Sunday, May 17, 2015


I did some math today. Since November 1 of 2014, I have written 845 songs. How many did I write, prior to that? 468 from 1997 until Nov. 1, 2014. It adds up to 1313 since 1997. Before that? Maybe 20, maybe more. A famous songwriter said to "write for the waste basket". Does that sound crazy? Not if you think about it. If you set out for perfection or even to write a hit or a masterpiece, you set yourself up for self-criticism, self-judgement and maybe even self-loathing. "Perfection" is just a word. What is the opposite of perfection? That's a difficult thing to conceive. This is where we can become more aware by exploring the subjective qualities and the wide ranges of "imperfection". It lies in judgement. It is very subjective. 
So, have I been "writing for the waste basket"? No. I have been writing for the joy of writing. I've been exploring and experimenting with rhythms and chords and the rhythm of chords as they lie in a single measure and multiple measures of songs. My bottom line, I learned from Pat Pattison of Berklee School of Music. Prosody. It was a new word for me. I have distilled it for myself to where a song, the lyrics, the arrangement have to have the qualities of aesthetics and integrity, working together to make it work with the quality of making sense and having some level of beauty. The emotion can be any emotion but the aesthetics of the music are like a carrier wave in radio broadcasting. The aesthetics sit on top and float along. It has to stay on topic, make musical sense, and maybe take you to a place you haven't been before. Finding interesting twists and turns along the way and discovering new "sights" just make the adventure come to life. 
Even with my standards, they are not rules. The breakout occurred when I decided to just see if I could write a bad song. I failed. The first one on Nov. 1st wasn't bad. Some days I have written 20 songs in a single day. It is like a game. The oddest thing is no 2 songs of mine are alike. The chords are different, the melodic lines are different from each other. Many days after breakfast, I head for my studio and play. Notice I said play. Sometimes I start with the melody and sometimes I start with chords. Some days I write 4 bars of chords and then write the melody. I repeat it until I have a song that makes some sense. I do not listen to them. I do not tweak. that's for later. Write and save. 
If you are a singer and you know one song, how good will you be? If you are a singer and you know 2000 sings, might you be a little better than if it were just one? If you are a songwriter and you have written one song or 10 or 20, you could be great but would you learn more by doing more? Maybe.