December 30, 2007

music choices for lyrics

I had a lyric idea awhile back: "You/I got a heart but no brain... Lumber but no hammer/an apprentice with no master". (I haven't decided yet whether it will be in the first or second person). I then came up with some chords and a melody for it. But the melody and chords sounded familiar, and sure enough, I realized it was almost the same as another song someone else had written. I guess that song was in my subconscious. I was a little bummed because I couldn't use the melody and chords, they seemed perfect for the lyric. Not to mention that I would have to start over.

I have a bunch of music ideas without lyrics. I like to just fiddle around with the guitar and come up with music. When I get something interesting, I record it. So last night I started listening to some in hopes of finding one that might work for the lyric. After going throught the first 20 music ideas--not even half--I had 3 that might fit. So I went down to the basement and tried them out. One seemed to work the best. Interesting enough, it was in a minor key; the almost-stolen chords were in a major key. I actually like my chords and melody better than the one I almost stole!

-Rob

December 16, 2007

new song, early stages

I'm going to show my songwriting butt to the world in this blog. Here's a song in the earliest stages of development. Earlier today I was going to work on one of my many unfinished songs, but couldn't get motivated. I just wanted to play electric and loud. So I turned on an amp and grabbed my electric guitar, for some weird reason I started playing some rock-reggae music, Dm to Am. I immediately thought of some stream-of-consciousness free-writing I did about a month ago. So I dug it out, and started singing some of these lines to the music. Here's the lines-- no structure yet, no rhyme, etc. Just building blocks.

Too much traffic
Too much stress
Bright lights in my face
I can't see / I can't look away
I can't pass
running off the road
When did this start?
How did this happen?
What went wrong?
I thought I was smart
Doesn't make sense
Where's the essence?
Where's the root
Too many filters
It's all fake
It's all an illusion / delusion / mirage
lake in the desert
false attraction
noise and chatter
too many distractions
can't hear the music
too much chatter
I follow the leader
not my brain
too many salesmen
grabbing my arms
reaching for my pocket
too much greed
lying is respectable
everyone does it.

In the past, I would have started trying to assemble these into a structure, with rhyme. But as a result of the mentoring sessions I did with John Common, I'm gonna try to stay in the creative mode longer, and just groove on a few of the lines with the guitar, experiment with melodies and rhythms and chords. I'm open to changing anything. Might not end up as reggae. Might be acoustic. Might not be Dm-Am. I might keep the music and throw out all the lines and write a completely different theme.

I'll keep you posted.

P.S. - a lesson learned here: if it's time for your scheduled songwriting time, and you're feeling uncreative, lethargic and unmotivated, do it anyway. Do something. You never know what might happen. Put the time in.

-Rob

December 8, 2007

Your Last Day (poem)

My brother Mark died in Feb 2007 from brain cancer. His last days were spent at a hospice. I got this idea yesterday and wrote it down.

Your Last Day
by Rob Roper Dec 7, 2007

It was cold
and snowing, lightly.

You didn't open your eyes
You couldn't talk anymore
We talked to you
but we didn't know
whether you could hear us
We talked to you anyway
just in case.

But most likely you were dreaming
and the dreams were probably wild and exotic
All dreams are
Time and people and places
are juxtaposed, inverted
disassembled and reassembled randomly
It all makes sense in the dream
Then you wake up and think, "that was weird".

But of course you didn't wake up.

The next morning you passed away.
And the snow stopped falling
And the sun came out.