Walter Ross

Walter Ross

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Four-Odd Songs

These songs were written at the request of Mr. In Dal Choi. In the spring of 1986 he suggested to me that I might like to write a set of humorous songs especially for him. I began writing the first song that evening, becaus. only the week before I had been reading some light poetry that I thought could be used for songs.

The first song, Susan Simpson, is comic not only in the story of the poem, but also in the fact that every word in the poem begins with an "S". The sound of "S" is a very difficult one for a singer to make musical, and we sense subjectively so many sibilants the singer must suffer to sing.

Ambrose Bierce is a rather odd character in American literature and is known as "bitter Bierce" in England. He left the editorship of a San Francisco newspaper when he was in his 70's to fight in the Mexican revolution and was never heard from again. The song, Contemplation, begins as a rather mournful elegy, but the strange twist in the last line changes its whole meaning.

Three Young Rats tells the tale of some strangely dressed animals who go out for a walk together. The music bounces along in a combination march/cakewalk rhythm.

The final song, Ballad of Soporific Absorption, is a rather apologetic statement by a man who has had too much to drink. The line which returns again and again is, "I'm not so think as you drunk I am". The poetry is very cleverly written and takes careful listening because the apoligizer continually mixes up his word order. The music is in the manner of a drunken waltz.

I wrote these songs with much pleasure. Above all, I enjoyed the variety of humor in the set of poems. Each one, It seems to me, approaches a comic attitude in a different manner.


This work has not yet been recorded professionally.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

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Walter Ross, wbr@virginia.edu :: Home