At our next concert we will be performing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.
Or at least we will be if we have it right! Its not an easy piece to get right.
Nothing about Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” leads you to conclude that it would go on to become one of pop music’s most durable compositions; certainly not the lyrics full of stark biblical imagery, but the first verse, after offering such an inspiring image in the opening lines, reminds his listener that “you don’t really care for music, do you?”
So what makes the song so powerful – and why has it reached out to so many people?
Its chords are simple, mostly coming from the notes of the major scale of the song’s key. Rhythmically it has the feel you find in much gospel and folk music – again nothing special. But this is where the songwriter’s craft comes in. In the greatest songs there is a combination of lyric, melody, rhythm and harmony that come together in an alchemic fusion of craft, inspiration and perspiration. Cohen is one of the great songwriters and wrote as many as 80 verses of Hallelujah before cutting it down to a final four.
Look forward to it.