I wasn’t sure what to write for this week’s blog, but I found something interesting. Some people took some of Shakespeare’s sonnets and set them to music. They made them sound like pop songs rather than like sonnets set to music. The instruments played in the songs are all instruments from that time, but are played to sound more “pop-y”.
I decided to listen to Sonnet 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) because we went over that sonnet in class. The song itself is very nice; it has a nice swaying feeling to it. However, if one were to listen to it knowing that the lyrics were a Shakespeare sonnet, they would probably be disappointed. It is hard to tell sometimes what the woman is singing. And because the song is in Shakespeare’s language, people who have a hard time hearing what she is saying may not understand the point of the sonnet/song when listening to it. The other thing that is a little iffy about it is that periodically throughout the song, the singer sings the rhyming couplet as a refrain. This gives the sonnet being sung an actual song-like feel, but the whole point of the rhyming couplet is not to be heard midway through the sonnet; it is meant to be read at the end, because that it what Shakespeare intended. The poem takes on a whole new meaning if it is, in this case, listened to halfway through.
Overall, though, the song is very nice and it would be interesting to listen to the rest of the sonnets they turned into songs (and to hear what they did/would do to the rest of Shakespeare’s sonnets).