Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Art Sometimes Narrates Life

There's a delicate challenge when one is trying to write songs that most barbershoppers will enjoy singing. I think it's important to keep the "most" part in mind. When I wrote the tags, I wrote some that I knew only the most accomplished barbershop musicians would be able to enjoy. I also wrote many simpler ones that those same musicians would probably find less interesting. One advantage of songs, however, is that arrangements with varying degrees of difficulty can be created so that a wider net of inclusiveness can be cast.

Some song element choices, however, will leave some folks behind. Take the Stephen Sondheim/Andrew Lloyd Webber split. Some people admire and appreciate both, but many are solidly in one camp or the other for various reasons: lyric complexity, melodic complexity, choice of source material, and such. In my life I've written several songs that few barbershoppers will never hear because of certain song element choices I made, mostly lyric and story choices, but occasionally musical ones as well. For this project, however, I'm determined to alienate as few singers as possible with each song.

All that said, these songs still need to come from MY heart or else they will surely not be any good at all. This brings us to the point of this post. Song #1, "Bring On the New Year" is an invitation for Life to bring on everything it has, whether judged good or bad or somewhere in between. So, rather fittingly or ironically, my 2015 began with an intense urinary tract infection, which is just now beginning to clear up. I remember a few days ago, finding a line for the song which said something about sorrow and pain at the precise moment when the "ice pick" jabbed itself into me once again. It was almost as if my muse were asking me if I was quite sure I really wanted to say that. Of course, for me, the answer was "yes."

It's possible that not all barbershop singers will buy into the message of this song. Some may want rainbows and unicorns every day, but not me. Of course, one really cool thing about these songs is that people CAN change the lyrics, without permission or payment! People are welcome to invite the kind of New Year that THEY envision. Heck, I'd probably even help them. Let's see, what rhymes with "unicorns?"

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