To Score or Not To Score

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As part of Q2's Requiem Project, we're collecting stories from the WNYC archives to augment the music stream — voices that expand upon the themes in the music, and vice versa. We've found accounts from volunteers who rushed to the World Trade Center site to help in the relief efforts, and interviews with artists who struggled to capture the enormity of the event.

At the same time, we're collecting many, many hours of music that will form the weekend's broadcast.  

As we consider how best to present the text, we've fallen into an interesting question: would scoring the text with the music honor — and maybe even amplify — the spoken word?

Of course, music brings a new and sometimes surprising depth to words — it leads us to new places emotionally. But it can also cast a long shadow. At Studio 360 (my home base), we often set personal narratives to music. But we avoid scoring poetry; the words are already musical as written and adding anything else might obscure the meaning, or alter the art.

We decided to give it a try – and we’d like your help in evaluating the results.

What do you think: scored or unscored?

Listen to it both mixes and let us know what you think in a comment below.






  • Ed Koch, former NYC mayor – in 911 Voices, 9/11/2002 (WNYC)
  • Peter Cunningham, photographer – in 911 Voices, 9/11/2002 (WNYC)
  • Gail Sheehy, author of Passages – on The Leonard Lopate Show, 9/11/2003 (WNYC)
  • Roy DeCarava, photographer – in 911 Voices, 9/11/2002 (WNYC)
  • Joel Meyerowitz, photographer – on Studio 360, 3/9/2002 (PRI/WNYC)