Songwriting is the twin of poetry and I have been writing songs since about 1969 using the guitar mainly. I have tried to learn how to notate them down using some software as a lead sheet as a sort of sketch of various unfinished states. I perform songs at whatever venues I can.
After the last update, I did more to the guitar accompaniment and also tried to solve the rhythmic problem maybe in bars 32 – 40. “We will survive” seems to want to be the big statement but drifts back into standard verse line before it peaks, survive da-da-darr sort of thing, also I’m close to getting it mixed up with another song here and I pull it out of it before it becomes too obvious.
By this, I mean that the poem structure here is not as straightforward as it seems.
While bars 24 – 31 worked out OK with just a straight forward 4/4 strum.
Well, I think it’s almost finished, what do you think?.
Made this law
Feed the hungry
Help the poor
What does it mean
What does it say
In the world today
In the heart of man
There is this code
Care for the widow
Give the naked one clothes
Listen to complaints
Don’t take a bribe
Treat with fairness
Don’t tell lies
I was reading a book by Friedrich Delitzsch called Babel and Bible, 1903, where he talks about the new archaeology of the middle east, the discovery of Assyrian and Babylonian temples and clay tablets. What I liked was how he mentions that God put the need for justice in the human heart and that the laws of these ancient peoples whether Israelite or Babylonian, Moses or Hammurabi, reflected this feeling that the heart has.
The progress so far: in the 2nd, 6th, 11th bars I have changed the melody to fit with an Em-Asus2 combination. The melody was a bit ornamental and this gives it a smoother start to the poetry line. These two chords are like banging two flints together, they can be quite dramatic.
The second part of the song has become I hope a sunnier melody with the C chord in use more and the melody a bit more developed.
The song is in there, it has to be smoothed out, like when you used to get chocolate bars wrapped in tin-foil and you’d smooth them out with your fingers.
Firstly I discovered that by putting in triplets I got the rhythm in place. I’m still not sure about the melody and I keep looking for ways to beef it up a bit. I keep changing the chord progression.
The second part of the second (super) verse is beginning to shape up in a completely different way. It is though a contrast to the first (super) verse of Chris’ poem. It amazes me that she maybe unconsciously formed the poem that way.
At first, I was going to make verse 1 to the minor key and verse 2 to the major key but . . . it’s too rigid that way I think.
The chorus I like it now, but because it is so short I repeat it. Also, the song is only going to last about two minutes and I wonder if this is too short.
The guitar rhythm part is a little better than it was. It too goes through a lot of changes.
I noticed that the four verses of the poem can become two super verses.
The first super verse is the sad one with the darkest hour, night time errors, black dog moments etc.
and the second super verse is the opposite with sunbeams, laughter and song, we will survive etc.
So amazingly, two contrasting super verses, see!
The difficult part of fitting chords to words and melody. I’m very disorganised at this. I go through everything I can think of until it seems to work. It’s like trying to hold three cats at the same time, one named lyric, one named melody and one named chord.
Now I have a guitar problem in that I tried to put new strings on my guitar and one of the plastic bridge pins was broken so I had to carefully drill out the half that was stuck in the hole to remove it, so now I’m waiting for some new unbreakable I hope bronze ones to arrive in the post. I just hope they aren’t being posted from Shanghai by container ship.
This is the beginning of a collaboration, Chris Hall’s poem: Together We Are Strong published on lunasonline.wordpress.com on April 7th 2020.
I was reading the poem when it occurred to me that it told a story, from verse to verse, has drama and strong expressive images and that would work as a song. So I got in touch and put forward my idea and she seemed OK with it.
I’ll try to publish the progress on my blog showing the changes and ideas as they happen. At first, I tried a couple of rhythms led ideas that didn’t seem to work, so then I just sat down with my guitar and tried to play a melody over minor chords. Then fearing I might lose what I had so far I took a break. Now that I come back to it I’m not sure and yet it could be ok or not. 🙂 (My smiley faces never work or some reason but I tried, no I’m wrong there it is).