Songbirds of a Feather…

This Valentine’s Day weekend (the one of recent past including today), Roger and I are attempting a feat we have always talked about, but never have pulled together… we will be writing a song. Writing stories, essays or poems never have fazed me like the intimidation I feel with writing a song. Placing writing on a 3rd dimension, the words are not the only element. The addition of rhythm, melodies and eventual harmonies create an endless palette of choices.

We started this weekend while the kid was snoozing along to They Might Be Giants after a long day at the zoo. Head spinning, I had a hard time determining where to begin. So I toke the natural route for me. Scribbling down words that vaguely have flow and meter, I managed to come up with a chorus and most of a verse. Then I became stuck.

Luckily for me, Roger is a seasoned veteran. We sat down and played with the all of the rhythms on our little Casio keyboard. This was a bit of an awkward process, but in the end I discovered that I wrote it with a 3/4 tempo in mind (but as Roger said, it could be in 4/4). Who knew.

Next up, music… actual notes. This is where I completely rely on Roger’s expertise. After a bit of tooling around with his guitar, he came up with some chords to fit. “That sounds like a funeral procession.” was my immediate remark. The bitter truth came with all of the minor chords he presented. That one was scrapped.

The song is about all of the little things I wish Thomas would say, but not wanting him to grow up or have time pass. To me, I wanted it to be an upbeat sort of song while Roger saw it as a sad sort of ballad.

The next set of chords weren’t bad. Roger’s instincts point him towards the country end of the spectrum, still a little sad, but he exclaims, “This one only has one minor chord.” We wrote down the chords and moved on to something completely different.

Completely different was right. I loved where he went. I could already imagine singing along with Roger on stage. This was a break through, a parting of the clouds. We can do this.

As we started on the verses, the little one woke up. So tonight, our goal is to finish what we started. And after that, we will turn it over to the band.

A song is a strange and amazing collaborative art piece that morphs each time some one touches it. From the words to the rhythm to the melody to the bass and the drums; the end result a mystery until all of the pieces are put together. In the end, we are creating a lasting Valentine’s Day memory of making music together for the first time.

Design credit: John Tibbott Threadless shirt design currently available called “Classic Notation.”


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