Friday, October 26, 2012

Stammering Lyrics in Songwriting

"THEY SAY (whoeverest "they" may be)  that the  longer you know someone, the  easier it is for you to know where their sentence is going and you impatiently wait for them to finish speaking -- or you just jump in  and finish their sentence so you can quickly move to the next point.  (And yup,  I know the grammar is wrong 3x,  but do you really want a "his or her" and "him or her"  instead?  Ya know where I'm going faster!   Point  illustrated!
        The same impatience happens when people listen to your song   if you're not careful:  And if you're brave enough to laugh at yourself,  it really is  FUN  to look for old awkwardnesses in earlier songs!  But here are some hints to raise your awareness if you haven't already noticed in other people's songs:

1.    Let's say you have a long common word like "Yesterday" in your lyrics.  People will know what your word will be by the time they hear syllable "ter".... After all, how many English words start even with "Yes"?
        So if it's a slow song,  they're aching to get past that 3rd count so they can hear the REST of what you're saying in your song that interests them.
2.    Or perhaps one line for your lyrics is "I hope you will come"  (which is already rather blah.  Anyway...)  The listener in English has probably caught your song pattern by now and knows the next line will rhyme with "come"So the moment you sing the sound "Inv",   the listener is waiting for you to finish the word Invitation.

Simply avoid a full count per syllable.
Put one of the syllables on the "and" of the measure's count.  Which one?
(1) Just listen and follow what sounds best to YOU, the artist.
(2) Follow the natural accents of the word.
          IN__  vi__  TA-tion   _ _  is 1_2_3 + 4_.
(3) When the natural accents don't change, such as ENDLESSLY,
      match the meaning of the word:   END sounds long-- full count.
(4) IMPORTANT:  SING your song aloud.  One of my earlier blogs speaks from experience of the danger -- and humor!-- of getting to your recording studio without practicing the song at tempo!
        Give full counts to the syllables where you need to get a complete consonant sound at the end of the syllable -- like getting that  at the end of END  is more important than the S on -LESS.

        But of course, this hint does not apply to ALL many-syllabled words.  For example, in my rather slow song "Building Cathedrals"  I kept a full count per syllable on the key title word because a cathedral is a stately building that just "seems" to deserve slow, deliberate notes per syllable.
        Hey, that's why you and I call our songs "art" -- We
use the instincts that make our music unique from other songs and other lyrics in this vast world of sound!
May you have much joy developing your own splashes and wave-pounding sounds!
     **  By the way, there's no law against having fun using odd words either... your own uniquities in lyrics design.  As long as the listener knows what you mean!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Supernatural Music Skills

     One of my secret (til now!) joys is working in my journal on future songs on the sofas in each of my studios while that studio's producer is mastering that night's recordings --- and suddenly glancing up and noticing him "bouncing" with the music as he masters it!
      My music skills are average.  I tried for a number of years to write "pretty good" songs -- not even going for "great".  Then, in frustration, I decided -- "what's the harm?  
I may as well do some experiments",   after I read about testing for help in the Bible, in Malachi 3.  And so I started praying.
        If you don't yet believe there's a God who yearns to give you joy in music and peace in life and etc. -- that's ok.  But maybe sometime you too might like to just "see what happens."  Here is what happened for me with my pretty good yet still average music skills:
       From 2001 to 2007,  I loved the hard rock and all other types of music at music festivals like ALIVE and CREATION, so  I kept trying to write songs. The result: In 2006, I wrote new music called "Amazing Grace Blues" which has been popular with church bands looking for an up beat sound.   ONE  SONG  in one year.
        (free download at )

In 2007, I wrote  half of "Nothing & Everything"; "I Praise You Despite";  and also
"I Choose Your Choice" with its key opening lines
I wanted fame and fortune and to dine out really well.
Instead I’m lucky when I can afford Tostado Bell.
I don’t need a Mercedes Benz--- a Cadillac will do.
Instead I’ve got a no-name car that’s held in place with glue...
THREE   SONGS   in one year.

In 2008, something I considered horrendous happened.  I was praying a lot anyway for 'any help I could get' -- and so figured I may as well also pray about my dream of music writing more also.  Three days after the event, I wrote "Above My Sorrow Sea"  music AND lyrics in under an hour.  I kept praying through the turmoil  (See "Third of Despair and Hope", another free download, for details).   
The results of my song  experiments: 
  53   SONGS   from 2007 through 2009 for my first copyright package
  59   SONGS in 2010   (one year)  for my copyright pkgs  A, B, C
  77   SONGS in 2011   (one year)  for my cprt  pkgs  D,E,F,G
  56   SONGS to date in 2012   for my cprt  pkgs  H, I, &  J thru now

I do not share this to brag.  In fact, I had to count up the numbers while I sit here typing, because I quit counting months ago.  The 'SONGWRITING HINT" for this blog is this ----
There are many sources of help for writing good,  even great,  songs if you really want to.  If you want more,  even maybe supernatural skills,  what's the harm in experimenting with prayer and with Malachi 3:10 type of exploration?  Doesn't waste any time..... :)  
Might help you write fun songs like my "SAFE EXPERIMENTS"!
Much joy to you in exploring ways to grow your songs!  
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved.  FREE DOWNLOADS and MUSIC SHEETS on website

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Find Music in Nature

People did not invent music. And no, dogs and dinosaurs did not either! :)  You can find amazing music ideas for your song rhythms and textures and even the lyrics by simply
listening to the creations around you.

We all learned this as toddlers, of course.  Rattle the crunchy fall leaves, swish around the ocean waters,  run for shelter from the shaking thunder and its brilliant partner...
      But sometimes we forget.  When I've been stumped for the "right sound" for one of the over 200 songs on my website,  I just sit and listen to the creation around me.   I receive so much inspiration from quieting MYSELF.  For there is so much more music around each of us than we will EVER hear if we won't patiently sit to listen.  An example from just listening to river waves against the rocks during a heavy wind:

        One day I noticed something “different” in the sound as I stood by the water at dawn.  I closed my eyes... listened... realized that to my left, the water was like the usual 4/4 time with a heavy hit on the rocks as “Count 1” and a lighter hit on “count 3” and then repeating the pattern at the end of each 4 counts.
       BUT -- on my RIGHT side, the water took longer between “count 3” and the heavy repeat on Count 1.  The Music of the Water was in 5/4 time as it hit the rock barrier at a different angle.
       I charted out what I heard in the sand, and later created a spreadsheet to study my observation.  After talking with a couple of mathematicians, I learned that the word for this combination of two different series is “Combinatoric” --- 
COMBINATORIC:  A Math term.  Taking 2 (or more) sets of something and comparing them to look for elements in common. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Organizing Songs - File Names

Here is an easy way to CREATE UNIQUE FILE NAMES for each new song's supporting files.  I'm up to at least 250 songs on the Web now (see --This method that  I developed 3 years ago REALLY eliminated filename confusion

When you copyright songs (see earlier blogs), you will probably want the following file types for each song:

1.  LYRICS - Contains song words in a word processing format (like .DOC).

2.  MUSIC SHEET  (sometimes called a LEAD SHEET) - Contains notes information (but not music staffs with note symbols) to show chords (and possibly notes) that fit the lyrics which are also included

3.  SCORE  - Traditional music on a staff, with no lyrics (unless you choose to add them).  If the song has a special score for flutes (for example), just create separate files that list each instrument.

4.  AUDIO  -MP3 format usually, which has a small file size and works well for copyright office.

HOWEVER-- whether you post files to the Web or send them to the Copyright Office (LINK for U.S. office), you need a non-editable PDF file format rather than DOC files that the recipient can change.  SCORE files automatically print from programs that way.  But you will need to have TWO file types for your Lyrics file and Music Sheet file.

It is also EXTREMELY helpful to add the filedate within the file title of paper copies; you don't want to do this for the audio file because people will see that in their iTunes or QuickTime (etc) when they download your audio file.   On the web, it is also helpful to add a TAG that puts the filename with date in the Title field so that you will always know whether you have updated a web file with your newest version.

So here is a summary of file names for my song example entitled "Albino Spiders."  Notice that there is one space after the final word of the song's title, then the dash, then the letters that identify what type of information is contained in your file.  Listed in the order above.

FILES TO POST ONLINE   and with the Copyright Office:
Albino Spiders -LY 12-23-2011.pdf
Albino Spiders -MU 7-20-2012.pdf
Albino Spiders -SCORE  PIANO.pdf
Albino Spiders -SCORE  SAX.pdf
Albino Spiders.mp3
(It's helpful to keep an ARCHIVE folder on your computer with copies.)

FILES TO KEEP ON YOUR COMPUTER  for future updates
Albino Spiders -LY 12-23-2011.doc
Albino Spiders -MU 7-20-2012.doc
Albino Spiders -RESEARCH.doc  (supporting info you used for lyrics)
Albino    (your studio's project, from which you create SCORE files)

Songwriting is SO much easier when your files are well organized .... and more fun creating new songs knowing your strategy is already worked out for filenames.  Much joy in more efficiency as you write the songs in your head!
©2012 DianaDee Osborne;  all rights reserved