November 9th, 2011

eyes black and white

Flowers Don't Grow in the Sea

The most pleasurable dreams I experience are not wet dreams, they are musical dreams. Such dreams are rather rare, but dreamtime is the only time I truly and fully conceive music, with Melody, Harmony and Instrumentation all in place. However, when I wake up, I can only dimly remember one musical sentence, and by the time I write down the first few bars of melody, the rest is gone. Last March 22nd, I had a particularly vivid musical dream, involving a song, what more including lyrics, which is even rarer, as well as psychedelic hard rock guitar riffs. Though it was early in the morning, I was too excited not to get up, waking up poor Becka in the process, and kept singing the little I remembered of the song until it was all written down, all three-four bars of it. That day, I finished a stanza, then wrote most of another; I eventually wrote some ideas for further stanzas, all based on repetitions of the same musical theme, but never finished them.

Indeed, whereas Melody to me comes most naturally, Lyrics are for me the hardest of things to write. I have a hard time with the associative emoting that makes for decent poetry and songs, as I am trained to enable a very strong bullshit filter all the time on things I pay attention to. Yet I have high standards for Lyrics: they have to have the correct meaning, they must rhyme, their scansion must fit the rhythm of the song, and there must be a high signal rate per syllable, using proper metaphors, double-meanings, alliterations, etc. But neither the French nor the English language is an intimate friend who'll share his secrets openly to me; to get answers from them, I have to keep questioning them, using torture implements such as dictionaries and rhyming dictionaries, or when offline, reciting the alphabet to find a rhyming word. Even then, they often remain silent, refusing to tell me what I want them to say.

Now, last weekend, I was taken to a Burning Man Decompression party, and being the awkward self I am at public parties, I took out my Personal Analog Assistant, a Music Moleskine. I was intending to work on another song that I'm writing for Rebecca, about which I've also been stuck for many months, but the band on the stage was playing some psychedelic rock, and that set me in the mood to continue the dream song instead. Still unable to find the words I wanted, and not remembering exactly what I had written so far, I started to improvise melodies and counter-melodies on top of base being played. This got me inspired and found ideas for most the third stanza, and elements of a new, fourth stanza.

The next day, I completed the four stanzas; But the last stanza didn't end on a positive note, and I didn't want the song to finish like that, nor did I feel like starting a fifth stanza. Now the counter melodies I had been dabbling with inspired me to add an epilogue to these existing stanzas, rather than adding more of the same. Two of the counter melodies had been inspiring a beginning lyrics, and while completing them, I found that the song was more balanced putting one of the counterpoint melodies in the middle rather than at the end. By the end of the weekend, the song was all written, except for minor subsequent corrections. Here it is, now transcribed using Lilypond (source, PDF).

It doesn't sound as much without accompaniement, but to give you an idea, you can listen to me singing it a cappella, transposed down to D minor: FDGitS, take 2 (in Ogg Vorbis).

Now to find a band of merry musicians with whom to record this and other songs I wrote...