully, my ears delight in the sound!

  4. Wow, both poem and accompanying singing. I come from a show business/singing family and the singing in particular brought back all sorts of memories. It also put my own struggle to reclaim what’s left of my own rather ordinary soprano in perspective (I’m 64 and haven’t sung much at all in many years). If that’s not your best singing, my mind boggles at what your best is.

  5. wonderful response to the prompt… how interesting to see the singer’s response physically, mentally and spiritually… it is beautiful…

  6. Thanks for all your lovely comments – in writing this I really wanted to communicate what it feels like to sing, and it seems many of you did catch some of that!

  7. I knew before I listened that you would be very good. The poem accurately describes the work of the voice and the body to produce music. Wonderful.

  8. ..thank u for the melody..

  9. what an amazingly beautiful ensemble.. i have never really looked into what i can do with the music players on my computer,, you make me feel that i had better pop in over there and find out……

  10. Hi Paisley. I have been having a lot of fun with “opera-karaoke” CDs, basically accompaniment tracks recorded on piano or with orchestra. Then I use a great free bit of software called Audacity to record myself and mix the tracks – have got it working pretty well now though I really need a better microphone! It’s not always a perfect match and sometimes it’s hard to keep with a pre-recorded track, particularly when I disagree with the speed the conductor has chosen. But it is a lot of fun – and a good way to share my singing with my blog-readers!

  11. This is the first post of yours that I read (and heard). Today, my memory of it has led me to return for another listen. I hope you will continue to create more of these gems.

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