Music Theory, Songwriting, The Muse, Writing

Saturday Songwriting: A Red Reflector

The worksheet I included this week is maybe little music nerdy, but I hope it’s clear and useful. (If you have questions about anything in it, as always let me know so I can improve it!)

One of the things lots of songwriters who compose use the guitar can struggle with is creating melodies which are independent of the chords they are playing. Starting with a melody, it can be hard to know what chords you can play over it, and vice versa. One of the points of this sheet (and the one I put together two weeks ago) is to give songwriting guitarists and entry point into writing melodies independent of chords. 

That’s where I’m aiming on taking this at least.  

The Prompt:

Here’s a link to Arina Gordienko’s Eyes Wide Shut – 2

The Musical Idea:

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Songwriting, The Song Well, Tunesday

Tunesday: Sept. 15th: Where the Mountain Used to Be

Every Tunesday I post a boldly imperfect, one-take song draft of a song. This was written from the prompt post on Saturday, September 12th: Where the Mountain Would Be. (You can receive a new prompt every Friday in time for Happy Hour by signing up here).

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We’ve been inside
Empty highway long haul ride
Fallow fields feeling fraught
Wander aimless what’s been wrought

Flatland level waxing tides
Hermit crab no place to hide
Sidewalk walks empty shells
Quiet days just humming

Water dried up in the well
Hollow echo where the bucket fell
Not even the bump of an anthill
Where the mountain used to be

Wound up strings without a tune
On the floor endless room
Orchestra playing the same old note
No wind for the sails of this boat

Wonder how long we’ll be afloat
Drifting sideways going rote
Concrete grey of cloudless sky
Quiet days just humming by

Music Theory, Songwriting, The Muse, Writing

Saturday Songwriting: Where the Mountain Would Be

Community has always been one of the most important legs on the stool I rest my songwriting on. It should be a no brainer. The more people that join in, the better music gets. But community also to be one of the first things I forget. I was reminded about the importance of community again in an email this morning.  

My friend wrote briefly about how timed writes we’ve done togetherhave helped her. I met Allison this spring over Zoom when we were getting together every Saturday at 1:00PM because how else were we going to ride out Covid-19 and social distancing? I stopped hosting those Zooms because I returned to work, and my time got tight. (That’s also when these emails started). 

We have a nice little community of folks getting these emails right now. One way we could strengthen the community would be simply to post the song on the Fearless Forum after you’ve written, and check in with what other people have done over the weekend.  Another way, would be be to set up a time to write together (at a distance) with a friend or someone in the community, and check in on that.  (Here’s a place to do that on the forum). I’ve taken part in some great video work groups over the past few months where people will check-in at the start and then just dive in and write for a set amount of time while.   

Here’s a link to Edward Curtis’s Canyon De Chelly

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Songwriting

The Serenity Prayer Problem

You’ll likely know The Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

The problem is in the final caveat: How and where do I gain the wisdom to know the difference?

I think Ben Bergeron suggested an answer on Greg McKeown’s “Essentialism” podcast.

Complaining.

He suggested a person who complains, is nearly always complaining about something out of their control. Does this mean I shouldn’t complain? Not necessarily, after all complaining could be a signal to let me know something is out of my control. What I might do if I find myself complaining is ask myself how I might accept what is happening, (or how I might act to change it).

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Songwriting, The Song Well, Tunesday

Tunesday: Sept. 8th: The Good Times Are Here

Every Tunesday I post a boldly imperfect, one-take song draft of a song.

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Can’t sleep tonight
for the roses in my sheets
Can’t sleep tonight
For the thorns my soul does keep
The highway is all backed up
The devil’s toasting cheers
The good times are here

Don’t want to fight
with the rise of the levee
Don’t want to fight
with the boiling of the sea
I’d rather season all my french fries
with the saline from my tears
The good times are here

The moonlight is a mule
Caffeine espresso fuel
My cupboard’s dreams are bare
I want sleep but sleep don’t care

I can’t sleep tonight
I’m locked out in the cold
I can’t sleep tonight
I’m a weed on a side road
I don’t have to find my way home
but I ain’t sleeping here
The good times are here

The orchestra is playing
And banjos are all I hear
The good times are here.