Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Love Songs

Love songs have existed as long as humans have sung any kind of song. In fact, maybe love songs were the first songs ever.

And I'll bet lullabies are the second kind of song ever sung. I don't know why this should be so except that, according to the reviewer of "Love Songs: The Hidden History," written by Ted Gioia, love songs were historically written by women...and slaves.

Anyway, I'm wondering: What's YOUR favorite love song of all time?

Here are some choices. If your favorite isn't one of these, that's okay. Tell me what yours is.

Okay, first, "Addicted to Love": Even though this isn't a classic love song by any means, it strikes a familiar theme of love songs: That feeling of being addicted, lost from the rest of your life because of this love (or whatever it is you're feeling).

This one, "Lady in Red," is one of my all-time favorites. It's not the classic song of longing for someone who may not return the love, but a song for the lady who has already accepted the singer's love. Listen to the notes that go with the three words, "Lady in red." These four notes go up, that's all they do, and there are four notes just going up like this in a lot of songs, so why are they so plaintive and ... lovely?


Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" balcony scene: Again, four notes going up, different rhythm, then a fifth note. What is it about this sound? 

The "Andante" section of Mozart's 21st piano concerto, which I first realized was a love song when I saw the movie "Elvira Madigan": And again I want to know what it is about those rising notes that make it sound so longing. Answers, anyone?

In contrast, though I could listen to this beautiful melody (Bach's Air on the G String) over and over again, it doesn't sound like a love song to me:

And neither does this one, "Sheep May Safely Graze":

But maybe this is only because I haven't heard them in the context of a love song. Here are the Piano Guys with their version of "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You":

Of course this IS a love song, sung by many but made most famous by Elvis Presley.

I knew it came from a classic, just wasn't sure which one. So I looked it up. The melody is based on "Plaisir d'amour" (1784), a popular romance by Jean Paul Egide Martini (1741–1816).

And it turns out that a lot of our contemporary love songs, and other songs, make use of a little sampling, so to speak. Here's a list of some of them. 

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

Madama Butterfly.

Time to Say Goodbye.

Con te Partiro.

Besame mucho.

No llores por mi Argentina.