Thursday, April 26, 2007

Simple chords - strong melody

I wrote a song last night with a pretty strong melody. As we talked about it today with Ben Senterfit , I came to realize that the reason the melody emerged was that the chords were so simple. Since I used the same chord progression for both the verses and chorus, the only place to get variation was in the melody. What I realized was in my quest to have more interesting chord changes, I didn't leave room for melody.

As we began to work on the song, we started substituting chords or changing the time sequence (i.e. 3/4, 2/4, ...) , while keeping the melody constant. I was amazed that the melody still worked. Based on this, I'm going to try a new approach to songwriting:

1) Start with simple chords
2) Develop the lyrics and melody
3) Substitute in more interesting chords

To do this, I'm going to take advantage of my multi-track recorder. The process would look something like:

Step 1 - On track 1 I'm going to record the simple chords.
Step 2 - On track 2 sing the lyrics and melody.
Step 3 - Play only track 2 and try different chords arrangements.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Music makes the wedding

Julie and my wedding a few weeks ago was filled with music. We had a number of people come up to us afterward to say how much they enjoyed the ceremony and wedding. I believe music played a huge role in that (or maybe it was just the open bar before the ceremony).

We started out with a string quartet. We had members of Julie's symphony and her brother on trumpet. You can't beat strings for a wedding!

In the ceremony, Ben Senterfit, played the song that I wrote to propose with. Unfortunately, I was a little too preoccupied to thoroughly enjoy someone else singing one of my songs. However, from I can remember it sounded great. I need to get a CD!

We also had Julie's cousin Tim and our friend Mary Ann (who's sings "Little Fish" and "Ode to the Canyon" on my website) sing Kate Wolf's, "Give Yourself to Love." Mary Ann got us by adding a surprise verse at the end. She always wanted to be a songwriter and her first try was a huge success!

Afterward, we had dance music provided by Ben's band. I was impressed with the band's ability to play great dance music, but not overpower the room. The dance floor was packed all night and yet I could still talk to people throughout the room. You want a great band for a wedding, contact Ben. Unfortunately, they don't do the Chicken Dance or YMCA.

Thanks to our friends for providing the music to make it a memorable night.

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