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The Music - Poetry Connection

By Gary R. Hess. Category: Poetry

Music and poetry are normally not mentioned in the same sentence together, with the exception of hip hop. However, the similarities between music and poetry are far greater than observed by the general public and media.

Some of the similarities are:

  1. Rhythm
  2. Expression
  3. Emotion

Songs themselves have to be rhythmic. As well, poetry flows just the same. Rhythm is what makes music as well as poetry. The flowing of words, the instruments smooth melody; all a part of the greater meaning, poetry.

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In fact, there's even a form of poetry which is made into music called lyrical poems. They are just that, musical lyrics. Sometimes they are used in songs, sometimes left as just words with a specific rhythm. They are what they are, lyrics express the thoughts and feelings of the author.

Although they are the only type directly related to melody, lyrical poetry is definitely not the only poetic form which can be made into a song. A good example of this is rap. Rap is made up of rhythm, rhyme, sometimes alliteration, and many other poetic attributes and techniques. It is the most likened to poetry, yet is still music, and one of the most popular forms as wel.

Nonetheless, even music without words is poetry, just not in the most recognized sense of the word. When someone mentions "poetry", the listener generally visualizes Emily Dickinson or John Donne. However, there have been other authors who have become famous by doing non-generalized works of writing. E. E. Cummings is a great example of non-traditional poetry. He experimented with fragmented lines, strange spellings, and single letters in a line. Today, this type of poetry is known as Dada.

Poetry is about flow, rhythm, meaning and expression. Instrumental music expresses, flows and shows just as much emotion as does music with words.

In fact, many types of poems don't need words at all. Music, sounds, and even paintings are often described as poems. If they have rhythm and structure, it's easy to describe them as works of poetry. After all, isn't that what poetry is?

To go back on point, music is poetry. The difference between the two is so small that all that poetry needs is either a vocalist or instruments. Nonetheless, in the general sense of the word, music is poetry and has always been poetry. The two go together like peas in a pod.