On Collaboration and Interpretation

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In 2012, the musician Beck released ‘Song Reader’, an album that contained no recorded music, only sheet music.

The intention of the piece was that, should the audience wish to hear the pieces, they would have to perform them for themselves.

Therefore, according to ability, musicianship, instruments used, the versions would all sound different.

The interpretation of the audience would breathe a different life into the piece.

For example: the slow, soulful ‘Why Did You Make Me Care?’ takes on an entirely different life when played by an indie band:

As opposed to when being given a treatment by a string quartet:

‘Creature’, a collaborative songbook developed as part of FAB19, is about the communicative process of collaboration and interpretation.

Songwriting is communication: of an idea, as well as how you choose to share the idea.

You don’t have to be trained in order to write music.

You don’t need to be able to write sheet music in order to instruct someone to play a song.

All you need to be able to do is communicate the particular way in which you see music, however that is.

The rest is up to the audience, to interpret as they see fit, to engage with the music presented to them in their own way, and with their own understanding of music.

No two people experience the same piece of work in the same way; and it is in this transcendental place we find that music is given a different life by artist and audience alike.


For FAB19, Mob-Handed Press invites YOU to write a song for inclusion in a brand-new collaborative songbook, even if you have never done so before.

Join in, and share how you view and engage with music.

Please click here for more details.

Please note: for FAB19, ‘Creature’ is FREE to participate in. No fee will be required upon submission OR acceptance of any piece.

Click here for a full playlist of some of the best interpretations of Beck’s ‘Song Reader’ songs.

creatureFAB Fringe Arts Bath