Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Archive for February 8th, 2013

I’ve been combing over the lyrics of the song  Rhode Island is Famous for You after an interesting conversation following a performance at Maggie’s Cabaret the other night.  Someone confronted me about the veracity of the lyric “Grand Canyons come from Colorado…”

I did some study on the lyric to justify it as it is (or to “agree to disagree” with it, knowing if it is incorrect and thereby relying on “the suspension of disbelief” to make it singable) and found that, though the Grand Canyon itself  is not in Colorado, the Grand Canyon (residing as it does in the states of  Arizona, Nevada and Utah) was created by the grinding waters of the Colorado River and that there are canyons in the state of Colorado which are indeed grand, therefore the lyric is good.

Then I thought about the plural:  Canyons.  The sheet music clearly prints “Canyons.”  It is not “The Grand Canyon” it is “Grand Canyons.”  That should have been my tip-off right there.  I’d immediately gone to study The Grand Canyon and then wondered about the canyons of Colorado  without going directly to the lyric as printed in the music.  Though I ended up in the right place, the first order of business should have been the printed music.

That gets me to a subject regarding the performance of the song: DICTION!  I do THINK of the lyric as plural and, at least in my head, sing “Canyons.”  I must have failed to make that “s” heard (or understood with my clarity of thought on the subject) since that “s” alone would have, or at least could have, cleared the question.

What I’m grateful for now, was the conversation alone.  The conversation was a good one (even if my understanding and my diction at the performance were not as good as they could have been) and now I fully understand the whole business.  I have a clear understanding (and visual images to illustrate the movie in my head) of that lyric and facts to back it up.  I also have gone back and looked at a finer point of the printed music…the plural “Canyons.”  That little “s” points the way to understand what’s going on here…not just one Grand Canyon, but any one of the many canyons that are grand in Colorado.

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