Daily Archives: July 13, 2012

A cappella Friday: Yes!

OK…Here’s an interesting thought.

A cappella music (without instrumental accompaniment) is particularly enjoyable for me to listen to. As a poet (and an avocational musician), I am drawn to the similarities that poems and a cappella music have. Lyrical phrasing, meter, rhyming, and onomatopoeia mean so much to a cappella music, because it relies so heavily on the human vocal element.

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The band Yes was/is an incredibly talented group from the early seventies and into the eighties (I know some form of them still tours, but we are talking hey day here). The musicianship of their albums is breathtaking. Symphonic rock, synthesizers, and intricate melodies all cemented their legacy. If you’ve never heard Roundabout, check it out.

Their 90125 album from 1983 was a shift to a more pop-oriented format. On that album was a unique song “Leave It“, done primarily a cappella. It definitely made an impression on me. There are some great harmonies in this song, along with some provoking lyrics.

I can feel no sense of measure,
no illusions as we take
refuge in young man’s pleasure,
breaking down the dreams
we make real.

Leave It lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., DOWNTOWN MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC, CARLIN AMERICA INC

Listen especially to scat sounds the vocalists make. Groundbreaking for the time (early beat box).

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye bad
Hello, hello heaven.

This is poetry…done with melody.