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Poe: The Raven


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Description
I decided to take the Poe challenge with my favorite of his poems, "The Raven." Now, technically, it should be read by a male, but I figured it was okay cuz I have a low voice.

The music was improvised on the keyboard. No loops (shocking!), no pencils, just me playing the keyboard. I don't actually know how to play the keyboard, but I decided to fake it. There's a violin, a cello, and some tympany.

So there you have it! My first stab at orchestral music (neophyte that I am) and the wonder of Poe's poetry.
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Lyrics
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow will he leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!
Song Stats
Hits: 5429
Comments: 21
Fans: 5
Plays: 939
Downloads: 324
Votes: 14
Uploaded: Oct 30, 2005 - 01:58:54 AM
Last Updated: Oct 29, 2005 - 11:03:22 PM Last Played: Mar 17, 2017 - 10:36:06 AM
Song License
Creative Commons License:
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial

Creative Commons

Song Actions
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Hardware:
Shure SM58 and a GarageKey keyboard
Software:
GB and jampack 4
Comments
caroline said 4226 days ago (October 30th, 2005)
brilliant!
joanna - come to our theatre - i have work for you there!! you've done a fabulous job here - well done! xxx
Check out my latest song called i'm a reunion maid MJRF 2010
Joanna said 4220 days ago (November 5th, 2005)
brilliant!
I'll be right over, Caroline! I miss my theatre days.
Check out my latest song called Side By Side with Dadai.2
thetiler said 4226 days ago (October 30th, 2005)
Thanks for sharing
Thanks for the great job in the reading. Quite a piece of work here!

Nice going Joanna!


Check out my latest song called They Went Underground
said 4225 days ago (October 30th, 2005)
Thanks for sharing
yes, I agree with thetiler Bill, you are quite a piece of work... : )

like refined gold.

Poe would like this, I think.

Jack

---
Making melody with your heart...
Joanna said 4220 days ago (November 5th, 2005)
Thanks for sharing
Thank you, Jack! What a lovely thing to say.
Check out my latest song called Side By Side with Dadai.2
Joanna said 4220 days ago (November 5th, 2005)
Thanks for sharing
Thank you, Bill!
Check out my latest song called Side By Side with Dadai.2
chakeres said 4225 days ago (October 30th, 2005)
Well Done
Well done Joanna, this is a very long piece and you've done a wonderful
job on the arrangement and reading.-JAC
Check out my latest song called Steady
Joanna said 4220 days ago (November 5th, 2005)
Well Done
Thank you, Chak! It is long, as all of these Poe pieces are. But it sure was fun
to do. Thanks for sticking it out!
Check out my latest song called Side By Side with Dadai.2
Paul_T said 4224 days ago (October 31st, 2005)
Nice reading!
I like what you've done with such a minimal canvas, mainly just strings
and timpani.

One mustn't fight with Poe, there's no telling what he'll do in retaliation!


Check out my latest song called Breathe It Out
Joanna said 4220 days ago (November 5th, 2005)
Nice reading!
Thank you, Paul! I didn't want the musical bed to overwhelm the beauty of the
poetry, so I did indeed try to keep it to a minimum. I wanted it to have an
old-fashioned gothic feel, which is why I chose a more orchestral sound as
opposed to a bed of abstract or scary music. The language of the piece is so
wonderfully formed in yesteryear, I didn't want to fight with that.
Check out my latest song called Side By Side with Dadai.2
Macaudion said 4223 days ago (November 2nd, 2005)
Love it
I like the way you treated this. It wasn't overdone like some of them
have been. I've liked them all, but this one got me...
Check out my latest song called Pavel
Joanna said 4220 days ago (November 5th, 2005)
Love it
Thank you, Dion! I guess I've always been a bit of a minimalist. That's
apparent in many of my songs. For this piece it was an easy choice because
the complexity of the poetry was far richer than anything I could add.
Check out my latest song called Side By Side with Dadai.2
Macaudion said 4223 days ago (November 2nd, 2005)
Love it
I like the way you treated this. It wasn't overdone like some of them
have been. I've liked them all, but this one got me...
Check out my latest song called Pavel
screamalexz said 4167 days ago (December 28th, 2005)
the crow
it reminds me of the crow. it's a great poem. and you read it well. and it is perfectly fine for a girl to read it. you faked orchestration well.
Check out my latest song called Broken Spirit
Epileptic Gibbon said 4162 days ago (January 2nd, 2006)
This isn't faking…
… Joanna, screaming.org has that right. It's amazing how we use
words to downplay our achievements for fear that maybe someone
will think we're blowing our own trumpet. But Joanna, I think
you've got every right to blow that trumpet because this works
just fine. And then there's your dramatic reading of this old
classic. The Raven is in danger of becoming cliched, so ubiquitous
is it of Poe's works (heck, even The Simpsons have done a
version!) but you've breathed new life into it. Your version
undoubtedly shows off your theatrical background and it had me
gripped. Nice one, Joanna, and apologies for taking so long to get
around to hearing this.
Check out my latest song called Fiddler Off the Roof w/Komrade K & Caroline
mvh9591 said 3862 days ago (October 28th, 2006)
Nice
Joanna you pulled this off perfectly. I love the emotion you put into it. You claim you don't know how to play the keyboard - I say you way underestimate your musical abilities. This is a instant fav and DL.

Thank you very much for sharing.

mvh : )

Check out my latest song called 01-25-14
Halloween-2009-Challenge said 2780 days ago (October 14th, 2009)
That was written
about my 2nd cousin. He had a way with words, that one. I am of course talking about "The Raven"

Queeny
sloparts said 2780 days ago (October 14th, 2009)
Wonderful Joanna
I don't know what to say other than that. It really is an excellent reading, thank you for this, I really enjoyed listening to Poe's "The Raven" again.

Ed
Check out my latest song called Quack's Blues
maxruehl said 2764 days ago (October 30th, 2009)
Terrific
version of a classic poem. I really liked your performance.

I recently posted a story for the Halloween challenge. Someone mentioned Poe in my comments (for some reason).:) Perhaps you might appreciate it.:)
Check out my latest song called Shaolin Munk Funk (w/ musichead & awigze)
RAVENS said 2421 days ago (October 8th, 2010)
Wonderful
Beautifully Read, and the music fits like a glove. This is one of my favorite poems.

Have you ever heard/seen Vincent Price recite this? It's just amazing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FID1CiB4bcU

RAVEN ;-)
Check out my latest song called Tattooed Scars (w/ Sigmund, Scofugate, Rok41)
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Hi, I'm Joanna (not Jo, that's someone else). Garageband has allowed me to indulge my love for singing beyond concerts in the shower. My favorite part of songwriting is writing the lyrics. This makes sense, of course, because writing is what I d... [see more]

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