Tunesday Dec 8th: When is the Story Complete

Every Tunesday I post a boldly imperfect, one-take song draft of a song. This was written during FAWM 2020 (February Album Writing Month). A friend offered me a prompt to write a song of questions. This is what I came up with. (You can receive a new prompt most Fridays and find out more about the Fearless Songwriting Challenge by signing up for my mailing list here).

Success! You're on the list.

Who is the giver, who is the gift?
Who is the lion, whom with the Lamb sits?
When does bestowing, become behooving?
Was it a gift? Was it a plan?

Whence did the word come? Who did it quote?
Why does it differ from mouth to the spoke?
Why am I wondering what fiddles and cats sing?
Am I just mud? Am I a ghost?

Am I dreaming or fast asleep
Bored stiff or edged on my seat
When is the story is complete?

What are the riches that I can bring with me?
When will it falter that this too shall pass?
How is river, not just the same water?
What is the limit of expanses so vast

How are you doing?

As I write this it’s Sunday afternoon, in early December in the year of 2020.  

How are you doing?   

While I’m busy soldiering on, doing my daily Work, things are getting a bit scary out there Covid-wise again.   

As always there’s lots I could be doing. And there’s lots I want to be doing. Hell, there’s lots I am doing. (Here, I’m noticing the my good ‘ol productivity gremlin is up on my shoulder whispering in my ear).

Anyway, here’s what I’m aiming to get to today: there’s a lot of stress and anxiety out there right now, and my won’t is to do my best to ignore it and mule on through the month. Maybe yours is too? 

But ignoring it doesn’t mean I’m invulnerable and nothing is affecting me. Things are hard right now. For me, it’s important to stop and admit it. Then I can take a breath, look around the living room,  actually feel my experience while noticing I’m cradled by a good amount of relative safety.  

Taking a breath and taking and feeling my experience means I have to stop my deep dive on the daily news and Facebook for a moment or two—maybe stretch a little. Turning off my internet connection couldn’t hurt. Going for a walk is never a bad idea either.

Anyway, I wanted to check in.  

How are you doing?  

Success! You're on the list.

Saturday Songwriting: Stealing Pears

Seventh chords are a lot like regular chords, but with a little extra something. That “something” that might be described as tension, intrigue, or mystery. I found them a bit intimidating when I was first learning guitar. They seemed complicated. Advanced. Beyond my understanding. 

But they’re not really. They are simply another color to add to your available palette of sounds.  

This weeks musical idea talks about how 7th chords are woven together and where the different kinds of sevenths come from. For the most part 7th chords follow the principles of BEAD Guides Chord Flow

If a 7th chord is called major or minor you can treat it in much the same way any other major or minor chord is treated with BEAD Guides Chord Flow

If it’s merely called a 7 chord, (like G7 for instance), that chord works like a one way sign towards the neighboring letter on it’s right. In G7’s case, C.   

I often think of these chords as pointer chords, they point emphatically towards the neighbor on their right. (They’re called dominant 7s in classic music theory which speaks to their dominant sonic push in that direction). But you could choose to go somewhere else and leave the tension created by it just hanging.   

Finally, there’s the minor 7 flat 5 chord, (also called a half diminished chord). The name is a little involved but ignore that and remember it’s a juiced up diminished chord which likes to move one fret up the fret fretboard the same way other diminished chords do.   

That’s pretty much it. Are there other ways to use and play with 7 chords? Absolutely. But following the principles of BEAD Guides Chord Flow with them is a great place to start. If you haven’t tried playing around with 7th chords before, give one or two a try.   

The Prompt:

Here’s a link to Piia Lehti’s Art

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

Success! You're on the list.

The Original Social Media

One thing I love about music is it is social. Covid-19 that makes it hard right now, but watching “The Social Dilemma,” I thought how the arts (music, writing, crafts) are the original social media. 

They are things we do together and share.  

They are things that connect us to each other and the real world.  

They are things that can often explore and reveal truth.  

They are things that ground us.  

When we engage, and create something we are left with the thing we created. Something to gift. Something to share and enjoy.  A meme, or clever post we make into the internet is lost in the flush and flow of never-ending posts and memes never to be seen again, (unless an algorithm resurfaces it).

Success! You're on the list.

Warding Off Distraction

Over the last few weeks, as I’ve been working to better organize my time. The fight that I’ve been waging is largely one explained in the documentary “The Social Dilemma;” the fight against distraction.  

But that’s not quantifying it correctly. It’s the fight against media that’s designed to demand my attention and engagement. It agitates for it. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to ward off distraction:

* Turning off my phone, placing it in Gladware, and placing the Gladware out of (easy) reach atop a cabinet.  

* Turning off the wi-fi on my computer when I’m writing or doing layouts on my computer.  

* Turning off my computer and using paper and pen or pencil whenever possible to do my work.  

That’s a lot of turning things off.  

If I have to go online, I sometimes repeat my task like a mantra until I complete it, (a tact attested to by Scott Adams of Dilbert fame). I was kind of suspicious of the effectiveness of these strategies at first, but it seems they are mostly enough to focus my intent, and ward off the feelers of Social Media/ The News. This seems to be the new battle. It’s not going away.