The Humanities Project

New Approaches to Poetry and Song

Poetry, like music, offers too much to attend to. We can listen to the sound of words, the patterns of accent, or the balance of rhymes. We can think about style, tone, voice, and address. We can study form and syntax, rhythm and meter, place and time. And yet when scholars analyze song, they tend to restrict themselves to rather limited aspects of the source poetry, often reducing their inquiry to semantic questions—How does the “meaning” of the poem relate to the expression of the music?

Fortunately, a variety of contemporary song analysts have begun opening up new approaches to song—approaches that are often defined by a careful consideration of poetry in its own right. The aim of this symposium is to bring together a variety of distinguished guests—scholars of poetry and music—to consider more nuanced relationships between poetic texts and their musical settings.

The goal is to investigate how our analyses of song might benefit from sustained attention to the source poetry. Presenters will give special weight to poetic issues such as the sound and rhythm of poetry, the role of space, place and time, and the various shifts in relationships between poetic “speakers” and their addressees. This approach will allow for a variety of new ideas about text-music interaction, including innovative thoughts about rhythm, meter, phrasing, form, and tonal design.

Symposium Schedule

9/30: Opening recital by the ESM Voice and Opera Department. Event program available here.
10/1: Symposium from 9am to 5pm, Dewey 2-162 
10/2: Symposium from 9am to 12pm, Dewey 2-162

Click here to view the complete event program.