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--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: Tune Titles
Category: General Questions
From: Jazz Online (sf,ca)

My question is this: how do you decide what name you will give to your songs? Do you write the song first and then give it a name, or does the idea of a name (which conjures an image) inspire you to write the song? I am thinking specifically of "as a flower blossoms (I am running to you)" which is my favorite. For me, the piano and guitar lead (with a touch of reverb) creates a nostalgic image of young innocent children running through fields--the music and mood fits perfectly to the name. Which came first?

Pat’s Answer:

titles are hard. in some ways the hardest because i feel much less equipped verbally than i do musically. i don't really have a deep relationship to words compared to the way i am with music. so, what happens is, the titles are always the last thing to happen. sometimes the very last. sometimes so "last" that i'm getting threatening letters and faxes from the management office and the art department of the record company saying if they don't get their titles TODAY the record won't come out as planned etc. it's actually often been a big problem!

to me, a good title is one where the person who is listening gets some sense of what the mood or spirit of a song is without limiting it too much to just one thing. i like to have a title that is open enough that people can kind of write their own story to it. kind of like what you just did in your question! that's what i like. but for me, if i could get away with not ever titling anything , i would do it. i'd just leave blanks and just let every one fill in their own.

the title in question "as a flower blossoms (i am running to you) is a literal translation of the words in japanese that akiko yano, who also sings them, wrote for that little phrase of melody at the end of the piece. i'm not sure if it is technically a "haiku", but i asked her to come up with something that had that feeling. it sure is a beautiful image though, i agree. it also saved me from having to come up with one more title!