Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Footnotes: In Search of the Meaningful Relationship

Exploring the Marriage of Music and Text—Part 2

Like in any relationship, the more sensitive each partner is to the other, the better the relationship will be! The same is true with the relationship of music and text. 

If the poetry or text is exceptionally strong, it might assume a certain precedence over the music, and in other cases, the music might have authority over the text. Even within the same piece, a trade-off may occur—and more than once! I think that this is the mystical essence that defines quality choral music. This balance between music and text must be maintained! It can move either way on the scale or both components can play equal roles, but when the two come together in a quality composition (whether it be a novelty piece, one set to poetry, or an arrangement of a spiritual or folk song) that special marriage of music and text will always be aesthetically pleasing. It will have all the ingredients we seem to search for and will contain that special spark that hooks us. The two arts have truly become one. We are fed both intellectually and emotionally! And that is something to celebrate!

Mary Lynn Lightfoot is the Choral Editor for Heritage Music Press, the educational music division of The Lorenz Corporation in Dayton, Ohio.

In addition to her editorial responsibilities, Mary Lynn has effectively established herself with an active composing career and currently has over 230 published choral compositions, arrangements, and musicals. She has received several awards for her compositions and for conducting.

Mary Lynn received her BME degree from Truman State University (formerly Northeast Missouri State University), Kirksville, where she graduated magna cum laude and was the recipient of the Sigma Alpha Iota Scholarship Award. She taught for a total of eight years in both public and private schools in Missouri and Iowa; has served in varying capacities for both a retail music dealer and a music publisher; served for two years as an Assistant Director for the Mid-America Youth Chorale's Concert Tour of Europe; and for six years served as the Director of Youth Choirs and Assistant Chancel Choir Director at Blue Ridge Presbyterian Church, Raytown, Missouri.

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