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Meeropol played Josephson his song and asked if he could bring it to Holiday. The singer later insisted she fell in love with it right away. Meeropol remembered it differently, believing that she performed it only as a favour to Josephson and Gordon: Arthur Herzog, one of Holiday's regular songwriters, claimed that arranger Danny Mendelsohn rewrote Meeropol's tune, which he uncharitably dubbed "something or other alleged to be music", which might have made the difference to Holiday.

Either way, Holiday road-tested the song at a party in Harlem and received what would become a familiar response: Meeropol was there the night she debuted it at Cafe Society. Josephson, a natural showman, knew there was no point slipping Strange Fruit into the body of the set and pretending it was just another song.

He drew up some rules: It was not, by any stretch, a song for every occasion. It infected the air in the room, cut conversation stone dead, left drinks untouched, cigarettes unlit. Customers either clapped till their hands were sore, or walked out in disgust. Back then, before her life took a darker turn, Holiday was able to leave the song, and its politics, at the door on the way out.

When Frankie Newton would hold forth on Marcus Garvey's black nationalism or Stalin's five-year plan, she would snap, "I don't want to fill my head with any of that shit. All that she knew and felt about being black in America, she poured into the song. Holiday's regular label, Columbia, blanched at the prospect of recording it, so she turned to Commodore Records, a small, leftwing operation based at Milt Gabler's record shop on West 52nd Street. Worried that the song was too short, Gabler asked pianist Sonny White to improvise a suitably stealthy introduction.

On the single, Holiday doesn't open her mouth until 70 seconds in. Like Josephson with his spotlight, the musicians use that time to set the scene, drawing the listener in as if to a ghost story. Newton's muted trumpet line hovers in the air like marsh gas; White's minor piano chords walk the listener towards the fateful spot; then, at last, there's Holiday. Others might have overplayed the irony or punched home the moral judgment too forcefully, but she sings it as though her responsibility is simply to document the song's eerie tableau; to bear witness.

Her voice moves softly through the dark, closing in on the swinging bodies like a camera lens coming into focus. In doing so, she perfects the song, narrowing the sarcasm of "gallant South" to a fine point and cooling the temperature of the most overheated image: She is charismatic but not ostentatious, curling the words just so.

Her gifts to the song are vulnerability, understatement and immediacy: Look, she is saying.

Released three months later, it became not just a hit but a cause celebre. Campaigners for an anti-lynching law posted copies to congressmen. The New York Post's Samuel Grafton called it "a fantastically perfect work of art, one which reversed the usual relationship between a black entertainer and her white audience: Holiday quit Cafe Society in August , but she took Strange Fruit with her and carried it like an unexploded bomb.

Songs may be accompanied by a single accompanist playing piano or guitar, by a small ensemble e. One division is between " art songs ", " pop songs " and traditional music which includes "folk songs" and early blues songs.

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Other common methods of classification are by purpose sacred vs secular , by style dance, ballad , Lied , etc. Songs may be learned and passed on "by ear" as in traditional folk songs ; from a recording or lead sheet in jazz and pop or from detailed music notation in classical music. Some instrumental music which is played in a singing style may be named a song, e. Art songs require strong vocal technique, understanding of language, diction and poetry for interpretation.

Though such singers may also perform popular or folk songs on their programs, these characteristics and the use of poetry are what distinguish art songs from popular songs.


Art songs are a tradition from most European countries, and now other countries with classical music traditions. German-speaking communities use the term art song "Kunstlied" to distinguish so-called "serious" compositions from folk song "Volkslied". The lyrics are often written by a poet or lyricist and the music separately by a composer. Art songs may be more formally complicated than popular or folk songs, though many early Lieder by the likes of Franz Schubert are in simple strophic form. The accompaniment of European art songs is considered as an important part of the composition.

Some art songs are so revered that they take on characteristics of national identification. Art songs emerge from the tradition of singing romantic love songs , often to an ideal or imaginary person and from religious songs. The troubadours and bards of Europe began the documented tradition of romantic songs, continued by the Elizabethan lutenists.

Some of the earliest art songs are found in the music of Henry Purcell. The tradition of the romance, a love song with a flowing accompaniment, often in triple meter, entered opera in the 19th century, and spread from there throughout Europe. It spread into popular music and became one of the underpinnings of popular songs. While a romance generally has a simple accompaniment, art songs tend to have complicated, sophisticated accompaniments that underpin, embellish, illustrate or provide contrast to the voice.

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Sometimes the accompaniment performer has the melody, while the voice sings a more dramatic part. Folk songs are songs of often anonymous origin or are public domain that are transmitted orally. They are frequently a major aspect of national or cultural identity.

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Art songs often approach the status of folk songs when people forget who the author was. A tripod or a makeshift one is pretty essential, and so is patience. The free app lets you add music and your own narration, while in-app purchases include green screen, paint tools and sound effects.

On location shoots, Sun Seeker is the app that I use most frequently. You can tell exactly where the sun is going to be throughout the day — invaluable when blocking a scene or planning a shooting schedule. A good light meter can cost quid, and most have horrible little screens that look like 90s calculators.

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It can be configured to match any camera system. The priciest app, it is worth every penny. DigiSlate is a class act. This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. The links are powered by Skimlinks.