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Song Parodies -> "How Do You Song the Prolongs of Melisma?"

Original Song Title:

"How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?"

Original Performer:

Sound of Music

Parody Song Title:

"How Do You Song the Prolongs of Melisma?"

Parody Written by:

John A. Barry

The Lyrics

Syllables three in the word “three”?
What is going on there?
Four syllables in the word “class”?
There’s not even a pair!
To me it looks quite simple:
These single words are spare.

Let’s take a look at “apple,”
a snake fruit that’s got a peel.
Two syllables, yet some folks sing
it to make my head reel.
Not matter how I say it,
there’s just two in my spiel.
Melisma’s how you amplify them amply.

But, you look at the notes found on a staff,
melisma’s not a gaffe.

How do you song the prolongs of melisma
when you’re hearing polysyllabic sound?
You’re gonna find gone-long words with melisma.
Single made triplet, a syllable spritz you’ve found.
Many a word can be so song-embellished,
many a singer does but don’t grandstand.
So if you hear someone say,
“lay-ay-ay-ay-ay” for “lay”…
something the composer on purpose planned.
So, when in a song there’s prolongs from melisma—
it’s just a way to make the word expand.

There’s no reason to be confused;
your ears haven’t been contused.
You’ll never ask again, “Where’s it I am?”
Syllables all clumped together
means a sound has been untethered—
think in terms of “ba-ah-ah”ing of a lamb.

Today we see it much less
than in chants of old, I guess.
Simple songs were much embellished in that world.
In contemporary style,
there’s less tendency to pile
up notes, make them around a single sound swirl.

Back in those days, songs ’d more prolongs with melisma.
Think of all the notes that run up and down
in a carol we often sing at Christmas
that nixes triplets: 17-syllable sound!

It’s the one that contains the word “excelsis,”
followed by “Deo,” but before it stands
a word you and I’d say
in a three-syllable way,
“Gloria,” but that word must expand.
Because the word is prolonged by much melisma.
Seventeen syllables for “or.”* Hot damn!

*Glor-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-oria. In Excelsis Deo.

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Pacing: 3.5
How Funny: 3.5
Overall Rating: 3.5

Total Votes: 4

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User Comments

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Barry J. Mitchel - January 04, 2017 - Report this comment
Thanks for sending me to my dictionary. I've sung in church choirs but never heard "melisma." By my count, though, you put one extra "or" in "gloria." 555 anyway. My spell-checker flags both terms as not English words.
Larry Hensley - January 04, 2017 - Report this comment
Also never heard it. Funny though

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