Saturday, July 27, 2013

Song Writing and Running Out of New Music

  Seeing local live music is a blessing and a curse for me. The regular, everyday version of myself enjoys the break in the normal flow of a week by hearing some music I've never experienced before. The dreamer part of me that still fantasizes about doing music for a living starts feeling negative with thoughts of, "if these people can't do it for a living, how would I?"

  The other night I watched two friends perform at a small singer/songwriter sort of venue. Both of them are talented songwriters with outstanding voices and quite pretty. What else could the world want from their musicians? Yet they both have been doing their thing for many years now, they still have to work regular full-time office hours to get by (acknowledging here that there is also more than a little luck involved in getting anywhere). Granted, that may be all they want to do. I've never asked them since it seemed like a slightly offensive question if they did want to do only music as a living and had been unable.
  While I listened, I was thinking about what it must take to write a song with the power to live in people's memories forever. Here were some songs written from the heart, about love and pain and desires and so much more, yet potentially only a handful of people will ever know them. This further progressed in my mind to the thought that maybe we're running out of new music that can be written, which seems mathematically improbable. In the same way I often think there are no new stories that can be told but I still manage to find new books that entertain me.

  I couldn't really get the idea out of my head and when I got home I started researching it. I found a great video discussing the topic that covers it better than I ever could:

  The part about how we tend to gravitate towards certain sounds especially rang true and goes to show how pop writers keep pulling in the money by making songs that are so similar. And that's not me being snobby towards that type of music as I'm certainly not above getting a pop song stuck in my head for days at a time...or weeks at a time. I'm looking at you, "Call Me Maybe." It's simply not the type of music I would want to make myself, though I honestly have no idea what type I would want to create. Most of my writing experience comes from telling stories of the many ridiculous situations I find myself in anytime I venture out of my front door, or poetry. As such, it's hard to wrap my head around the concepts just yet of what would make a powerful, moving, and memorable song. It's probably one of those things you can't fully grasp until you try it yourself, and I feel like that is still a ways down the road. Still, the thought is often on my mind and I'm eager to try and unravel the mystery when I have more experience to draw upon.

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