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How Do You Think of These Words?

Riki Goldstein

“For me, the words are the neshamah of the song”

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

I

“W

ell, that’s a good question,” says veteran composer and lyricist Reb Pinky Weber. “Sometimes the singer comes to me with words he wants to sing. Other times I get inspired when I say Tehillim or daven, and I realize that there is no song on particular words. I was once davening Selichos when the words “Kah heratzeh lanu bezuh hasha’ah” jumped out at me. Such powerful words — they became a powerful, fast but prayerful song for Avraham Fried’s album Bein Kach U’Bein Kach. There have also been many times when I’ve sat with the singer and we’ve opened up a siddur together.”

One thing he never does is put new words to a tune he’s already composed. “I can’t do that, because I need to have words in my mind to put me in the right mood and drive the direction of the melody. I’d rather leave a tune without words than push in words after the tune already exists, because for me, the words are the neshamah of the song.”

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 743)

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