Tag Archives: Beginnings

Poetry attacks in the night

Have you ever been just about to go to sleep, but then you get the first two lines of your next song? It’s almost physical, the words just come to you.

You grab your notebook that you keep for such occasions and a pencil and try to keep up as the words just keep flowing to you.

You know the title of the song, and you have a draft of the lyrics, when you start thinking of a melodic line to start out with. But it doesn’t stop there. You get the next four lines, and you don’t have staff paper or a computer with you so you just write down pitches, ideas that is a kind of shorthand that will help you know what you’re thinking when you get to the computer after the weekend.

You write in the chorus, the repeats, and through it all, you weep because you know the song has several depths and you have a hunch it will work well both for an instrumental solo or possibly a song if you choose to make it that way sometime. No, you weep because it’s your grief pouring out of you at the same time as the song is taking shape.

Well, I had one of those experiences Saturday. I haven’t had a lot of time to write down the music in my software yet, but my notes have been extremely helpful, for when I had a few moments to start on it.

The grief kept attacking me Sunday, and I could hear new rhythms that needed to be included. Because I like to take sabbath, I just wrote in a shorthand note to be able to retain the idea until later.

Writing a melody

For a song, the melody will be important. As I’m walking this morning, before it really starts snowing, my mind goes to the beginning of the lyrics, and I’m playing off the intro to get the beginning of the vocal line. My walking friends probably don’t notice that I just zone off for a moment while figuring this out.

I pull up my score and start writing in the first lines. I add in some accompaniment. I like sequences, because they make it so you feel like it’s not all new. As usual, I’m wondering if it’s any good, but decide to just keep writing, and edit later. Hoping that it’s not all going to get trashed. Hoping I can write a piece that has just enough challenge to be interesting, but not too difficult so nobody will want to sing it. Or maybe catchy, so everybody will sing it after they hear it. Hm, that would be something new, it hasn’t really been my style before.

At least the chosen selections from Isaiah are pretty powerful, and I’m glad to have some poetry to base the song on.

I don’t get very far today on this piece. But I talk to a friend about writing a piece for her, and that’s exciting.