Recently I found a[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””] song lyric in typography form[/clickandtweet] on Pinterest, and wanted to try creating an art piece with some of my original song lyrics. Last week I posted a song called “Freedom From the Truth is..”. My typography work is using verse two of that song. I used Adobe Photoshop 11.0, and tried to introduce my brand of pink, which I use in most of my song quote work.
Seems like a strange day to consider a man’s freedom and life, but any day is the right day to stand and sing for justice. Today is the day to celebrate life!
It always amazes me how we applaud those who steal life away, simply by saying their name. We glorify murder by telling their stories in cheap recreations and call it entertainment. We are pulled by our death (sin) nature into more death. We perpetuate violence by normalizing it in our culture.
Today let us make a concentrated effort to celebrate life, and mention names of people who were victims, but the true heroes of our time.
Today I want to remember Mr. Bigley. I never knew him, but our family, along with many others around the world, prayed for his release and safety. Sadly He was killed in 2004, and the world mourned together.
Part of my prayer time on behalf of Mr. Bigley, found me writing a song. Songwriting for me is a process of seeking for God’s truth in all circumstances. My children and I sang Mr. Bigley’s song one November morning, on our radio station in small town Olds, Alberta. We wanted to celebrate life and remember him.
I think of Matthew 10:28, where we are reminded not to be afraid of those who can kill the body, but cannot kill the soul.
As I write about Mr. Bigley, I am reminded of a journalist we prayed for back in 2002 – Daniel Pearl. His widow Mariane Pearl wrote the memoir “A Mighty Heart” which was later made into a movie by the same name. An award winning documentary is also available for viewing, as well as a published book by family, which records the world’s response to Daniel’s death. Something I would like to participate in the future is “Daniel Pearl’s World Music Days”. You can read more about it at this link: Daniel Pearl World Music Days
Recently one of my daughter’s asked me to send her Mr. Bigley’s song, and I would like to share it with you as well. Today is [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]a good day to celebrate life, to stand and sing for justice.[/clickandtweet]
As I have mentioned in a previous post, every song is a story. A story includes a plot, characters, a climax, as well as ending, A song has a similar structure. We’ve talked about how the first verse should invite the listener in. The end of the first verse builds to the chorus, which is a recurring theme, but not the climax. The second verse tells more of the story, and gives way to a bridge in most cases. Some songs do not contain a bridge. Bridges are the norm in popular music, especially those that receive airplay on the radio.
Today I’d like to talk about the verse structure, or pattern.
In the song “Home of Grace”, the first two lines of verse one are:
No one’s sure what’s in store as we journey, how our choices shape our future and our hearts.
The second verse’s first two lines mirror the same sentiment, but clarifies it further:
If you could see up ahead around the corner, you might fail to find the courage to be brave.
The first verse, part b:
And it could be you, and it could be me, who learns to build a home of grace.
The second verse, part b:
But He sees you, and He sees me, and wants to build a home of grace.
It is interesting to note that the first verse in a song introduces an idea, and the second verse reaffirms it.
[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]The last line of a verse should always be a powerful segue to the chorus.[/clickandtweet] Ideally, both verses should end similarly, and sometimes with the “hook”.
In this case “home of grace”.
We can talk about the chorus tomorrow, or a later date, and discuss just what a home of grace is all about.
It may be strange to talk about the melody before I pick apart the lyrics, but for me the melody is one of the most important elements of a song. Just as the Holy Spirit is power to our prayer, a melody is power to the song. A melody brings the song alive.
When I attended RDC’s music program, my favourite class was melody writing. I discovered I was born a writer, and the melodies have been sitting there waiting for me to pick like a daisy from a field, but the class helped me understand why the melodies were strong.
Select songwriters write their lyrics first and then write a melody to them. Others may write the lyrics and have someone else write a melody. A friend of mine, Bill Scarrott, writes incredible poetry. I have to say trying to write a melody to his words is difficult, and this is why. I have always written the melody and the words at the same time. I think this method is also proof that prayer is involved.
I want to continue to try and write melodies for other’s words, but for now I’ll talk about the melody in the “Home of Grace.”
When you take melody writing in school, you talk about the structure and then proceed to put your knowledge into practice. With me, I write first and then pick it apart, just for the sake of learning, and sharing this process with others.
[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]For example; “Home of Grace” begins very conversationally, so the melody has got to be in a “conversation” range.[/clickandtweet] When people talk, their voices are not jumping all over the map, so large intervals for the story melody will not work.
Adoption is a very sacred topic. The conversational melody is gentle and rocks back and forth in a calming motion. I have included a picture to the right. Try and look just at the lyric melody line, and not the accompaniment.
In my opinion, a good song begins with an invitation. Keeping that in mind, use the same melody for at least two lines, before you build the next block. A verse is usually made up of four lines. The first two should invite, the second two should usher you to the chorus.
For example; the second line in “Home of Grace” is very similar to the first, with one or two differences to maintain interest, and build the story. Instead of starting on the very same note in the second line, the melody slightly higher. I also noted that the second line is a melodic answer to the first. Many times a question, and answer melody is great for verse format.
Before I bore you to tears, I would suggest you shape the melody of the last part of your verse as a precursor to the chorus. It is still conversational, but invites you further in and ends on a note which paves the way for the main event – the melody of the chorus. This is the melody that is going to stream through your head all day, for weeks, if you write a powerful one.