Saturday Songwriting: David Bowie, Young Americans

I’ve been excited about this week for a while. David Bowie’s “Young Americans” is a a favorite of mine.  I’ve seen it looming out there at number 486 on Rolling Stone’s list for the past few weeks. I can’t say exactly why it hits the spot for me. It just does. There are so many things going on in this song that can’t be covered in a single page. Take some time and check it out. And Enjoy!

The Prompt:

Here’s a link to Nicole Gustafsson’s Art. Find out more about Nicole’s work here.

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

Unfamiliar with BEAD Guides Chord Flow?
Here’s an intro: BEAD GCF Intro
Here’s how it works in the Key of C: BEAD Key of C
Here’s how it maps chord substitutes: BEAD Subs

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Saturday Songwriting: Eighteen

(I have a secret). 

(I’ve been writing a book about how guitar chords work) 

(That means I’m just plain old writing about how music works, using guitar chords).

In January and into February I woke most mornings to scrawl away for 20 minutes to an hour hashing out ideas. In mid-March I joined a little workshop called Writing in Community. Since then I’ve been up early every weekday doing layout work for the book. 

I’m really excited about sharing this work, which I’ll start doing soon. If you’re following the sheets I post weekly you’ll  recognize the principles of BEAD Guides Chord Flow I explain in the book. The book will simply gather it all in a more organized and complete fashion with a binding. It’s all coming in the near-ash future.  

In the meantime, here’s this weeks prompt and musical idea.

The Prompt:

Here’s a link to Rob Gonsalves’ Art. Find out more about Rob’s work here.

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

Unfamiliar with BEAD Guides Chord Flow?
Here’s an intro: BEAD GCF Intro
Here’s how it works in the Key of C: BEAD Key of C
Here’s how it maps chord substitutes: BEAD Subs

Join out community on Facebook here.

The next Fearless Challenge starts this Sunday! You can join in on Facebook by clicking here

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Saturday Songwriting: Just Like Heaven

Each of songs on Rolling Stones list begs the question, what makes it so great? Why is this song in the top 500, not another one? I imagine some of the answer has to do with longevity, legacy, and historical import. But Rolling Stone never seems to mention any of that. 

*Sigh* 

Sometimes, these songs from Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest list actually have some history for me. The entire week I’ve been working on The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” I’ve had this memory of them performing it on MTV’s Video Music Awards. I figured it could be misremembered or conflation, but with a quick search on Youtube, there it is, evidence this really happened:

I was never a huge cure fan, but for some reason that was a moment that stuck for me. 

The Prompt:

Here’s a link to Katrin Berge’s Art. Find out more about Katrin’s work here.

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

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Saturday Songwriting: Under the Boardwalk

Each of songs on Rolling Stones list begs the question, what makes it so great? Why is this song in the top 500, not another one? I imagine some of the answer has to do with longevity, legacy, and historical import. But Rolling Stone never seems to mention any of that. 

*Sigh* 

With number 489 we arrive at The Drifter’s Under the Boardwalk. written by Arthur Resnick and Kenny Young. Topside in the song everything is sunny and family oriented. But that’s only half of what the narrator sings about.   

A cool bit that I didn’t fit onto the sheet is how the song changes key.  

On the boardwalk, during the verses and pre-chorus the song is in sunny G major. When it gets to the chorus, talking about what’s going on just beneath everyone’s feet it switches to E minor.  

G major and E minor share the same chords. Spelled out by BEAD Guides Chord Flow they are: 

F#dim Bm Em Am D G C.  

So how are you supposed to know what key it uses in each part? The short answer is the chorus is focused around the E note, and the Em chord. 

The longer answer is a lot of determining which key a song, (or a song part), is in comes down to feel: Does this part of the song feel most at home on a g note (or the G chord)? Or does it feel more at home on a e note (or the Em chord)? 

To me the song feels most at home during the verses and pre-chorus with g. When the Chorus starts, it feels more at home with e and E minor. The verse has a brighter major feel. The chorus is a little darker, like it’s in the shade of the G chord’s sunny boardwalk.

The Prompt:

Here’s a link to Jeremy Hush’s Art. Find out more about Jeremy’s work here.

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

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Saturday Songwriting: Clocks

It’s been a busy week. I’m taking a break on doing a more “official” write up about the song this week, which is “Clocks” by Coldplay. The sheet and prompt are below.  Enjoy!

The Prompt:

Here’s a link to Daria Hlazatova’s Art. Find out more about Daria’s work here.

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

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