Monday, January 31, 2011

the craft of songwriting

Current work: Gelati book revisions (last readthrough)
Listening to: Dire Straits, Making Movies
Reading: Jan Jones, The Kydd Inheritance (enjoyed very much – good adventure story, lovely heroine, gorgeous hero, great dialogue, and Jan writes such EXCELLENT villains)

Caught most of a good documentary on Friday about Mark Knopfler (though I was disappointed not to hear anything from Love Over Gold, my favourite Dire Straits album). Really interesting as he was talking about the craft of songwriting, and how phrases stick in your head and you end up mixing them together with other themes and ideas; that’s pretty much how writing fiction works for me, except obviously I don’t write a melody to go with it. Really interesting to see how the melodies happen, too; Jim and I were talking about this last week in my lesson (messing about with some George Harrison stuff) and how most melodies are really the arpeggio notes of the main chords (tonic, subdominant and dominant – though I’d be subversive and chuck in diminished chords because I really like them).

I do get melodies in my head every so often, so maybe this is the year I’ll go back to songwriting. (For me, that is, not for money.) The one that’s in my head right now (half-written, and it’s been bugging me for quite a long time now, except I haven’t had time to work on it properly) is quite bluesy, but I need to transpose it down a couple of keys because it’s a little too high for my very limited vocal register (and why am I writing in a difficult key like C# minor anyway?). It’s quite dark, too; I can see the influence of very early Led Zeppelin. Weirdly, though, the vocal in my head reminds me of Arethra Franklin crossed with Norah Jones. Hmm...

DH has been looking up Springer spaniel puppies this weekend. I did wonder if that meant I get a really special birthday pressie (as I don’t have a clue what I want this year – going to be a tough birthday as it’s two days after my father’s, so I think at the moment I’m blocking it out). Even though I'm quite broody for a pup (probably grief talking), it wouldn’t be fair to Byron to get a pup; he’s very settled in his ways and is used to being the only dog in the house for the last five and a half years.

More stuff to sort out today, but I guess at least it’s my own stuff for once. Fingers crossed for some P&Q so I can finish the gelati book!


Sharon Kendrick said...

You SHOULD write a song to make money!

My dream is to compose a Christmas Number 1 which will be played into perpetuity, thus bringing in barrels of effortless cash every year!

So far, I have only the first line of the chorus....

Jan Jones said...

Easy - get two pups. They'll amuse each other instead of annoying Byron :)

Glad you liked The Kydd Inheritance. :) :)