I'm just watching an instalment of the Soul Deep documentary series on black music. It's the fourth one and it's about Southern soul. Fascinating footage and interviews, but there was one thing, kind of off-topic, that struck me. Percy Sledge talked about his “When a Man Loves a Woman” and said that it was cut very soon after they had come up with it, because he didn't have to learn anything. He had had the melody inside his head since he was a little boy, he said.
I find this very interesting, because often when I've written a melody, in terms of deciding that it is now a melody, I feel like it's some kind of remnant of my childhood. Maybe not the melody in its entirety, but the crucial points, the tone sequence that lends it its right to exist. And it's not even as if I could remember myself singing or even thinking of this piece of melody as a child. But it still evokes images of my earlier life that attaches itself to the melody, and later, to the song.
written by Mattias