Blog # 68: Jazz Song Titles
Jazz song titles are interesting to me. Titling a song with Lyrics is pretty easy. The lyrics usually tell a story or paint a picture, and the title is just a phrase from the song. Many jazz musicians seem to just title tunes with 'cool words' they like, that mostly have nothing to do with the music or occasionally just a girlfriend's name. And Jazz musicians rarely explain their titles to the other musicians or audience(my guess is because the titles are rarely anything deep, profound or anything specific at all). Some jazz musicians title songs after people as a tribute to them(their mentors or family members). The beauty of non-Lyric music is it can express more vague feelings than specific events. Sometimes expressing emotions without words can be even more profound than lyrical music.
The titles of my songs usually fall into two catagories. Some titles of mine are 'program music.'(songs that go along with stories). I had a song titled 'Icarus' on my first album that followed the greek myth (there was a section that was optimistic and hopefully, a section of concern and a section that had a descending figure to symbolize the 'falling' part of the story). The most famous example of 'Program Music' is Berlioz' symphony fantastique. The different movements each tell of different dreams(hallucinations) of a man who has lost his love.
Many of my titles are words or phrases to remind ME of things that I went through in my life around the time of the song(or feelings I had at a specific time). The cool part about this is when I flip through my music folder I remember all these feelings and times from the past and I am instantly transported back to that time. Some titles are like morales; life lessons that are messages to myself to remember things.
Just today I was pulling music out to bring to a rehearsal and I saw my tune 'Momentum' in the folder. I remember titling this tune this for both its slow pace tempo and to remind me of this idea: Its easy to succeed when the momentum of life is going your way, its very tough when things aren't going your way to turn it around and get back on track.
This felt very fitting today to read this, and it's almost like advice to myself, from myself.
If someone asked me what the meanings of all the titles of my songs were, I think i'd probably share them, but no one ever really asks, because we play non-lyrical music.