Misty Snowy Woods: Creating Musical Poetry


Last year, I enrolled in the Creative Writing (ENGL.400)  at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. As the semester progressed, our professor Dr. Mercedes Torres, challenged me in how I wrote literature and music. As the semester came to a close, I had to turn in a chapbook with all of my writing that I composed in the semester. Dr. Torres challenged me in taking a piece that I had in the chapbook and add music to it. Being the overachiever that I am, I gave the breath of music to two of my writing. The first is “Silence” which was inspired by my nephews and their constant battle when the time comes to fall asleep. “Misty Snowy Woods” was inspired by a mist that embraced the mountains one day I was going to San Juan, Puerto Rico and the idea of an old man reminiscing the days with his lover and him visiting his lover’s   grave on the day of their anniversary. Here I will explain the process of “Misty Snowy Woods” and how the music came to be.

After the trip I had to San Juan, I wrote the poem in my house. After a day or two I was on a study group session with a dear friend, Kevin Santana. When we had a break, I showed him the poem, and he told me I had to add music to it and add it to the chapbook. Then I started think that I could add music to it, but the question awoke inside of me How?! I don’t know about other composers, but for me I start a project and I leave it, since I don’t know how to finish what I start. After a few minutes I started to whistle a tune (which came to be the motif,  a short succession of notes producing a single impression; a brief melodic or rhythmic formula out of which longer passages are developed). After whistling 6 notes, I knew that I had the beginning of the song/poem. I had my MacBook Pro so, I started to check write the notes in my finale 2011. After 15 minutes of deciding, what tone served best for a 4-8 voice piece for a mixed choir, checked the meter. After analyzing that I had an iambic pentameter, I decided the song was best in a 2/4 with a few changes in meter, as the song progressed. After deciding all of this, I started to write on the blackboard we had in the classroom., you can see this in these pictures:

           (As you can see here, this is the lyrics with the beat.)

          (In this picture you have the motif of the song.)

After doing all of this, I started to write and had the first phrase in no time. After a day or two I had the poem and the song. Here you have the lyrics, an excerpt of the sheet music, and the audio of the song.

Hazy mist
Foggy snow
Clouding mind
Falling slow
Wishing you were close to home…

Sighing ghost ‘emorie flow Adjusting to

the homeless home

Blurry signs Vaguely shows Memories fall

To a hazy show

Wandering clouds
Hazy tress
Wishing you were close to me

Embracing you
Blurry dreams
Looking at those white pine trees

Hazy mist
Foggy snow
Smoggy mind
Surely falls
Crouching low
Kissing you again, once more

And here is the first phrase of the song:

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About theartofmusicalpoetry

I'm Jose Clavell, graduate student at Western Illinois University. Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico alumni. Choral Conductor, Spanish teacher writer, foodie, and a blogger.

Posted on January 3, 2012, in Choral Music, Musical Poetry, Poetry/ Literature and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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