It doesn’t happen so often that a moment-of-magic enters your mind, almost like a door opening, you think it through and you know it’s gonna work – I don’t know exactly what one calls it, but for lack of a better explanation, I think it must be a MIDAS MOMENT. That golden inference when every fibre of your being tells you ‘YOU GOT TO DO IT – NOW – and, NOT ONLY IS IT GONNA WORK, THÍS IS HOW IT’S GONNA WORK.” Take for instance Pat…
Patrick, from an upper class, high-society (as we used to call them) family, was one of those classmates in my grade 9 class whose overweight body screamed at me for a prank, and I couldn’t resist any longer. This man was so slow, he did everything in slomo – even thought and answered questions in slomo! Needless to say, his oversized behind always got rapid-fire from the teacher. His comic facial expressions and gyrations after each cane blow tickled my imagination so much that I just knew I had to get in on this! Just then, a sudden “midas plan” popped up in my head and I sneaked off one day during first-break, when everybody was out on the playground, and inconspicuously cellotaped two thumb tacks on his desk seat.
By time the bell went off I already had my vantage point at the back of the classroom, hiding behind my Geography handbook. Oh-so-slow Pat shuffled in about third-last and by the time the teacher said “sit!” I was unbearably muffling an uncontrollable, shaking laughter in anticipation of what was about to happen – I ducked, cringed and shrivelled in all small corners of my desk not to give my self away by letting out this loud laughburst before terror struck! At the call, all desk seats went down when the next moment a horrendous scream – “aaarrgghhh!!!!, @%4&*#!!!” met a bewildered teacher, followed by the loudest simultaneous mass laugh- choir I ever heard. Red-faced Patrick, his bulk not allowing him easy access out, cannonballed up,desk-and-all, in a split second, strumbled a few meters to the front before clutching his behind to assess the damage – well, nobody suspected me as I mixed in with the cloud of laughter, and a few innocent “known-baddies” had to explain their life away at a mad teacher’s wrath! I tell you, good times they were, eh!
But thése are the kind of things one must grab when “the urge comes”. These “midas moments” often come in one’s dreams, when you hear and even sing / compose the most awesome melodies which just happen to have evaporated somewhere when you wake up. You run for pen and paper, but to no avail. Well, next time you dream, please ask yourselve to remember the chords and arrangements when you wake up, and then run for the scribbles before you run for the toothbrush! Your family might think you have a few screws loose up there, but that might just be the elusive last lines to complete your song!
Again, fortunately, the electronic age has given us a vital communication devices to record draft tunes, raw as it may sound, for safekeeping till we reach home or the studio. At a funeral, some time ago, amongst all the people’s emotion a tune entered my head , fortunately I had my cell to quickly record what I felt and today that song is in line to be finished! Just think of the calamitous possibilities had I not done that.
Many times that moment gets given to you by someone else – we had the opportunity lately to audition a fine young gentleman with one HTN song we wrote when, right from the start, he rendered the chorus in a way we did not think of, and right there, we gave it the nod!
Sometimes, even listening to a song on the radio, your ear catches a melody that have an acute affinity to lines in the song you are composing – don’t ignore it – explore, see how you can incorporate it into your work!
Many times I made the mistake of singing a “midas melody” over and over in order not to forget it, assuring myself if I let it lie a bit, I will still remember – only to witness the opposite. And reappearing, you must be lucky, leaving you with the agonizing task of putting in lines that you don’t actually want there.
Fortunately, there’s no “set pattern” with music, thus the flow of creativity can take many angles and run a thousand hills before you decide to lay a specific tune to track. We will explore more in a later segment of “Tips to nurturing your own Songwriting skills”.
All of us have our own “signature” way of making music, where people, just by hearing, can identify us, and that’s a very good place to be. Now we need to train our minds to break out of the norm and indulge in what it can do over-and-above – with the latest music trends it becomes a frustrating impediment to narrow complicated lyrics that one has, down to simple, understandable and singable tracks – because people love listening to, and singing along to the 3-worded chorus line (which actually comprises the whole chorus!), in opposition to first chewing through what you want to say with complicated lyrics!
On the other hand, complicated lyrics must form part of some story or statement you wanna get out there, and then it must follow a set pattern – but we’ll deal with that later. The nett effect of this exercise is to see where the “midas melody” fits into such a scenario and give more credence to your ideas – and often such a fresh “sound from nowhere” ends up being used as a punchline in the song.
“…so, why did you write this blog then?” “…to tell Patrick I’m sorry.”
– bye for now, HTN.