p56

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~ poetry, lyrics, parody, compose ~

'our story in a song ... as poetry set to music'

"Writer’s block only exists in your mind, and if you let yourself have it, it will cripple your ability to function as a creative person. The answer to so-called writer’s block is doing the work."

wiki ~ Lamont Dozier

'Lyrics help shape the form of a song, and by its phrasing ensures that no two songs are ever the same, that no two of us phrase pure alike, thus all musics was once new ~

Been said for a long time ... 'the pen is mightier than the sword', yet can we be mightier even so by speaking our penned words in song ... ?

~ a poetry of words expressing our thoughts while moving through time floating on the aural expressive magics of music color in a song ~

~ in a nutshell with a notebook and pen ~

~ what we copyright ~

~ rhyming words into song / rhythm ~

~ capturing the passions of life in poetry / song ~

~ spoken word poets ~

~ singers and vocalists ~

~ famous lyricists ~

~ lyrics of a love song or tell a story ? ~

~ writing top 40 hits ~

~ and some blues ~

~ parody / rhyme / emulate ~

~ rhyming words ~

~ singer / vocalist ~

~ a novelty song ~

~ a 12 bar blues ~

~ .

 

Nutshell ~ parodies ~ lyrics ~ poetry. It all can start when we're kids, when we learned our first songs, with rote rhyming words of the tune helping us to learn and sing the pitches of its melody. And once the song was in our hearts, and often with gusto, we created endless parodies of the melody, creating the new stories into a song as they came along. And being kids ? Chances are there was some pure silly in the words, funny and often hilarious, at least to us :)

And for some folks, even now that years and decades have passed by, and the stories have matured, it's kinda beyond amazing how these kid riffs will still inspire parodies today, and even everyday, when the creative sparks off a new tale to tell. Once underway all options are on the table.

As kids, we probably started off as poets and writing lyrics by creating parodies of the songs we sang, and I know this magic still works like a charm today because I just wrote a love poem to MJ by parody-ing a theme lifted from a 60's t.v. show. Sounds crazy yes but it still a superhoot way fun to compose poems and lyrics, which when set to music / time become songs all because ... "some people want to fill the world with silly love songs."

wiki ~ "Flipper"
wiki ~ "Silly Love Songs"

Begins anew. That each new generation of songwriters gets to capture their times in songs is the magic of our natural inspirations to create and record the doings and events of life, the history of generations and eras. Adding these stories together becomes our 'storybook' Americana, a library collection of songs with lyrics through history. And while ... 'the times they are a (always) changing ...' there's similar structural qualities of our stories that span the eras, plots, pitches and rhythms. These we study.

And while there's always a something new to come along to inspire writing lyrics, like U :) ... there's a 'tried and true' in our song collection to help get started and carry us through. Often termed a 'gem', or a 'standard', these we study. As such songs are the ones we sing along to, over and over sometimes, we sing and feel good, and that there's our motivator. Throw in pure natural inspirations to express and we're ready to begin to create lyrics, one's we'll sing over and over.

“Talking is the slowest form of communicating. Music is much better.”

wiki ~ John Lennon

Notebook and pen. Writing lyrics brings all of our natural skills and experiences together as a creative artist; combining our intellect, wisdoms and rhythm through time with the spoken word. Our natural and just excited about life verbosity pays off huge when rhyming words into songs. Really just a wordsmith's fun of just solving the puzzles, and because it's yours, to tell a tale as never done before. Just do it, start, go solo or collaborate, notebook and pen, and just keep going and good things and good lyrics will surely happen :)

wiki ~ "Hey Jude"

And what we copyright. Lyrics and words, along with a written notation of a song's melody, is what we can copyright to create a legal ownership of our creative ideas. And as we've some 100 years or so of history now in writing and copyright of Americana song, it's an easy thing to do and one that really creates a sense of closure to creating a song.

wiki ~ copyright

Rhyming words. Remember the first words you rhymed together ? With family and friends, reciting rhymes that were age old, or making up parodies of lines we already knew. Maybe it's ... 'A B C D E F G ... ' An early riff I learned on the playground goes like this;

... 'three six nine

the goose drank wine

the monkey chewed tobacco on the street car line

the line broke and the monkey choked

and they all went to heaven in a little row boat.'

Crazy huh ? Two four bar phrases too, well depending :) This riff and rhythm got us started off. As kids roaming about the schoolyard, buddies and I would chant this lick together, over and over probably. And in the repetition we got the rhythms deep, surely syncopated them into rote. And then variations of the words, so new lyrics, and as we aged along the story changed too the basic riff and rhythms from the original.

And once you get the words going ? Just keep going :) Just turns out that once we get the general idea and rhythm of a line, by repeating the words or even syllables we already have, over and over, the 'right' words we're searching for will eventually come forth. This simple process has worked for everybody who ever struggled for the words to their song, and if ya keep at it, it'll work for you two.

Well there's a zillion of these out there and we each have our own to draw from. So this finding the rhythm of the words, finding a balance in phrasing, and creating a story are the beginning points we can use to start in our songwriting. The only real trick is to start, once started keep going, so that good things can begin to happen.

Capture and express poetry with music. The words of our poems set to songs goes all the way back in our histories. From earliest times the passions of stories find pitches, combinations and rhythm to portray our emotions in the Americana experience. Joyous and happy go lucky ? Pentatonic five note. Somber and reflective, darkest before the dawn ? Usually the minor colors. Longing ? Minor 9 slow and steady pulse / beat. An uplifting fulfillment in light and love ? Try major.

Rhythms and tempos historically bring the various dances of our cultures to life and any combination imaginable can work for you songs. So just do it, start and keep going and going and good things will happen, and the lyrics and words to express the story will flow :)

“I, very thankfully, have a few songs that will not go away."

wiki ~ Allee Willis

Start ~ composing lyrics. Already writing lyrics? Cool. Then just 'keep on keepin' on as the saying goes :) A cool think about lyrics is that they do not need anything else to be created. For in essence, words on paper mean a lot, and always have, for as long as we've been writing. Aim to rote up what's in writing, its yours, sing them aloud to prepare to share your songs.

A beginning. As all of Americana has some roots in the blues, find the groove of this line in a 12 bar blues form by simply singing the line.

~

The truth is ya, just don't love me no more,

The truth is ya, just don't love me no more,

There once was a time, now that time is gone.

~

Now, use the following 'starts' to write your own additional verses.

"There was a time ... "

"Remember when ... "

"You were blue ... "

"Tell me why ... "

"We gotta try ... "

Cool ? Make a few rhymes ? The original idea is mine, so I give it to you. Write a song, make a hit song, be a star and always remember that 'sharing is caring.

Spoken word poets. In today's music, developing more a spoken word' styling, of working the story line leaning more rhythm than pitches. A personal fave is to present the hook and then go to the Four chord; in major, minor, blues et al. While mostly hearing a loop of backing track in spoken word styles on the radio; a bass line, chord cycle, melodic riff and drums, to support the vocal, it's a perfect setting for the power of the words of the poet. And even in this modern, more melodically linear presentation, there's room for melody, and a good melody heard enough will always find its song.

Help finding the pocket. If challenged in any way while developing your art pieces, try working with the clicks of a metronome get get your mind moving through time, and a measured time at that, that you can literally count on, MOVE THRU TIME AND STAY IN RHYTHM. Gives Muse a chance to suggest something to say ... ?

Singers and vocalists. Usually the main feature when there's words and lyrics with music backing, the distinction between singer and vocalist is mostly about the pitches of a melody. Vocalists tend to riff more on the rhythms and root and blue notes of a key center. Many of today's hip hop artists are vocalists, finding their rhythms often staying on a note or two, speaking their lyrics. Singers are finding a song's melody notes and interpreting them closer to as written by the composer, usually. In both styles, when preparing to sing with a band, always good to know the key that you will sing or vocalize the song in. Once empowered as say in a blues song, by even just knowing one letter pitch, such as 'Bb', and the band will do the rest :)

wiki ~ Judy Garland
"Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist."
wiki ~ Pablo Picasso

Famous lyricists. We all have our fave's yes ... ? Study the greats, their bio's and historical times, their musical poetry, and tell your stories too. Wiki seek and ye shall find :)

wiki ~ American lyricists
wiki ~ lyricist
wiki ~ category-lyricists
wiki ~ list of composers and their favorite lyricists
wiki ~ songwriter
wiki ~ list of singer-songwriters

In a nutshell; love song or tell a story? This first distinction about the song we want to write gets our thinking moving in two similar yet unique ways. Most songs are about love. And in their telling, carry all of the ways we speak of it. These we call its narrative.

In first person, such as 'call me crazy, but I love the way you ____.'

In second person, such as 'you once loved me, but now _______ .'

In third person, such as 'he / she loved me with a joy that ______ .

was filled with joy and ______ .'

started on a pathway to success. For once we decide this 'either or' question, things start to fall into place.

wiki ~ list of songs

"All music was once new."

wiki ~ Karl Haas

Lyrics and the voices that carry them, carry the weight like no other, commanding the attention of any room full of listeners. Wordsmith's have forever been the kings and queens through musical art history, in theatre and song, each alone or entwined together, thus giving new and even greater strengths to each.

wiki ~ women writers (wordsmiths)
wiki ~ writers (wordsmiths)

So do carry on now with a true intent, and to begin from scratch just emulate. And cast a wide wide net if you really can, to catch and sample with an open hand, and come to know and love the truth, that the spoken word that tells a truth, will ages long have that sense ring true, come rain or shine or even blue.

So make a fabric of story no longer rent, by thoughts on scraps of this or envelope that, puzzle a whole whether complete, or not, being fair to the story and song as best you can. Do share to be fair, to the tale it tells, for those who hear now too will have, have a new tale to tell ... :)

All the way back, then back, to today.

The first few ideas here are about our lyrics, the words, phrasing, the storylines and hooks. We then scoot right back to the metrics of music, numbers of pitches in various groups, and the common aural colors they provide. Along the way through the groups of pitches, we pair up our song ideas with another song we already know that has the same number of pitches.

We then emulate that tune, or not, to compose a new or just create a parody of it. As composing is about doing, once we complete a couple of songs, our juices kick right in and we begin to know our own process. Then we just do, we compose our songs and be curious about whatever else is about our own composing.

Once we walk in composer's shoes, and have written a couple of tunes, we know, and we know the how to begin and the feeling we get when a song is fini. And when we read about a composer and their life and times, and about their 'process' to compose music, we can better know their toils, and share in them too.

Do some research on the pieces of art you dig, find out about their creators. For ... 'every picture has a story don't it.' And every song too :)

wiki ~ lists of composers

"If the pen be mightier than the sword, then is the spoken word in music be mightier than the pen ... ?"

Parody, rhyme and emulate. As kid's we parodied everything that came along it seems. Rhymed anything beyond normal dimensions and conventions, and then beyond and beyond. Today, everyday kid's still 'one up' one another with their rhyming.

And in learning whatever tasking, we kid's emulated the folks who already had it going on. it's just the way we're 'animal wired' so it seems. Our CPU looks for the sequence, looks for the rhyme and balance in near everything we mosey into. And if none is there, no problem, we'll just make it up as we go along, even start from scratch if we have to :) Like Americana styled musical artists? Yep, exactly, we're improvisors.

So, find any tune you dig and parody its words into your own song. And if you think it's cool enough, you can legally copyright it and publish it as your own 'parody of the original song.' We can copyright a parody of a song and own it ? Yep, use to be able to. Best double check.

Rhymes are what creatives do. Practice by rhyming along with anything that comes along. And if necessary, become a reader of ANYTHING. For in the written word we can generate the spoken word. Seems that seeing is believing. In the old days we said ... 'time to nix the t.v.' Now, not so sure how to nix the social media phenom, but it sure can suck a lot of juice out of our creative, without putting a whole lot back. Reflect on your thing and become creative every day in some way and self strengthen your way forward. No limit really, for those that are disciplined to do the work.

Emulate. Examine the biography and work of any artist from any era in any genre of fine art to know that when they started out, the emulated the art that blew their minds, sparked a joy and made them think. Once engaged, our own natural curiosities take right on over. Stay at it long enough, and our own 'thing' will come along in time with practice, 'honing our craft' as the master once said.

Rhyming words. This is all part of the SuperHoot show, where Billy's doing his letters. Included here for the up and coming, yet super novice songwriter, lyricist, spoken word preacher, an 'A through Z', let's academic rhyme to get our thinking juice flowing. Your chromatic helmet should help in these daily workouts. Pretty self explanatory here, and big laughs encouraged. Pick a 'spark' word for each of the letters, sing it out loud, then rhyme four words for the 'spark' word.

And if ya get an idea for a line, hook, chorus, rhythm, symphony, yea stop and pursue this spark from Muse, Surely to ya a congratulations, a your hard work has at this moment today, won the day ... yet again :)

rhymes with 'And' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Because' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Clear' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Day' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Emily' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Fun' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Goin' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Howdy' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'I'll' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Joy' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Knockin' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Love' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'My' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Nowhere' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Over' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Please' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Q' q-cumber :) _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Rain' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Superhoot' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Time' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'U / you' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Voom' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Will' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Xenon' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Your' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

rhymes with 'Zee' _____ _____ _____ _____ .

Cool ? Make a few rhymes ? The original idea is mine, so I give it freely to you. Write a song, make a hit song, be a star and remember that 'all music was once new.'

Singer / vocalist. We all can bring immediate joy to our day by singing. There's just something about the whole deal that'll lift one's spirit pronto, right now, this moment ... and might even last for the day :) Ever whistle a bit while at work? Sing a riff or lick or make up a parody or two to some well established pitches you love ? Good chance that there was a smile at the end of the coda :)

So find some pitches and off ya go, for there's no greater 'heart mind' musical connect than our voices.

'With the lyrics, the artist shapes their form with pitches to phrase the song's story, and no two are ever really the same. That the pen is mightier than the sword, the spoken word must be mightier than the written word.

"Hey Jay Bell." The words to this song are for one of Alaska's favorite sound engineers, Jay Bell. And while the story is super exaggerated, according to social media, there's some truth to it too. Back in the day it was called a novelty song. While the suggested harmony / progression is a wee bit tricky for any tune, makin' it just a 'G C D and A er' works just fine too.

chorus:

G G# dim A - D / A- D A- D

G G# dim A - D / A- D G

verse: G C G G A7 D

G C G G C D G / ... 'I say hey Jay Bell ...'

chorus etc.

Still working on the words to then record this one.

chorus:

Hey Jay Bell

Now what U gonna do

U spooked that lil' bear on the porch

with that handy rock you found

Now hey Jay Bell

what U gonna do

that lil' nice bear might come and back

to spook you too ...

verse:

Just a fourth July in Girdwood

and the circus come to town

and ol' Jay Bell was the real deal cat

twisting up the magic sounds

but this year was gonna top them all

as Jay had a big surprise

for he had him a brand new box

all sorts of wires sticking out ...

chorus: Hey Jay Bell

Now what U gonna do

U spooked that lil' old bear from the porch

with that handy rock you found

Now hey Jay Bell

what U gonna do

that nice old bear might come and back

to spook you too ...

verse:

Runnin late it seemed as Jay got out the door

Jumped in the Boo all fired up

and headed off to town

but down the road Jay slammed the brakes

come screeching to a halt

o'l Jay had forgot that magic box

so he had to turn around

So for the zillionth time or so it seemed

Jay pulled in the drive,

He flipped the switch like always

and so begin to glide

and comin' to a gentle stop

right outside the door

as Jay jumped out to scoot on in

just a runnin' up the porch

not too hard to guess now

who was sittin' on the porch

hey Jay Bell ...

and right before his eyes appeared

was a frisky old bear sittin' right on his porch,

and standing up besides ...

chorus: Hey Jay Bell

Now what U gonna do

U spooked that old bear from the porch

with that handy rock you found

Now hey Jay Bell

what U gonna do

that old bear might come and back

and spook you too ...

"The Truth Is." This is just a beginning hook for a 12 bar blues chorus. Still needs a few verses. Very straight ahead yet a perfect iambic pentameter phrase. We gots to get lucky once in a while yes ?

~

The truth is, ya just don't love me no more,

The truth is, ya just don't love me no more,

There once was a time, now that's all long gone

~

There once was a time, I knew our love was true

There once was a time, I knew our love was true

You told me secrets in the mornin'

more in the afternoon

~

The truth is, ya just don't love me no more,

The truth is, ya just don't love me no more,

There once was a time, now that's all long gone

~

All combined, our lyrics in songs become poems of earful memories for their listeners, the one's they catch to keep forever, reminders of their souls joining with the song, and how we share experience in common, yet each unique as new story unfolds. Can ya dig it ? Do it ?

“When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never ending shade."

wiki ~ Amanda Gorman

Review. Find some coolness ? Cool. Writing lyrics brings all of our experiences together manifested through our intellect, wisdom and ability to think. Verbosity pays off when rhyming into songs ... :) and wordsmiths fun to just solving the puzzles, to tell the tale.

Set to music and a rhythm that moves through time, our words now take on a new magic, one that makes listeners physically groove along too, opening their own perceptive windows to receive new stories, to discover a shared truth among all sentient beings. Nothing cooler really for a creative musical artist, unless you're a jazz guitar player :)

Bingo kaboom bingo bingo :) Composing is cool because we get to make it all up as we go along. Then there's those songs and ideas that'll only go a certain way. And they write themselves. And we as a composer shape it into life. Then there's those songs we write to tell a story of an event that transpired in our own lives. So now we're historian too. Collaborate with friends and write for the theatre? Movies? Your band? A friend's band? There's all sorts of reasons we compose music.

Other 'theory' considerations? Take apart your favorite song for some of its compositional elements. Such as; key center, major or minor, form, chord progression, style of basic rhythm pulse, bass line story, lyrics.

"Don't let schooling interfere with your education."
wiki ~ Mark Twain
"We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery."
wiki ~ Samuel Smiles

“I have this hunch that minority folk bring a fresh angle on things and that is often a very productive thing,” she said. “In general, a lot of breakthroughs come from left field.”

wiki ~ Jocelyn Bell Burnell

“I don’t know what I’d be doing if I didn’t have my writing, I haven’t even had a vacation in a long time. It’s been 17 years since I’ve been out of Hawaii. Desert sheikh, romance, kidnapping, that’s about all I started with. I just sat down one day and wrote the middle scene, the love scene in the tent. I amazed myself, I couldn’t stop writing. Impossible until it's done."

From NYTimes 12.23.2019

wiki ~ Johanna Lindsey

“The desire to reach for the sky runs very deep in the human psyche."

wiki ~ Cesar Pelli

“It's better to change your opinion than to persist in a wrong one."

wiki ~ Socrates

“It's not what you become in life but what you overcome."

wiki ~ ?

"A writer's life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are its necessity."

wiki ~ Toni Morrison

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References. References for this page's information comes from school, books and the bandstand and made way easier by the folks along the way.

Find a mentor / e-book / academia Alaska. Always good to have a mentor when learning about things new to us. And with music and its magics, nice to have a friend or two ask questions and collaborate with. Seek and ye shall find. Local high schools, libraries, friends and family, musicians in your home town ... just ask around, someone will know someone who knows someone about music and can help you with your studies in the musical arts.

go to a public library and ask the librarian

Always keep in mind that all along life's journey there will be folks to help us and also folks we can help ... for we are not in this endeavor alone :) The now ancient natural truth is that we each are responsible for our own education. Positive answer this always 'to live by' question; 'who is responsible for your education ... ?

Intensive tutoring. Luckily for musical artists like us, the learning dip of the 'covid years' can vanish quickly with intensive tutoring. For all disciplines; including all the sciences and the 'hands on' trade schools, that with tutoring, learning blossoms to 'catch us up.' In music ? The 'theory' of making musical art is built with just the 12 unique pitches, so easy to master with mentorship. And in 'practice ?' Luckily old school, the foundation that 'all responsibility for self betterment is ours alone.' Which in music, and same for all the arts, means to do what we really love to do ... to make music :)

 

"These books, and your capacity to understand them, are just the same in all places. Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing."

wiki ~ Abraham Lincoln

Academia references of Alaska. And when you need university level answers to your questions and musings, and especially if you are considering a career in music and looking to continue your formal studies, begin to e-reach out to the Alaska University Music Campus communities and begin a dialogue with some of Alaska's finest resident maestros !

~

~ comments or questions ... ? ~

~ jacmuse@ak.net ~