Words and Music

September 22, 2013

Composer Stephen Sondheim does it and so does hip hop poet MK Asante.  They combine words and music to make art.  So how do they do it?   We explore the neuroscience of rap, and hear how jazz composer Maria Schneider sets poetry to music. 

  1. Hip Hop Poet - MK Asante

    Poet MK Asante recounts his tough childhood in Philadelphia and the sad story of his beloved older brother, and also how the rhythms of hip hop evoke the sensibility of his generation.

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  2. Neuroscience of Rap - Charles Limb

    Is there a science of rap?  Pioneering neuroscientist Charles Limb has put freestyle rappers inside brain-scanning machines, and he's seen an explosion of neural activity.

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  3. "Drama High" - Michael Sokolove

    Want a shot of inspiration?  You'll find it at a great high school theater production.  Michael Sokolove tells the story of Lou Volpe, a legendary drama coach in Levittown, PA.

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  4. Stephen Sondheim - Art of the Musical

    Stephen Sondheim is the reigning genius of musical theater, with credits ranging from West Side Story and Gypsy to Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods.  Sondheim gives Steve Paulson a few pointers on how to write both music and lyrics.

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  5. Maria Schneider - Jazz and Poetry

    How do you set poetry to music?  Grammy Award-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider did it with Ted Kooser's poems, sung by Dawn Upshaw.  She tells Anne Strainchamps how she finds beauty in her art.

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