Category: Music

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Afterthoughts on a Month of Songwriting Critique

by Daniel Kincade Renton

Our contributors this month have offered a productive and nuanced multi-part conversation about the criticism of songwriting (or of lyrical song, as one article put it), and how it might be something new, different, or greater than the sum of either music or literary criticism individually. The articles come in a pleasing variety of forms.

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Words and Music in Composition

by Jenny Berkel

When I was 21, I wrote my first song in a giant and nearly empty apartment in downtown Winnipeg. I grew up singing and writing poetry, but it wasn’t until I was alone in that echoing apartment that I realized I could do both things at once. Since that realization, I have spent countless hours hunched over a desk with a guitar and a pen.

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Theses on the Criticism of Popular Songwriting

by David Janzen and Andy Verboom

An emphasis on form produces a discourse specific to (and adequate to) the object—whether the object is a poem, a lyrical song, or an instrumental song.

We agree with Daniel Renton’s claim, in the first piece in this Town Crier series, that “song writing warrants its own discourse.” But we think that claim proceeds to beg the question: “As a synthesis of words and music,

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Major and Minor Points

by Andrew Brooks

Bob Dylan’s [in]famous Nobel Prize for Literature started off a debate—and not an especially acrimonious one—between those who felt the award was well-deserved and those who felt it was an unacceptable usurpation of literary turf by an artist from outside the tribe. People got exercised for a while and then everybody went back to what they were doing.

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A Primer on Musicology for Literary Critics

by Ed Smith

During my formal musical education, I experienced an epiphany about how music works. It happened when one of my professors said that all music is nothing more than tension and release, sound waves (or lack thereof) that depict conflict and resolution. Boiling down music theory to this binary view is, of course, not sufficient for studying the nuts and bolts of composition and performance,

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Author Notes: Scott Nolan

by Scott Nolan

Two of Scott Nolan’s poems, Elvis and me” and “Ten above tomorrow”, were published in Issue 30 of  The Puritan. 

I started writing poetry in January 2015, approximately three weeks after my 40th birthday. The plan was to replace smoking cigarettes with walking eight to ten kilometres a day.

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Author Notes: Randy Lundy

by Randy Lundy

Randy Lundy’s poem,“An Ecology of Being and Non-Being,” appeared in Issue 30 of The Puritan. Here he speaks with The Town Crier about drawing inspiration from memory, and shares some of his favourite literature and music. 

“An Ecology of Being and Non-Being” began as most of my recent writing has: in my backyard or from the desire to be in my backyard,

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undun and Poetry Beyond Print

by E Martin Nolan

The common thinking goes: Poetry is like our civilization’s aging relative no one ever really cared about, but who everyone feels obligated to visit once a year, or at least to send a card. Even if we’ve never been moved to love this relative, we don’t want them totally forgotten. They may be a charity case—totally unable to support themselves in a market economy—but they have dignity and history on their side.

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“A Lotta Prada”

by Tracy Kyncl

How do you “share a brainwave” or find yourself upon the “same wavelength” with someone else? Well, to start, you could be so syncopated in your thoughts and behaviours that you begin to echo each other’s  preconceptions of reality. Or, more likely, you’ve been so bombarded with the same image that you can’t help but adopt it into your worldview.

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Drake: The Master Marketer of Toronto

by E Martin Nolan

Drake’s not much of a rapper. At best, his lame auto-tune hooks piggy-back on better rappers’ work in the verses. He’s a brand and an advertiser more than an artist. But what does that mean for Toronto, the city which he’s consistently promoting? Cynically, one could argue that Drake’s promotion of Toronto is simply a shrewd marketing ploy: it’s a major city without a major star representing it.