Monday, November 15, 2004

Music and Literature: Sting

Two issues ago, Ode Magazine published a lovely excerpt from Broken Music: a Memoir [amazon link] by Sting, solo recording artist and former member of the Police [ and]. If for some reason you ever had any doubt as to the man's love of -- and dedication to -- the craft of musical composition, the following passage alone should assuage such doubts. Time period is somewhere in the mid-60s, the latter part of Sting's junior school tenure; looking back, he writes:
I pore over Beatles albums with the same obsessive and forensic scrutiny that I’d applied to Rodgers and Hammerstein, only now I have a guitar. I have an instrument that can reproduce the practical magic of the chord structures and the network of riffs that their songs are built on. And what songs, one after the other, album after album. I learn to play them all, confident that if I persevere, what I can’t play immediately will yield its secret eventually. I will reapply the needle of the record player again and again to the bars of music that seem beyond my analysis, like a safecracker picking a lock, until the prize is mine. No school subject ever occupies as much of my time or energy. I’m not claiming that any kind of prescience about the future is at work here, but there is something in the driven and compulsive nature of this obsession that is unusual, something in the unconscious saying, This is how you escape. This is how you escape.
Read the rest of the excerpt at [Note: I added the the needle and record player links to help our younger readers.]

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