• Just a quickie...
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Just a quickie...
on: January 04, 2017, 21:24:27
« Last Edit: January 04, 2017, 21:35:40 by acoustic-alice »
Had this song idea in my head for a few days...Finally got my guitar out to start writing it...

I loved the idea.

Played it to my husband...He doesn't think the lyrics/subject matter, go with the melody and chords.

Throw your thoughts at me. Do you agree?!?!

https://soundcloud.com/acousticalice/calm-down-darling/s-ypByL


(verse) my little boy's crying in the back of the car
I'm hushing him and telling him we're not going far
Calm down, baby, calm down

Music playing and we're singing along
I tell my husband off he got the lyrics wrong
Calm down darling, calm down

(Bridge) These little things won't shatter
We're all safe, thats what matters
Have a sleep, breathe in deep

So calm down honey, this is not how it seems
You've been over thinking this, it's not that extreme
Come and lay down with me
Calm down honey why don't you take a breath
These things are only really small, not quite life or death
So calm down darling, calm down




That's all I got. Now, he thought that the whole song was about trying to calm the baby down.
My intention was for the song to be about not over thinking small situations. @Jim I may need your lyric genius help!!!


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Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #1 on: January 04, 2017, 22:05:59
I think the problem is that the first verse almost always does a lot of work setting the scene...and because your verse one currently does set a scene it makes the reader/listener think that's what the song is about...so don't beat hubby up - he's just being human.  ;)

Why not have another first verse?  You can do another!  ;D  If that sets a similar scene but with a different loved one (presumably hubby?) it might work better... :)

I think the lyrics sound quite good by the way...just on a quick read.  Going to listen now.  ;)

 


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Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #2 on: January 04, 2017, 22:11:41
Or you could just swap verse 1 and 2 down maybe @acoustic-alice?  Presumably you going to write more anyway....I like the guitar too!  But I wonder if the bridge could work sounding a but more different...obviously I'd recommend a key change (going into the chorus) but maybe just different sounding chords or technique would do.


Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #3 on: January 05, 2017, 02:36:15
@acoustic-alice By the time you got to the bridge, it occurred to me that you could also be singing to yourself in a verse! "Calm down silly," or some other self-effacing line.. That's the twist I would consider working with as the song develops..

Also I know this is a weird suggestion form-wise, but make the bridge the chorus (it's much more open ended.) Then turn the "So calm down honey section" into the bridge."   Also, I might make that bridge start with Calm down baby - not honey.  Then sing honey after the lay down with me line.  So you're including the whole family ..including yourself if you can.

Anyway, some OTB suggestions..  I love the way you phrase things as a singer and your guitar playing is solid and perfect for the genre. -Mark


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Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #4 on: January 05, 2017, 10:01:44
indeed - writing another verse, or swapping 1 & 2 can produce a better build-up. You could also change the word husband into "you" - at the same time make it more personal for the listener, but more general for you yourself as a writer.
recommending https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Music_Works "How music works", book by David Byrne.


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Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #5 on: January 05, 2017, 11:34:27
This is very good....love the guitar playing...and your voice.

A couple of things that grabbed me right away......I LOVE how you can take this in two ways (son and husband) but you might consider making the listener work harder for that connection. The words "little boy" didn't quite work for me....nor did the word "husband". What if you started with....."Baby's crying in the back of the car" and then went to...."I tell him off he's got the lyrics wrong". I think the connection would be there for the listener to make...and I like that flow of words a bit better. Just a thought......I always like to try to leave a little mystery. :)

I agree with @Jim about possibly flipping the lyrics, although if you go with those proposed changes I like it as is. I do quite often end up with the first verse that I come up with being used later in the song.

Is this fun....or what?

 8)
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Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #6 on: January 05, 2017, 12:19:52
Regarding key changes @acoustic-alice, they're actually not that difficult to do...in fact your question "which key would I choose?" is very pertinent indeed.  I'll give you a very quick run-through, you never know, others might find it useful too.

Any key in (standard western) music is defined by how many sharps or flats are played...so to make things really straightforward, the key of C major has no sharps of flats (let's not do minor yet).  The keys that are closest (or the easiest to go to) in C major are the ones with the least number of sharps or flats.  So, G major has one sharp and is "closest" to C major in the "sharp direction" and F major has one flat and is closest in the "flat direction".  Both of these keys are easy to move to, and the transition (more on that in a bit) can be done very smoothly.  Obviously you can keep going adding sharps or flats and at some point you'll end up meeting yourself!  This is most commonly represented as what is known as the "circle of fifths":



If you've seen this before and wondered what it's about then maybe now it makes more sense.  To recap, if you find the key you're in on the chart then by adding one sharp (or taking away a flat in a "flat key") you will move one step round the circle in a clockwise direction and if you add a flat (or play one less sharp) then you'll move around the circle in an anti-clockwise direction.  The keys one step away from the starting key (and their relative minor keys) are referred to as the "closely related keys"...these are the ones you want to choose from in the first instance.  For C major, these keys are F major (and D minor) and G major (and E minor).

So that's the basic theory about moving between keys, but how do you actually do it?  It all depends on what effect you want to achieve...some composers will jump to another key in order to create a shock effect (then there was that awful "truck driver" key change trend in the 60s and 70s which thankfully went away), but the thing to do (IMHO) is to make that change as smooth as possible.  This is where we need another very useful (but simple) bit of music theory...the power of the dominant chord.

Calm down, it's not as bad as it sounds...we can use the chart again, but first I do need to explain what a dominant chord is.  Going back to C major, there are three major chords which exist naturally (the posh word is diatonically) in that key: C (obviously), F and G.  If we want to add a seventh on to those chords (after all, they do sound nice, sevenths) we have Cmaj7, Fmaj7 and G7 (remember, the chords are "built" by playing alternate notes from the key scale), why is G7 different?  Because the 7th note is a whole tone below the root note, whereas with the other two the 7th is a semitone below.  This makes the dominant chord unique, and in any key (major or minor) there is only ever one dominant chord.  What's more, your ears know this, and also due to some complex stuff to do with frequencies and leading voices you don't need to know about, the most pleasing resolution in a given key is to move from the dominant chord (even stronger with the 7th in) to the root chord.  In fact, so strong is this resolution, that music theorists not only give it a special name - the "perfect cadence" - it is (according to them at least) what defines which key the music is in.  (E.g., play G7->C, you have convinced everyone that you are in C major).

Still with me?  Good.  So why do you need to know this stuff about dominants?  Because the power of dominants is so strong that you can use them to smooth out key changes...Let's say I want to go from the key of C major to G major...then I can do some stuff in C major so we know where we are, then instead of playing a D minor chord (which lives in C major) I can play a D major (ideally a D7) chord and as long as the G chord is next (D is the dominant in G) then it sounds like we're in G major now and we can carry on in the new key quite happily.  The only slight jar was playing D7 instead on Dm7, but it's only a semitone different, and there are ways of approaching that chord too to make it even smoother.  Why did I say that about the chart?  Well, you can always find the dominant chord of a key by looking at what the next clockwise key is, e.g., to the right of G is D, and we needed the D7 to move to the G major key.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, but it's the most useful bit, and if you play around with those dominant chords of a related key (often called "secondary dominants") you'll find you can make things much more lively!  (Jazzers use secondary dominants all the time...but then they do lots of more crazy stuff than that!).

Sorry, this post turned into a monster...but hopefully it's helpful.  ;D


Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #7 on: January 05, 2017, 12:20:37
You could also change the word husband into "you" - at the same time make it more personal for the listener, but more general for you yourself as a writer.
+1 It all depends on how definitively you want the listener to be stepping into the shoes of your protagonist, but I much prefer writing lyrics that listeners experience on their own terms.  They may not be mothers or have children, but for instance, 'baby' and 'honey' are terms of endearment that all genders use.


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Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #8 on: January 05, 2017, 13:34:42
Off topic: @Jim  ! ! That's really useful info! Maybe we need another board 'The songwiting process' and add a thread 'Music theory' to it.  This is useful 'intell' for every songwriter..
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Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #9 on: January 05, 2017, 13:42:25
I wouldn't even know how to go about doing a key change and what key would work!? :( I'm technically very simple minded when it comes to music.

I was watching a very old video of David Bromberg performing a song the other day...I think it was David......maybe not. Anyway....in the middle of the performance he actually reached down and seamlessly changed the position of his capo.

Key change made simple.


Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #10 on: January 05, 2017, 15:51:35
Hey @acoustic-alice this is lovely!!! Agree with the suggestions given to make it more relatable although it's lovely to hear the inspiration coming through so vividly in your original version.


Great to have you back posting in such prolific fashion ! Looking forward to the next version!


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Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #11 on: January 05, 2017, 16:20:42
Off topic: @Jim  ! ! That's really useful info! Maybe we need another board 'The songwiting process' and add a thread 'Music theory' to it.  This is useful 'intell' for every songwriter..


I agree...it's well off topic and I've often thought having a board with hints and tips, i.e., expert knowledge (oh, listen to him!) would be a good addition to the Kitchen.  One for discussion, methinks.

I wouldn't even know how to go about doing a key change and what key would work!? :( I'm technically very simple minded when it comes to music.

I was watching a very old video of David Bromberg performing a song the other day...I think it was David......maybe not. Anyway....in the middle of the performance he actually reached down and seamlessly changed the position of his capo.

Key change made simple.

But that's just a lazy way to do it...and it still needs setting up (as per my previous post).  I bet it was two frets up or down he moved...


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Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #12 on: January 05, 2017, 17:16:47
But that's just a lazy way to do it...and it still needs setting up (as per my previous post).  I bet it was two frets up or down he moved...

I agree.....and yes, it was just two frets up. Took me by surprise to see him do it.

A key change can definitely be a nice change-up in a song and it's actually pretty easy if you just give it a little thought....even for a "cowboy chord" type player like your's truly.  ::Hoss::


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Re: Just a quickie...
Reply #13 on: January 06, 2017, 10:37:09
I like how those first two verses are set up now....and I love where this tune is headed. I like how you change the "calm down........." each time.

Take a look at this line as you move forward:

These things are only really small, not quite life or death

.......as it feels a bit cumbersome. Perhaps just losing "only" would help the flow.