Friday, April 03, 2009

Dive - the saga continues

Giving up recording the album? No, no, just trying to keep track of the recording and writing days is simply asinine, at least for someone like me who can't keep his sock drawer organized.

Since the last update on Dive!, I've recorded basic tracks for "How It Ends" and have already decided to shorten the almost-six-minute song by removing a musical interlude that separates the first and second verse. I've also revamped a ten-year old country tune called "April Fools" that was recorded yesterday and is awaiting detailed editing before final tracks are set.

So far, all but this last tune are brand new songs, written within the past month or so. Given that no-one's track record (pun intended) is perfect, I've taken a spaghetti approach to which tunes actually end up on the album. Basically, I'll begin spitting out songs left and right, more than CD space will allow, and throw them all against the recording studio wall; whatever "sticks" will be what ends up in the track-listing.

With that in mind, I began working with some chords last night on the mountain dulcimer:

Em - C - G - D
Em - C - A - C/E

The movement of the chords straddles the blur between light and darkness; it brought out some really great colors as I set an arrangement in Band In A Box and played arpeggios over and around and through the changes. Just chord shapes, mind you.

When I awoke this morning, this melody line, complete, was streaming through my head:

When this happens, I tend to either let it go and see if it will come back, or I pay close attention and get it down in stone. Such gifts are Divine and they may never pass your way again. When I set the melody to the chord changes, it all matched up perfectly.

For the moment, the tune is being called "Give You Back" and I'm not certain if it will be an instrumental or a vocal tune. There's a lot of emotion running through it and it may have the power to convey what I'm feeling without words. For you musicians reading this, how do you go about writing tunes? Do the words come first or do you come up with the tune before anything else? I'd be interested to hear the process from many different sources, especially those of dulcimer players.

Click on the image to get a bigger picture; try playing it! BTW - I'm registering copyrights as I proceed with the making of the record. If you think this stuff is good enough to steal, then you'd better be quick on the draw and file your paperwork. Then again, if you're reading these words, it's too late. If, however, you'd like to use any of my music, I'll more than likely grant you permission without charging you up the nose. I'm easy like that.

A word about copyright from Songwriter 101:

Q: How do I copyright my songs?

Technically, your song is copyrighted as soon as you finish writing it. However, you’re going to want to register that copyright to protect yourself in case someone tries to use your song without your permission. You can download copyright registration forms from the Copyright Office at, or you can call the Forms Hotline at 202-707-9100, or write to the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, DC 20559-6000. The cost to file Form PA is $30.

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