Music Is The Language

L1037 – Note By Note: The Making of a Steinway Piano

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Walking The Line

Johnny Cash and “I Walk the Line”: A Reflection of American Identity in Country Music

Johnny Cash, born on February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, was an influential figure in country music, whose work broadened the genre’s scope1. His music, characterized by themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption, resonated with a wide audience2. Cash’s upbringing in a poor farming community and his experiences in the Air Force shaped his music and storytelling3.

One of Cash’s most iconic songs, “I Walk the Line,” is a testament to his values and lifestyle. Written as a pledge of devotion to his first wife, Vivian Liberto, while he was on the road, the song reflects Cash’s commitment to fidelity4. The lyrics, “You give me cause for love that I can’t hide / For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide / Because you’re mine, I walk the line,” express this unwavering dedication5.

“I Walk the Line” holds a significant place in American country music and the identity it represents. Country music is often viewed as a reflection of American identity, particularly associated with the U.S. South and West6. It is characterized by six key dimensions: the goodness of the common man, family values, patriotism, race, religion, and nostalgia6. “I Walk the Line” encapsulates several of these elements, particularly the goodness of the common man and family values, through its narrative of commitment and fidelity.

The song’s impact extends beyond its lyrics. Its haunting melody and the unique humming at the beginning of each verse, used by Cash to get his pitch, contribute to its enduring appeal4. The song’s success, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and crossing over into mainstream music, marked a turning point in Cash’s career5.

In conclusion, Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” is more than just a song; it is a reflection of the values and experiences of country people in the States.

It encapsulates the themes of love, commitment, and personal struggle, resonating with listeners and contributing to the rich tapestry of American identity as expressed through country music.

Now imagine the planet and all its peoples – over the last few centuries – without a telegraph line and telephone and no smartphones and internet.

Travelling or leaving the country only for adventurers, explorers and later merchants and ships, not the cargo ones with 3000 containers today or passenger ships with up to 5000 people and 400 reastaurants.

No planes, of course, no helicopters.

And narrations were mainly oral – tales and stories, and yarning.

Songs and playing instruments like the violin and later the guitar became part of local entertainment in pubs and fairs and circus and other local events like harvesting and celebrating the seasons.

In these larger cultural and socio – economic contexts all the narrations (texts) and songs and tunes and music can be studied and understood as a universal language of mankind through its history.

The British and Canadian and US Background

Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Mark Knopfler, and Leonard Cohen and more songwriters have each carved their own unique path in the realm of music and literature. Their ability to craft poignant, thought-provoking lyrics, combined with their musical talents, has allowed them to transcend genres and generations. These artists have shaped the way we think, feel, and reflect upon the world, touching the lives of millions with their poetic beauty and social consciousness. Their influence continues to resonate today, as their words and melodies serve as beacons of inspiration for aspiring musicians and writers alike. The enduring legacy of Dylan, Lennon, Knopfler, and Cohen demonstrates the profound and transformative power of words and music, reminding us of the limitless possibilities of artistic expression.

Since Bob DYLAN was awarded as a Nobel Laureate for LITERATURE, the genre lyrics plus SONG including performance have been accepted by critics and others into the world of HIGH Culture and Literature, before limited to writing novels and drama.

The Life of a Bard: Bob Dylan via Youtube

Screenshot from German TV on 31 Dec 2023 after the 8 pm News Tagesschau | Credit phb

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Analysis of Lennon’s “Imagine”

John Lennon’s iconic song “Imagine” is a timeless anthem that encourages listeners to envision a world of unity, peace, and shared humanity. Released in 1971 as the title track of his second solo album, “Imagine,” the song has become one of the most influential and widely recognized compositions in music history.

  1. Utopian Vision and Idealism: “Imagine” presents a utopian vision of a world free from divisions and strife. The song’s lyrics propose a society devoid of religious, national, and materialistic boundaries, where people coexist harmoniously. Lennon’s idealism shines through as he imagines a world united by common values, love, and empathy.
  2. Universal Themes of Peace and Unity: Lennon’s lyrics in “Imagine” resonate with universal themes of peace and unity. The song’s call for individuals to imagine a world beyond existing divisions and conflicts transcends cultural, political, and religious boundaries. It speaks to the shared aspirations and yearnings of humanity for a more harmonious existence.
  3. Simple and Evocative Language: The simplicity and evocative nature of the song’s language contribute to its widespread appeal. The lyrics are accessible and easily understood, allowing listeners from diverse backgrounds to connect with the message. The repetition of the word “imagine” throughout the song reinforces the power of imagination and its potential to bring about positive change.
  4. Musical Arrangement and Melody: Musically, “Imagine” features a gentle piano melody that creates a contemplative and introspective atmosphere. The minimalistic arrangement allows the focus to remain on Lennon’s vocals and the lyrics, enhancing the emotional impact of the song. The simple yet memorable melody contributes to the song’s lasting popularity.
  5. Cultural Impact and Legacy: “Imagine” has had a profound cultural impact, resonating with generations of listeners across the globe. The song has become an anthem for peace movements, social justice causes, and humanitarian efforts. Its message continues to inspire individuals to strive for a better world and serves as a reminder of the power of collective imagination and empathy.

Analysis of Lennon’s “Working Class Hero”

John Lennon’s song “Working Class Hero” is a powerful and introspective piece that delves into the realities and struggles faced by the working class. Released in 1970 as part of his debut solo album “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band,” the song showcases Lennon’s ability to use his platform as a musician to address social and political issues.

  1. Lyrics and Narrative: The lyrics of “Working Class Hero” present a stark and raw portrayal of the working class experience. Lennon adopts a stripped-down and direct approach, using simple and straightforward language to convey his message. The song narrates the hardships, disillusionment, and oppression faced by individuals trapped in societal structures.
  2. Critique of Societal Norms: Lennon’s lyrics challenge the idealized notions of success and happiness propagated by society. He criticizes the education system, societal expectations, and the false promises of upward mobility, highlighting the alienation and exploitation faced by the working class. The song suggests that the working class is often overlooked and undervalued, while also shedding light on the oppressive nature of the system that perpetuates these inequalities.
  3. Themes of Identity and Authenticity: “Working Class Hero” explores themes of identity and authenticity. Lennon reflects on the struggle to maintain a sense of self in a world that demands conformity and assimilation. He questions the notion of success, urging listeners to question societal constructs and find their own path, rather than succumbing to the pressures of societal expectations.
  4. Musical Style and Arrangement: Musically, “Working Class Hero” is characterized by its simplicity. The song features Lennon’s acoustic guitar and vocal delivery at the forefront, enhancing the intimate and personal nature of the message. The stripped-down arrangement allows the focus to remain on the lyrics, intensifying the emotional impact of the song.
  5. Cultural and Political Impact: “Working Class Hero” resonated with a generation of listeners who were disillusioned with the establishment and sought to challenge social norms. The song became an anthem for the working class and an emblem of resistance against oppressive systems. Lennon’s candid and unapologetic portrayal of the struggles faced by ordinary people served as a rallying cry for social change.


Analysis of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”

Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” is a poetic and evocative composition that showcases Cohen’s ability to craft vivid imagery and explore complex emotions. Released in 1967 on his debut album “Songs of Leonard Cohen,” the song has become one of his most beloved and enduring works.

  1. Lyrical Depth and Imagery: “Suzanne” is characterized by its rich and metaphorical lyrics. Cohen masterfully weaves a narrative that blurs the lines between reality and imagination. The song describes the experiences of Suzanne, a woman Cohen admires, as he delves into the nuances of her life and the deep connection he feels towards her. The vivid imagery in the lyrics transports the listeners into a dreamlike world.
  2. Exploration of Spirituality and Sensuality: “Suzanne” intertwines themes of spirituality and sensuality. Cohen’s admiration for Suzanne is not merely romantic but also spiritual. He captures the ethereal quality of their connection, incorporating religious and mystical imagery throughout the song. The lyrics evoke a sense of transcendence and the exploration of profound emotions beyond the physical realm.
  3. Melodic Grace and Intimacy: The melodic structure of “Suzanne” complements the introspective nature of the lyrics. Cohen’s deep, resonant voice coupled with the gentle acoustic guitar create an intimate atmosphere. The simplicity of the arrangement allows the focus to remain on Cohen’s heartfelt delivery, emphasizing the emotional impact of the song.
  4. Influence and Legacy: “Suzanne” played a pivotal role in establishing Leonard Cohen’s reputation as a singer-songwriter. The song’s poetic beauty, introspective lyrics, and captivating melodies helped cement Cohen’s unique artistic style. It has since been covered by numerous artists, further solidifying its place in the musical canon and showcasing the enduring influence of Cohen’s work.
  5. Connection to Cohen’s Body of Work: “Suzanne” reflects the recurring themes and lyrical depth that permeate Cohen’s entire discography. His introspective exploration of love, spirituality, and the human condition is present in many of his songs. “Suzanne” serves as a microcosm of Cohen’s larger body of work, demonstrating his ability to craft poignant and thought-provoking compositions.

Analysis of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”

Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” is a scathing and powerful protest song that criticizes the military-industrial complex and those who profit from war. Released in 1963 on his album “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” the song remains a poignant and timeless critique of war and its consequences.

  1. Blunt and Provocative Lyrics: “Masters of War” features blunt and provocative lyrics that leave no room for ambiguity. Dylan’s words directly challenge those in positions of power who benefit from war and perpetuate violence. The song condemns the greed, hypocrisy, and callousness of those who profit from the suffering of others.
  2. Critique of War Profiteering: The song specifically targets the military-industrial complex and war profiteers. Dylan accuses these individuals of manipulating public opinion, sacrificing human lives for personal gain, and fostering a culture of violence. The lyrics express deep anger and frustration towards those who prioritize financial interests over human welfare.
  3. Condemnation of the Consequences of War: Dylan vividly portrays the human cost of war and its devastating impact on soldiers and innocent civilians. The song denounces the destruction and loss of life caused by warfare, emphasizing the senselessness and futility of armed conflict. The lyrics evoke empathy and encourage listeners to question the motivations behind war.
  4. Simplicity and Intensity: “Masters of War” features a simple and repetitive chord progression that underlines the intensity of the lyrics. Dylan’s raw and impassioned vocal delivery further enhances the emotional impact of the song. The minimalistic arrangement allows the focus to remain on the message, amplifying the song’s power and urgency.
  5. Sociopolitical Influence: “Masters of War” is considered one of the most influential protest songs of the 20th century. It became an anthem for the anti-war movement of the 1960s and continues to resonate with activists and advocates for peace. Dylan’s unflinching critique and the song’s uncompromising message have inspired generations of artists and activists to challenge the status quo.

Bob Dylan

Lenoard Cohen

Mark Knopfler

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Updated by Author on Sat 3 Jun 2023: P H Bloecker https://peblogger.com | QLD Australia Gold Coast |

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s songs are full of poetic and metaphorical expressions that enrich his lyrics and convey his messages. Here are some other examples of his creative use of language:

  • In the song A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Dylan uses a series of questions and answers to describe a dystopian and apocalyptic vision of the world, where he has seen and heard many horrors and wonders. He uses metaphors such as “black branches with blood that kept drippin'”¹, “pellets of poison”¹, and “a highway of diamonds with nobody on it”¹ to create striking images and contrasts. He also uses alliteration, assonance, and rhyme to create a musical and rhythmic effect, such as “I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it”¹ and “I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin'”¹.
  • In the song Like a Rolling Stone, Dylan uses a rhetorical device called apostrophe, where he addresses an absent or imaginary person, in this case, a woman who has fallen from grace and wealth to poverty and misery. He uses irony and sarcasm to mock and criticize her former lifestyle and attitude, such as “How does it feel / To be on your own / With no direction home / Like a complete unknown / Like a rolling stone?”² and “You never turned around to see the frowns / On the jugglers and the clowns / When they all did tricks for you”². He also uses similes and metaphors to compare her to different things, such as “You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat”² and “You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal”².
  • In the song Tangled Up in Blue, Dylan uses a narrative technique called anachrony, where he tells a story in a non-chronological order, jumping back and forth in time and space. He uses the first-person point of view to recount his relationship with a woman, but he also switches to the third-person perspective at some points, creating a sense of detachment and confusion. He uses imagery and symbolism to evoke different places and emotions, such as “She was workin’ in a topless place / And I stopped in for a beer / I just kept lookin’ at the side of her face / In the spotlight so clear”³ and “I lived with them on Montague Street / In a basement down the stairs / There was music in the cafes at night / And revolution in the air”³. He also uses repetition and rhyme to create a refrain that connects the different episodes of the story, such as “But all the while I was alone / The past was close behind / I seen a lot of women / But she never escaped my mind, and I just grew / Tangled up in blue”³..

Source: Conversation with Bing, 20/11/2023
(1) Is Bob Dylan a Poet? | At the Smithsonian| Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/bob-dylan-poet-180960762/.
(2) Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Literature Prize For ‘New Poetic Expressions’. https://www.rferl.org/a/bob-dylan-nobel-literature-prize/28050866.html.
(3) Why Bob Dylan’s Songs Are Literature | The New Republic. https://newrepublic.com/article/137811/bob-dylans-songs-literature.
(4) Bob Dylan the poet – University Press of Southern Denmark. https://www.universitypress.dk/images/pdf/3153.pdf.
(5) Words making love together: Dynamics of metaphoric creativity. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110586374-002/pdf.

Four Masters of Lyrics and Songwriting and their general impact on the music around the world.

I. Bob Dylan: The Voice of a Generation A. Dylan’s Lyrical Versatility

  1. Influence on Folk and Protest Music
  2. Transformation of Traditional Songwriting B. Sociopolitical Impact
  3. Anthems of Change and Social Justice
  4. Inspiring Activism and Cultural Revolution C. Dylan’s Legacy
  5. Nobel Prize in Literature
  6. Continuing Influence on Contemporary Artists

II. John Lennon: Imagining a Better World A. The Beatlemania Phenomenon

  1. The Beatles’ Influence on Pop Music
  2. Lennon’s Role as a Cultural Icon B. Poetic and Philosophical Insights
  3. “Imagine” as a Universal Anthem
  4. Peace Activism and Political Expression C. Lennon’s Enduring Legacy
  5. Influence on Songwriting and Music Production
  6. Inspiring Future Generations of Artists

III. Mark Knopfler: Masterful Storyteller A. Unique Musical Style

  1. Knopfler’s Guitar Mastery
  2. Evocative Melodies and Harmonies B. Narrative Songwriting
  3. Literary Influences in Knopfler’s Lyrics
  4. Themes of Love, Loss, and Personal Journeys C. Knopfler’s Influence
  5. Musical Innovations and Soundscapes
  6. Continuing Artistic Exploration and Collaborations

IV. Leonard Cohen: The Golden Voice of Poetic Beauty – A Poet Turned Musician

  1. Early Literary Pursuits and Poetry
  2. Musical Transformation and Guitar Mastery – Poetic Lyrics and Profound Reflections
  3. Exploration of Love, Spirituality, and Existence
  4. Cohen’s Captivating Vocals and Melancholic Soundscapes and his Enduring Impact
  5. Influence on Songwriters and Performers
  6. Poetic Legacy and Literary Contributions

From Music to Language and Cognition

Pinker And Cognition

Copyright Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Nov 2021 | Screenshot by phb

Brilliant Interview via Youtube

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On Deutsche Welle (DW) – Pianist Vikingur Olafsson

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  • The Goldberg Variations display Bach’s exceptional knowledge of the many different styles of music of his day, and his own exquisite performing techniques. He uses a simple aria over a ground bass as the basis for 30 variations that explore the history of Baroque music in microcosm, with elements of dances, canons, riddles, and even a hint of Classical idealism.
  • The work is also remarkable for its structural and mathematical beauty. Bach organizes the variations into groups of three, each ending with a canon at increasing intervals. The variations also follow a pattern of alternating genres, keys, and meters. The work consists of 32 movements on a bass-line of 32 bars, reflecting Bach’s fascination with numerology and symmetry .
  • The Goldberg Variations also showcase Bach’s inventiveness and expressiveness, as he creates a vast range of emotions, textures, and harmonies from a simple theme. The variations range from joyful and energetic to serene and contemplative, from intricate and dazzling to simple and elegant. The return of the aria at the end is a moment of sublime beauty and reflection, after the listener has experienced an extraordinary musical journey .
    The Goldberg Variations are not only a demanding work for performers, but also a rewarding one for listeners and students who can appreciate Bach’s magical inventiveness and mastery of the art of variation.

Written by Bing AI on Sat 7 Oct 2023 | prompted by phb

Created by phb | DALL.E

Bob Dylan on Wikipedia

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Rolling Stone

List of Dylan’s Best 100 Songs

Short Youtube Film about Robert Zimmermann: From Country and Folk and Gospel and Blues.

The Life Of Bob Dylan

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Beethoven’s music influenced rock and roll in many ways. Beethoven was one of the first composers to express his personal emotions and experiences through his music, and to challenge the conventions and expectations of his time. He also used innovative techniques and forms, such as motivic development, harmonic tension, rhythmic drive, thematic unity, formal expansion, and expressive depth. His music inspired and challenged later composers and musicians, who admired his musical greatness and originality, and adapted his melodies, rhythms, and motifs into their own musical styles and genres.

Some examples of rock and roll songs that were inspired by Beethoven’s music are:

  • “Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry, which is a tribute to Beethoven and a challenge to the classical music establishment. Berry uses Beethoven’s name as a symbol of musical greatness and innovation, and also as a contrast to his own rock ‘n’ roll style¹.
  • “Because” by the Beatles, which is based on the chord progression of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”. The Beatles were inspired by Beethoven’s harmonic and melodic richness, and created a beautiful and haunting song with three-part vocal harmony¹.
  • “A Fifth of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy, which is a disco adaptation of Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony”. Murphy used Beethoven’s famous four-note motif as a catchy and rhythmic hook, and added drums, bass, guitar, and strings to create a danceable and popular tune¹.
  • “Ode to Joy” by Nas and Jay-Z, which samples Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony”. The rappers use Beethoven’s iconic melody as a backdrop for their verses, and also as a reference to their own joy and success in the music industry¹.

Beethoven’s music continues to influence and challenge rock and roll musicians today, as they seek to reinterpret, reinvent, and reinvigorate his musical legacy. Beethoven’s music is not only a historical monument, but also a living and evolving art form.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 19/11/2023
(1) How Beethoven Influenced Rock From Dylan To Deep Purple. https://www.classicrockhistory.com/how-beethoven-influenced-rock-from-dylan-to-deep-purple/.
(2) Beethoven’s Influence on Modern Music – Music is Elementary. https://musiciselementary.com/2017/05/15/14930/.
(3) From The Beatles to Led Zeppelin: 10 iconic tracks inspired by …. https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/10-iconic-tracks-inspired-classical-composers-beethoven-bach-beatles-doors/.
(4) “Beethoven’s Influence on Modern Musical Thought” by Avi David – Colby. https://digitalcommons.colby.edu/ugrs/11/.

John Mayall and the Blues

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Tina Turner

Proud Mary

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My first electronic Song about Camping and Mother Nature

Field recordings add a unique and authentic touch to music, especially in a theme like camping where the ambiance is such an integral part of the experience.

The natural sounds can transport listeners right into the heart of the wilderness, making the electronic track not just a piece of music, but a sonic adventure. 🍃🎧

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