From Poem to Song: A Journey of Collaboration

poem to song1

As we enter into the second Make Cycle of CLMOOC, with the theme of “reciprocating connections with gratitude and generosity,” an impromptu collaboration that began last week with Make Cycle 1 is sort of wrapping up. (I say “sort of” because others might still add into the mix). It began with a poetic introduction by Jennifer N. and led to the conversion of text into a musical manuscript by Karon B. and then that inspired a collaborative recording by Karon, Ron L. and myself in Soundtrap.

Over the course of a few days, we read and re-read Jennifer’s poem, shaped it as a piece of a music, struggled to find the right way to honor her words while still creating something new. We zigged and zagged a bit, working around our own limitations as musicians and of Soundtrap. We communicated and planned via messaging, trying to articulate a vision of what we were hearing as we were reading.

For me, this process of closely reading Jennifer’s poem, and then finding ways to honor her writing with music (her introduction poem is musically themed) was a perfect example of how CLMOOC dives into the mix of both the individual writer (Jennifer) and the group collaboration (Karon, Ron and myself).

I made the flowchart above to try to track the process — to make visible the steps along the way. This visual is helpful to me as a reflection point, and is one way to recognize and celebrate the process of collaboration. Just listening to the final track, even if you know Jennifer’s poem, would mean only a glance at what really went on begin the scenes.

Here is the music track of Jennifer’s Tone Poem:

Peace (and thanks),

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