Song Analysis: The Letters By Leonard Cohen

Decent Essays
By reading the lyrics of “The Letters” by Leonard Cohen as a piece of poetry, i.e. with no musical accompaniment, without the song itself, we are able to picture an unsuccessful love story through its verses. “The Letters” seems to be a tale about unreciprocated sentiments, in which the lover’s expectations reach the point when all chances are lost and it is too late for amendments (“I said there's nothing left / I hoped that you would come”). The impression it leaves is of abandonment and regret. Verses such as “You never liked to get / The letters that I sent” and “You're reading them again / The ones you didn't burn” give a sense of heaviness to the lyrics, making the story sound severe, as if the broken heart was carrying, besides pain, …show more content…
Moreover, beyond context, meaning depends upon the speaker’s intentions. In our specific case, the song “The Letters”, it is possible to mention the speaker as an important feature of context. The claims made by the song depends on who utters it. Change the circumstances of its utterance and the claim changes, which means that, after listening to the song, a different (and more complete) interpretation emerges. We are now able to validate the thought of more than one speaker, as we learn the song is actually a duet. The alleged context of rage and resentment pictured before is encouraged to change to a more serene environment fostered by a melancholic song. The pleasing melody creates a mild scenery and the harsh feelings dissipate. We can also notice the duet is formed by a male voice (Leonard Cohen) and a female voice (Sharon Robinson). The story of an unreciprocated love gives room to probable disagreements caused by lack of communication and a chain of misunderstandings. In fact, when the two speakers sing as one they actually seem to be in accordance with each other or, to put it in another way, by listening to the melody, we recover the emotional content of the musical passage and what the speakers feel are now in unison. Therefore, we must acknowledge that full comprehension is not fully determined by the linguistic context,

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