Wednesday, December 14, 2011

songwriting 101 (part 3)

this post is about 2 new songs:
5. rocketship
6. peep

upon finding this latest tuning DADEBE the first thing
I did was to discover as many chord shapes as possible.
that's one of the beauties of alternate tuning: new chords!
new chords bring out fresh melodies.

I found one set of chord changes which had unique voicings
I was certain couldn't be played in standard tuning.
curious what they were, I worked them out on the piano
and found it was a real stretch for the fingers.

instead of only writing a song from these chords
I decided to use their notes as the basis
for an a capella chorale of 5 voices.
I knew the effect would be beautifully mysterious.
something like the beach boys in outer space.
so I decided to make the chorale the intro to a song
which would have something to do with outer space.

usually I find chords and a melody which intrigue me
and then I play them over and over again
or record them and listen to them over and over,
until a lyric line or subject matter comes to mind.
I let the song tell me what it wants to be about.

but this time I determined to be more purposeful.
I decided to write a PIXAR-inspired song.
what I mean by that is a song whose content
and demeanor might fit well in a pixar film,
not a song meant to sound like randy newman,
even though I love what randy's done with pixar.
(there is only one randy newman).

lyrically I started with
"I wish I was on a rocketship sailing far beyond the moon".
from thereon I based all the words on visual things
one might encounter during a space adventure
imagining what those stunning pixar animators could do.

it took several weeks to craft the entire lyric.
then daniel and I recorded rocketship
and sent copies to my pixar buddies
andrew stanton and pete doctor.
on my solo drive to new york to do our
3 of a perfect pair
band camp
I received phone calls from both andrew and pete.
they both loved the song!
which meant so much to me.

I would never presume to do a pixar film,
(they already did a fabulous space adventure WALL E).
I wrote rocketship to prove something to myself.
but I am so pleased it was acceptable to andrew and pete.
I love their work so much.

rocketship is another of my personal faves,
but with further listens I realized I recorded it too slow
just as I had done with picture show.
I think my body tempo slows down when I'm at home.
so we sped the song up a bit and solved that problem.
from now on I am being very aware of song tempos.

song #6 we've recorded is called peep.
it's about the boundless joy of our puppy peep.
she is a miniature yorkshire terrier now one year old.
after years of continual badgering from the girls
I finally broke down and bought a puppy. glad I did.
yorkies are smart, quick, and playful.
and peep is just hilarious.
if it's true dogs can extend your life expectancy
I should live to be a hundred and twenty.

the song peep is much like the dog.
small, quick, and happily full of pep.
it features some of peep's best vocalizations
and some of her amazing squeak toy performances.
peep is 1.5 minute long.


  1. You've made it very well Adrian. Congratulations!

  2. I don't really like your music, I like heavy metal!

  3. (the fakers are funny but not nice.) I love hearing about your process and new songs. thanks!

  4. Monseur Blackmore may not like your music, but I do.

  5. I am so excited to hear your new tunes, Ade. Thanks for all you do and merry what-ever-you-celebrate/ Christmas.


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