Sunday, August 02, 2015
Saturday, August 01, 2015
Guitar dream and waking up to songs
Last night I dreamed that I went to the Cash Converters to look for guitars.
I found one with an unusual body shape -- much like a Vox Phantom, but with the body rotated 90 degrees (see mock-up).
It was a stupid approach, because the pickups were **parallel** to the strings, so each string either had **all six** pole pieces under it -- or **no** pickup.
Then I realized that it **was** a Vox Phantom where someone had rotated the body: I could see the old screw holes on the back for the neck.
And then I woke up. :)
Speaking of sleeping: for about the last week when I've woken up, the very first thing that has gone through my head is the music and lyrics (either the chorus, or the start of the first verse) to one of the songs I've recently written. The exception is that about two mornings ago I woke up to "Hey Jealousy" by the Gin Blossoms -- probably because I'd stayed up late the night before, learning the song.
Friday, July 31, 2015
I'm not sure what brought this on (but I'm sure my subconscious does!) -- but a few days ago I've been thinking about the song "Hey Jealousy", by the Gin Blossoms. Been singing it to myself, at home, in the car, at work.
It's a sad song, if you listen to the lyrics -- and the context is sad as well: according to Wikipedia, the band member who wrote the song got kicked out of the band for substance abuse problems -- and then sat on the sidelines while the band (without him!) hit the big time on the strength of that song. Shortly after, he killed himself.
Anyhow, a few days ago I did a web search for the lyrics, and last night I did a search for the chords -- and then stayed up late playing the song.
In the original version of the song, the third verse just repeats the first verse. But today, on the train ride to work I had the audacity to write my own third verse, which hints at a future together. And I'm also changing the phrase "Hey Jealousy" to "Hey Melody".
I also did a YouTube search for cover versions -- all of which are either pretty faithful "distorted guitar" renditions or else "acoustic guitar" versions in the same tempo. Mine will be more synth-driven -- I think.
When I get around to it. :)
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Friday, July 24, 2015
I think that hobbies can classified into three broad categories: solitary hobbies; group hobbies; and hobbies that can be either.
For example, solitary hobbies are:
-model boat building
Group hobbies are:
And, hobbies that can be either solo or group are:
-visiting the opera, seeing concerts and plays, going to movies
-weightlifting (i.e. you could go with a friend, or by yourself)
-going to sporting events
-playing musical instruments
These aren't exhaustive lists, of course. But the ones that came to me were either solitary, or "flexible": not too many were inherently "group".
I found it interesting that all of my major and minor interests were either "solo" or "solo/group" -- which I practice solo.
Specifically woodworking, songwriting, recording, playing music, gardening -- I do 'em by myself.
Monday, July 20, 2015
I write songs
“I am a machine that turns experiences into songs.”
--Gye Greene, July 2015
It's fairly typical -- although episodic -- to be struck by an experience, situation, or turn of phrase -- and a song spontaneously develops inside my head. Sometimes I have to squeeze it a bit; other times it just comes pouring out -- and I have to write it down quickly, or else it evaporates and I lose it forever: I've lost some choice phrasing because I didn't write it down.
Once I've written down the words, however, they sometimes continue to evolve. I find that when I'm singing them to myself -- especially if I'm doing it from memory -- I'll sing the words "wrong". And usually the "wrong" way is better: either the flow is smoother, or I get an unexpected twist.
Here are two examples.
One is an old one -- circa 1989(!!!) -- called "Casablanca Nights". The original line was "If you were a flag I'd put my hand on my heart, and tell you that it's for thee I sing" -- a reference to "The Star Spangled Banner".
However, I always sing it -- accidentally -- as "I'd put my hand on my head". This revision no longer makes direct sense -- but it's more cryptic, and possibly more interesting.
Another is a song from the last year, about an older woman and her carer. The original line was:
“Susan – will you cut some cake for me?”
Then, just to improve clarity, I changed it to:
“Susan", she said, "Will you cut some cake for me?”
But, as I was walking from the train station to my car, and singing it to myself (from memory), I was mis-singing it as:
“Susan", she said, "Could you cut a slice of cake for me?”
This version had a better flow, and also much stronger alliteration: lots of C's and S's.
So apparently my brain -- and my mouth -- naturally smooth over the rough spots and produce better lyrics and phrasing.
Speaking of songwriting: two of my three children (The Girl, and Mechanical Boy [B2]) occasionally write songs -- which (of course) pleases me. The girl has probably written five, and Mechanical Boy has written three, I think. Even though they both take piano lessons, they haven't actually set them to music -- but they do have the words and the main melody line.
Their writing songs is probably a combination of natural inclination, plus modelling: I've placed copies of recordings of a few of my old songs on their mp3 players -- and they already knew that "Daddy writes songs". So writing songs is something "normal", rather than exotic or "regular people don't do that".
No songs yet from B2 (Blondie Boy). Maybe later; maybe not at all.