Author Topic: The Tale of Life  (Read 344 times)

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Offline Ehsan

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The Tale of Life
« on: June 18, 2017, 23:26:47 »
*update: Added a rough recording. Moved from Lyrics board.*

Hi,

A while ago I was reading about concepts of "duration neglect" and "peak-end rule" in psychology. The idea is, very roughly, that when we want to evaluate our lives (or periods of life), we view them as stories and care too much about the ending, almost ignoring lots of sweet and bitter times in between (This is only a part of the topic that's related to this post and Wikipedia pages are more accurate).

Then I stumbled upon "The Dance" by Garth Brooks that explained a similar concept really beautifully. I was tempted to write my own song about this topic and this is how it turned out.

It's probably too long and depressing to be a popular song but I enjoyed it as a practice. I was wondering if it feels right to you or I'm just squeezing a really long story into a song. Also, for me the probability of making a stupid mistake approaches one as the number of words increases so there might be some inconsistencies or wrong phrases!!

Thanks!

https://soundcloud.com/ehsanei/the-tale-of-life
The Tale of Life

(Verse 1)
Lying alone I think about when we were young and free
The night when we shared our first kiss under a tree
Everything was perfect in that moment in my head
I didn't know and didn't care what future lay ahead

That night I looked above and saw the twinkle of a star
I took it as a sign from heaven: a message from afar
Somewhere away from us, high up in the sky
That sweet memory was sung by angels as a lullaby

(Chorus)
Every life's a tale for angels lips to tell
And I wonder if they grieve when it doesn't end so well
Or do* they keep and treasure those little sparks
That brighten up our hearts for moments in the dark

(Verse 2)
We stayed together for years as we were growing old
We lived the pages of life and let the new chapters unfold
Through its adventures we watched joy and sorrow blend**
And you promised me that you'd never leave me till the end

But then I learned the hard way that no matter how strong
Happiness and love will last only for so long
Now every night I lie by myself under that tree
And search the sky for a wink from an angel gone from me

(Chorus x2)

--
* "if" or "do"?! (edited)
** I'm having second thoughts here. Is "in blend" a legitimate phrase?! (edited)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 15:22:45 by Ehsan »

Offline Mar T.

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2017, 02:59:33 »
Hey english fellows ( @Jim, @Olbigead , @Leonard Scaper , @Zedd to name a few  ;) ) please don't force me to help @Ehsan with my Pidgin English!!  :whistle: :whistle:
So @Ehsan, what I'm about to write is probably not helpful at all and will even cause more confusion, but I'll try to help.

My thoughts:
V1:
free and tree: sound like they are forced to rhyme to me

Chorus:
* I'd say 'do' here

V2:
Same thing about 'old' and 'unfold'
Maybe 'we lived the pages' insteas of 'we flipped the pages' to get the subject more involved instead of passive?
** not sure about 'blend' here as well.. Tears can blend together, but I don't think tears exist 'in blend'.

Overall: sounds/feels a bit cheesy to me, but if that's what you intended of course that's 100% ok!
I like some cheesyness now and then, so I loved this tale. Well done and I hope I helped a bit..
Cheers my friend,
:mart:

Offline Ehsan

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2017, 03:31:37 »
Thanks @Mar T. . ::thumb::
That was sure helpful.
Yeah I think it's maybe kinda like a teen pop tune with these rhymes.
Cheers! ;)

Offline Jim

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2017, 14:14:10 »
Hi @Ehsan,

I agree with @Mar T., it is a little cheesy, but then again you don't seem to mind.  For me, what I'd like to see a lot more of is the use of imagery...there's a little bit with the concept of the twinkling star but I think it could be taken a lot further, making allegories and using metaphor and so on.  But that said, it's not easy to do that, especially in a language other than your mother tongue, as the subtle associations that words have aren't as apparent.  Something to bear in mind going forward I'd say.  :)

Language-wise, there's not a lot I'd change, I don't find the rhymes that forced (in fact head/ahead gives my more issues than the one before).  Here are some little amendments:

I took it as a sign from heaven: a message from afar <-- it's "heavens above" or just "heaven", colon is a bit better than comma
Somewhere away from us, high up in the sky <-- scans better and is more natural speech I think

Every life's a tale for angels lips to tell <-- scans better I think

(Do's fine BTW)

We stayed as one ten years as we grew old <-- Not happy with this...but it's a way to solve the scansion issues with those unstressed pairs like "we were"

(Blend's fine)

And search the sky for a wink from an angel gone from me <-- still has similar scansion issues but is more grammatically correct at least

Hope this helps  ;)

Offline Ehsan

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2017, 18:16:40 »
Big thanks @Jim  ::thumb::

Yeah the melody and chords I had in mind weren't that complex either, mostly simple Major chords. I wanted to make something bittersweet like the love story in the first few minutes of Up, the animation, but I see there's room for improvement regarding rhymes.

What I'm afraid of the most is slipping in some really nonsensical phrases and thinking in Persian while writing in English, something like Eye to Eye by Tahir Shah.

I fixed "Do" and "Blend" last night thanks to @Mar T. 's tips.

Your suggestions are great. I'll edit my first post.
Just "We stayed as one ten years as we grew old" seems to have too few syllables. Still I get that the original line has some problems and I'll think of an alternative.

Thanks again!
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 19:14:27 by Ehsan »

Offline Jim

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2017, 11:34:48 »
I didn't hear the song @Ehsan, maybe you forgot to put the link up?

Glad you like the suggestions...the thing about the line with fewer syllables is a bit complicated but I'll try to explain.  Firstly, you don't seem to have a fixed number of stressed syllables (well metric feet really, but that's a lot to explain) per line, some have six some have seven, I think there's even a five there too somewhere.  That's OK, this isn't a olde worlde ballad, so I figured as lot of those "fitting things into phrases" issues would have to get sorted out at performance time.  ;)

Actually, I've just realised, I did things a bit too quickly yesterday and made a mistake with that line...if I do the scansion properly it comes out as:

x    / |  x  /| x  x    / |  x  / | x    /| x   / 
We stayed together for years as we were growing old


That's OK, I originally decided that stayed had two syllables - STAY-ed - and that threw things out.  Please ignore me when I'm wrong.  :-[

Just to explain, in case you're interested, my suggestion comes out as this:

x    / |  x  / | /    / |  x  / | /   / 
We stayed as one ten years as we grew old


Although it has less syllables overall, there are more stressed syllables, and ideally there are no more than two stressed syllables per bar in 4/4 music (usually beat 1 and 3)...when you have two stresses together like "grew old", that should take up the whole bar (i.e., two minims), but obviously things vary, see my previous point about performance time.

Anyway, I would like to hear it after reading it a few times now!  :D


Offline Ehsan

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2017, 14:24:04 »
Thanks @Jim .
Yeah "we" and "stayed" are glued together. Not sure if it's the correct way to sing it but that's how I sing it in this track.
I only shared the lyrics first to make sure everything's fine but I just uploaded a rough recording: https://soundcloud.com/ehsanei/the-tale-of-life
(Sorry for all the noise! My phone mic sucks!!)

I considered adding a few dissonant notes in the second verse but then I thought that would strip the song of its "innocence." So there's only a little flavor in the intro and cadence. The rest are simple chord progressions.

@Mar T. Should I move this thread to Songs for Review now?!
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 14:31:35 by Ehsan »

Offline Mar T.

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2017, 15:10:29 »
Hey @Ehsan , can't listen right now (chilling on the dutch beach, non stop drinking :mhm:  ;) ;) ) , but good idea, I moved the thread for you. I'll listen when I return home tomorrow..
Cheers!

Offline Ehsan

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2017, 15:13:54 »
Hope you like both the beach and my track @Mar T. !! ;)

Offline Jim

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2017, 16:26:19 »
Nice song, just quickly listened at work and it seems to be using the Axis of Awesome chords...I wonder if the chorus might work a bit better if it kicked up a major fifth? 

E.g., (A E D F#m) B7 (E B A C#m)

(Where the first set of brackets is the verse and the second is the chorus [B7 being the transition]...I'm pretty sure you actually play a different sequence for the chorus, and I've probably got the progression wrong, but as I said I only quickly listened and I hope you get the idea!?)

Offline Ehsan

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2017, 16:35:51 »
Yes @Jim. I didn't go beyond the six common chords and it's mostly those four chords. Quite easy-listening!
These are the chord progressions (in C Major):
Verse, first stanza: C F Dm G
Verse, second stanza: C Am Dm G
Chorus and instrumental: C Em Am F G
Cadence: G Csus2 C

Offline Jim

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2017, 17:55:38 »
Yes @Jim. I didn't go beyond the six common chords and it's mostly those four chords. Quite easy-listening!
These are the chord progressions (in C Major):
Verse, first stanza: C F Dm G
Verse, second stanza: C Am Dm G
Chorus and instrumental: C Em Am F G
Cadence: G Csus2 C

Thanks for filling in the chords!  As far as I'm concerned, Am is just Fmaj7 without the root, so you could stick with Fmaj7 throughout and it wouldn't sound very different.   ;)

So what I was suggesting in context is:

(:C F Dm G:) D7 (:G Em Am D:) G7 (:C F Dm G:)

With extensions (just 7ths):

(:Cmaj7 Fmaj7 Dm7 G7:) D7 (:Gmaj7 Em7 Am7 Dmaj7:) G7 (:Cmaj7 Fmaj7 Dm7 G7:)

Obviously there's repeats in the verses and choruses which is what the :'s denote.  If the transitions sound a bit jarring I can look into smoothing them out a bit (Dmaj7 -> G7 might be a jump too much) .  ;D

I'm unfamiliar with Cadence in that context...Coda maybe?  Or Cadenza?

Offline Ehsan

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2017, 19:22:44 »
I meant that I played a Csus2 and then resolved in C at the end. Not sure if it's actually called cadence!!
What do these new three brackets represent respectively, @Jim ?!

Offline Jim

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2017, 20:07:16 »
I'm pretty sure it's not a cadence...maybe an implied one?  Not sure about that...normally used in suspensions (hence sus) where a note from the previous chord "hangs around" to the next, sort of slows things down.  This is what happening here as the 2 note (D) lives in the V chord.

As for the brackets I didn't mean to confuse things  :-\  It's just to denote the differences between the verse and chorus.  Maybe this helps more:

Approaching the chorus:

... C F Dm G D7 G Em Am D  ...

Exiting the chorus:

... G Em Am D G7 C F Dm G ...

Where the colour key is verse, transition, chorus:)

Offline revivalchoir

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Re: The Tale of Life
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2017, 20:24:34 »
it's a really pleasant listen :)  ::thumb:: ::thumb::
<3,
soundcloud.com/revivalchoir


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