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Sunday, September 30, 2018

If You Think The Song Is About You, Well, It Is.

In an interview, Sir Paul McCartney made the remark that, in the early days, they wrote ‘fan songs.’ Love letters to their fans, so to speak. 
A songwriter may be initially inspired to write a song by something that has gone on in his own life but he can easily turn that into a song with a broad appeal by spotting the elements of it that most people have also experienced.
Such songs speak to countless listeners who all share similar experiences of their own. The song “I’ve Got A Feeling,” by The Beatles epitomizes this kind of song;

“I've got a feeling, a feeling deep inside
Oh yeah, oh yeah.
I've got a feeling, a feeling I can't hide
Oh no, oh no, oh no.
Yeah, I've got a feeling.
Oh please believe me, I'd hate to miss the train
Oh yeah, oh yeah.
And if you leave me I won't be late again
Oh no, oh no, oh no.
Yeah, I've got a feeling, yeah.
All these years I've been wandering around,
Wondering how come nobody told me
All that I was looking for was somebody
Who looked like you.
I've got a feeling, that keeps me on my toes
Oh yeah, oh yeah.
I've got a feeling, I think that everybody knows
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah.
Yeah, yeah, I've got a feeling, yeah.
Yeah
Ev'rybody had a hard year
Ev'rybody had a good time
Ev'rybody had a wet dream,
Ev'rybody saw the sunshine
Oh yeah, oh yeah.
Ev'rybody had a good year,
Ev'rybody let their hair down,
Ev'rybody pulled their socks up,
Ev'rybody put their foot down.
Oh yeah, oh yeah.
Yeah I've got a feeling
A feeling deep inside
Oh yeah, oh yeah.
I've got a feeling, a feeling I can't hide
Oh no
Oh no no no
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
I've got a feeling
I've got a feeling”
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul Mccartney

It goes much deeper than this. Songs can be about cultural change that a society is going through. Many musical artists have been called the spokesperson for their generation. “For What It Is Worth,” by Buffalo Springfield is this type of song;

“There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It's s time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, now, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down”
Songwriters: Stephen Stills

This is true of instrumental music as well. Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, ‘The Pastoral’ has titles on the various parts, suggesting different scenes from nature, but among Beethoven’s notes on the music we find;

"The hearers should be allowed to discover the situations / Sinfonia caracteristica—or recollection of country life / All painting in instrumental music is lost if it is pushed too far / Sinfonia pastorella. 
Here is acknowledged the listener’s participation in the creation of musical art. 


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