Musical Poetry

The Relation Between Written Poetry and Music

Written poetry is one of the most musical of all literary forms. Poetry depends upon sounds, rhythm, silences, and criteria beyond the content to create its effect. In history, poetry was always performed with music and poetry and music have never been separate entities. However, what is the interconnection between poetry and music?

What is The Interconnection Between Poetry and Music?

Poetry and music are clearly two different types of art, but they both make most people feel the same way. The impact on people is dependent on the type of personality and the past experiences they made. Poetry shares a particular message, idea, or feeling. The choice of words and context significantly impacts the message communicated from the poet to the reader.

Also, the way the words are read plays an essential role in getting the message across. The mood and the connotation have a significant impact too. This comes in tone, rhythm styles, cadence, alliteration, repetition, assonance, and many more. All of the previous are qualities very similar to music. Poets of social protest tend to use music alongside their work because the use of music tends to achieve a bigger audience and ensures that their message is heard.

Poetry is received and processed by the right hemisphere of the brain, just like music. That’s why poetry can leave you speechless and touch your heart. Regular texts instead are received and processed by the left hemisphere of the brain. The human voice has pitch and volume. The sound we make have duration, and all the variables are present in music and in speech. Thought does not arise before speech or song but in parallel with it. You can start speaking a sentence without knowing how you will end it. Thinking proceeds in parallel with expression.

In history, ballads and folk songs have been written and sung as a part of the traditions and cultures of many countries. Poems often inspire a song or vice versa, and both are born from within another. So, poetry and music are strongly connected. The philosopher Nietzsche had the concept that music and poetry were unified in the past. In his theory, each of the two art forms lost something when they developed along separate tracks.

The poem must be read aloud to reveal the meaning of the poem. The voice, expression, pauses, lilt have much meaning within. That’s why many poets nowadays record their poems to music and release it as an audio file.


When you start looking at poetry the same way you look at music, you will get the urge to read poems just as you listen to certain music. Words are more powerful than we think, and they can hurt people, uplift them, and genuinely sing their ways into their hearts.

“Truly fine poetry must be read aloud… Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.” — Jorge Luis Borges.


Vaguely she passes by,

As the shadow of my love sinks beneath

The weight of the contempt she bequeaths

This mournful heart, no less ignored than the merest fly


Vaguely she looks at me,

Wondering why I shrink beneath

Her puzzled eyes which in fire wreath

This dying soul, free never to be


Cards to my chest,

Vaguely I come closer

Laying my moves as I know best.

Nervous, near the brink…..No! Do not falter!


Steeling my heart, I play it cool


Vaguely I ensnare her

Reeling her in, I play the fool

Praying it’s enough to win her


…To Vaguely hold her hand…


To you that this concerns (yes, you….)

This here is slightly adapted (by me) from a fictional book by a fictional character (author) in a real book written by a real author:
“The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone
And you must follow if you can,
Pursuing it with eager feet
Until it meets some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet,
And whither then? I cannot say. “
Our paths have met and are now drifting a bit away. But the Road remains and as long as we follow it our paths will intertwine again maybe tighter than before. I just hope I see you often enough before you have to go really far away. I am very fond of you and remain forever your friend.