SCP #32: Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers
Today marks the first day of month two of this year-long project. I should probably write a bit of a reflection on month one, but I might do that as a separate post tomorrow when I have a some free time. Today I'll keep my writing about my composition, and I might get a little nerdy in today's post. If you're one of my non-musician friends you might want to skip through to the bit about the lyrics.
I can't take credit for all my ideas today, as my partner came into my studio as I was getting started and made a few suggestions that set me on my way. He suggested taking yesterday's ostinato and turning it into a static melodic figure with moving harmony underneath, so I ran with that idea. To move away from yesterday's song I reversed the direction of the ostinato, and transposed it into a different key. I then evened out the rhythm to all crotchets, so that it was in a new time signature. It's fascinating how the same four notes can yield such different results.
I was quite systematic when working on harmonising the melodic figure. I built chords from all twelve chromatic tones that would work under it, and then chose the ones I liked the best. I've realised I have a real thing for Lydian harmony, and so I immediately gravitated toward a major7#11 sound, which has featured in lots of these compositions so far.
Contrary to many of these compositions, I had no lyrical ideas in mind before I started on the music. After putting the skeleton of the song together and playing through it I was struck with quite a vivid image of a couple sitting quietly and watching an old film together, and that's what I tried to capture in my timed lyric writing exercises.
My friend Emilee asked a few weeks ago for more information about the timed lyric writing exercises I do, and gave some more details about them in a previous post. My explanation didn't satisfy her, however, as there was still the question of where the ideas actually came from. I honestly hadn't considered this until she brought it up, as it's very easy to assume everyone's mind works in the same way to yours. The best answer I have is that the word prompts I use conjure up quite vivid scenes in my imagination, which I then try to capture in words. These mental tableaux are never predictable, and I am constantly surprised where I can end up off the back of just a single word or thematic idea. I have no idea if other people see these kind of movie scenes in their minds the way I do.
I'd actually be really interested to know if you do or don't have these same imaginative experiences, so if you feel like chiming in on the discussion perhaps do so on my Facebook page. I decided to turn the comments off these blog posts to reduce my workload in maintaining the blog, but I realise the lack of comments makes these posts a little one sided.