Caught in the Act

It's Good Music: Irving Berlin's Advice for Simple Songs

By Jared Bowen

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Irving Berlin had rules about songwriting: the wording should be kept simple, the music should be composed for average voices and it should have heart. What's more, he once said, the songwriter should approach it as business. His "9 Rules for Songwriting" and a host of other juicy bits have been compiled in a new book, The Irving Berlin Reader.

The book's editor, Benjamin Sears, is a  performer and noted music historian and he has compiled a vast array of primary and secondary materials from Berlin's life and work. He warns that taking Berlin's advice to craft a siimple song is actually very hard to do.

Benjamin Sears talks with Jared Bowen on Greater Boston.

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About the Author
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen
Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts. 

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