Friday, April 04, 2008

More Measure for Measure

Well, I thought I'd update you on the two posts this week by the other songwriter-bloggers, Suzanne Vega and Darrell Brown (which just leaves Rosanne Cash).

Suzanne wrote on the "Profane and Divine". She scratches the surface of her "creative process" and describes her feelings about sharing that process on her blog as follows:

You should know that I am usually wary of sharing ideas in progress. I go over and over the lyrics until they feel just right to me, and this can be a very irritating process. I am also a little superstitious — if you talk too much or reveal too much, the spell could fall flat and the song won’t work. However, I have also shared songs, gone back and redone them, had them turn out much better and then forgotten about the earlier drafts. So it happens all different ways.

But listen, readers, don’t steal my ideas, please. I will track you down.

Darrell wrote on the "3 H's". He briefly shares his history as a professional songsmith and then takes us to his thoughts on the fundamental H's in songwriting:
These many years later I usually find myself in in Nashville, Los Angeles, New York, London or some other city, sitting at a piano with my laptop computer, No. 2 pencil and pad with another songwriter or artist. We then proceed to vent and hash out our thoughts and feelings, our anger and frustrations, our longings and hopes and try to gently coax them into the shape of a song. And that song must have the three H’s in it: Honesty. Humanity. And hooks.

I also know this from experience: Not all of the songs I write will be good ones. Actually, a lot of them will be ridiculously bad (experience has also taught me not to show those songs to anyone for obvious reasons). But when an honest, four-dimensional, hook-filled piece of humanity is finally born, there is a clue to recognizing its timelessness. There is a peaceful, non-judgmental appreciation that falls over me when I hear it, a feeling — or even a knowledge — that we songwriters really had nothing to do with its creation in the first place. It’s as if we were archaeologists at a dig and all we had to do was chip away the stone and brush away the sand that hid it from view. We were just lucky enough to be in the room that day when it showed up to sing to us.
That's some timeless talk from both songwriters. I share Suzanne's superstitions and don't like to share an unfinished song. And on Darrell's H's, well that's something I hope I subconsciously do when I write. If you had to think about the first two H's too much anyway, you may screw them up... now that 3rd H, the "hook" - that's where the craftsmanship can come...

May the Muse be with you...

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