set to music

Does this sound natural to a native speaker??

A lot of his poems were set to music and became Scottish folk songs.

I want to say that the text of several songs comes initially from the poems of Robert Burns.

Thank you for your help.
 
  • panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    A lot of his poems were set to music and became Scottish folk songs.
    There are two aspects to this question.

    First ... "A lot of his poems were set to music ..."
    That seems good to me, though I think I would prefer to say:
    "Many of his poems were set to music ..."

    The second part is more difficult.
    Something does not "become" a folk song.
    I wonder would this be OK?
    "Many of his poems were set to music as Scottish folk songs."
     

    languageGuy

    Senior Member
    USA and English
    I agree that the 'become' is problematic. What are you trying to say exactly? It almost sounds like the setting of the text to music made them folk songs. That is not the case. Were they set to existing folk tunes?
     

    MenteECuoreProgressista

    Member
    English - United States
    I agree that the 'become' is problematic. What are you trying to say exactly? It almost sounds like the setting of the text to music made them folk songs. That is not the case. Were they set to existing folk tunes?
    If I understand the intended meaning, I believe that the sentence could be rephrased into something like, "Many of his poems were set to music and later/eventually developed into Scottish folk songs."

    This phrasing shows that some time was involved in the process before they were considered folk songs (if they indeed are folks songs - I have no idea about that).
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    I have no problem with your sentence kracmera.

    Poems by Rabbie Burns such as “Auld Lang Syne” and “A Red, Red Rose” are recognised around the world because they have become 'folk' knowledge. They have become folk songs, regardless of whether they had tunes or unwritten variations prior to Burns. What defines a folk song or tune is that is selected and passed down by a community (in Burns' case people of Scottish descent, in Turlough Carolan's case people of Irish descent...), whether outside connoisseurs agree or not does not matter to that community.

    The factors that shape the tradition are: (i) continuity which links the present with the past; (ii) variation which springs from the individual or the group; (iii) selection by the community, which determines the form or forms in which the music survives.

    Definiton from the International Folk Music Council in 1954 and quoted in Irish Traditional Music by Ciarán Carson (Belfast poet).
     

    languageGuy

    Senior Member
    USA and English
    I would have no problem with 'have become,' but 'became' sounds wrong. As Aardvark says it takes time, usually generations, to be considered a folk song. It is this time element that needs to be expressed in your sentence.
     

    Ume

    Banned
    Japanese
    The M-W Learner's Dictionary says:
    The play/poem was set to music. [=music was written to go with the words of the play/poem]
    Can I say "put to music" instead of set to music?
     
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