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Lyric method


whitefang

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While watching the A&E Biography of David Bowie, they mentioned a period in his career where he would write, or produce lyrics by cutting out lines of writing from newspaper and magazine articles, mix them up and grab a handful, toss them in the air and then arrange them into lyrical

ideas. They gave a name for this method that I've never heard before, and mentioned some writer's name that used this method.

 

Any of you out there familiar with this?

 

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Sounds like the "cut-up" (or "fold-in") techniques used by William Burroughs & Brion Gysin.

In cut-up, you slice the bits up & reconfigure them as you describe.

Fold-in is similar but, as you just fold pages over one another, you work with longer sections & there's greater repetition of words, names, etc.

The idea was that you'd get to subconscious ideas by not relying on your usual methods for combining words, ideas, thoughts.

One mistake made by bmany who explore this idea (or dismiss it) is that you should not just accept the chance outcome but edit & shape it---although the end result should still be surprising.

The use of this as a music/lyric method should be familiar to anyone who's heard John Lennon's work ("I Amped Up The Walrus"! :rolleyes: )or sat around tossing out whatever rhymes to see where that leads.

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Thank you, d. Burroughs WAS the writer in question, now that you jarred my memory.

 

But, actually, legend has it that "Walrus" was written in one line increments a week apart. That's because Lennon was to have been on acid trips each weekend, and come up with a line for each trip. As I said, this was the legend, and Lennon was the one to perpetuate it!

 

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Lennon's longtime friend Pete Shotton details the writing of "I'm In A Walrus" as a series of jumbled nursery rhymes that he & Lennon strung together along with whatever caught their eye/ear on that afternoon, which isn't the same as the cut-up method, exactly but my point was to cite the often random quality of Lennon's lyrics.
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Hey, d, not to get completely off the subject, but about ten years or so ago, maybe more, my grandniece got into watching the "Willy Wonka" movie over and over and over again. And everytime

the "Oompah-Loopahs" would come on the scene, I was reminded of the words being sung at the end of "Walrus."

 

I never bothered to check into it, but I often wondered...

 

Did Roald Dahl get the name from Lennon's song, or did Lennon get it from Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" book? I honestly don't know which came first!

 

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Hi, Fang. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, the novel by Roald Dahl, was first published in 1964. Before I was born.

 

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the film starring Gene Wilder, was released in 1971. After I was born.

 

Go figure. Lennon took it from Dahl. Willy Wonka took it from the Beatles. ;)

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The first artists (of whom I'm aware) to consciously use chance as a frequent element were the Dadaists, around the 1910s. They were searching for some way to revitalize their art and break it out of the predictable, and they were also searching for a way to unplug the conscious mind from creation. Many of their chance-inspired works had, for them, an added vitality that wasn't present in consciously thought-out work. Burroughs was similarly motivated.

 

Whether one should consciously guide or edit the results of whatever chance technique is used was a topic strenuously debated at the time, and ever since for that matter.

 

Use it in whatever way suits you if it manages to add something to your work.

 

Actually, Bowie for years used a Mac software program which scrambled the sentence or words which were input, and the result is all over many of his albums of the late 80s and through the 90s. I, for one, am glad he's over it and back to writing more traditionally, but then his traditionally-written stuff is what appeals to me most....

 

Cheers.

 

:wave:

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  • 4 weeks later...

I studied film scoring with Walter Scharff who did the Wonka and all of the Elivis scores, he did write the Logo for National Geographic, back when Rod Serling and he, minted the method of documentary scoring, in the origibnal B & W Anarctica series, late 50's...I'd imagine that piece supported him well, it's heard on the front end of every Geographic since...

 

:wave:

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Originally posted by whitefang:

Hey, d, not to get completely off the subject, but about ten years or so ago, maybe more, my grandniece got into watching the "Willy Wonka" movie over and over and over again. And everytime

the "Oompah-Loopahs" would come on the scene, I was reminded of the words being sung at the end of "Walrus."

 

I never bothered to check into it, but I often wondered...

 

Did Roald Dahl get the name from Lennon's song, or did Lennon get it from Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" book? I honestly don't know which came first!

 

Whitefang

Actually in "...Walrus" the lyric is "...oompah, oompah..."...no "loompahs"!
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