Yay! It's A Blog! 2006-2010 - NaSoAlMo 2010 Archives


Recent entries from the NaSoAlMo 2010 Category

It's Here! Pancake Bellyache

December 12, 2010

My NaSoAlMo album is up: Pancake Bellyache.

There's nothing groundbreaking in it. And by that I mean there probably won't be any surprises. I didn't stretch myself with the music. It's pretty much all folk rock chick stuff except for Jargon which is mostly my Korg keyboard laying down the beats. Serenity Hymn is churchy sounding music.

I didn't write any angry songs this year. I guess I'm pretty content with life right now.

Whatevs. Enjoy!

Pancake Bellyache

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 30

December 1, 2010

I was up until 11:30 last night, the last hour of NaSoAlMo, tweaking. I fixed a few things that were bothering me. I made MP3s of all the songs, and I'm going to put them in a folder to "freeze" them as the official NaSoAlMo versions of the songs.

I'm not posting any of the songs yet because I still hear some things I want to fix in a few of the songs. And I'm tired. Maybe this weekend I'll have something ready for public consumption.

Comments (2) | Permalink

NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 28

November 28, 2010

I rerecorded the guitar for Lily, Come Follow Me Down. I'm much happier with it. That's the only thing that was really sticking in my craw about any of the songs.

After putting the new guitar track in, things sounded out of sync, so I had to do some manual adjusting of the vocals and bass and lead guitar. That's because I originally recorded the guitar first, so everything else was based on the timing of that.

Then I tweaked the mix, which is probably my least favorite activity in all of recording. I tweaked for hours. I would think I was finished, then I'd make the MP3 and listen through speakers on a different computer, and it would sound so crappy. Then it would be back to the motherboard. To make matters worse...

My recording/mixing software is wigging out on me. It started about a week ago or maybe before that. Sometimes all the effects stop working and sound only comes through one side of the headphones. A reboot or two fixes it temporarily. I might have to back everything up and reformat the drive and install everything again from scratch. Thank goodness I'm finished with NaSoAlMo.

I also started listening to the other songs and making notes on what to fix. I think those fixes will be fairly easy. *crosses fingers*

Progress:


  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished ~ 4:05)

  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)

  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Finished ~ 2:40)

  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Finished ~ 5:00)

  • NaSoAlMo 7: Christmas in the Trenches (Finished ~ 6:30)

To Do:


  • Listen to the songs to see if they need tweaking.

Comments (1) | Permalink

NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 27

November 27, 2010

After a great Thanksgiving with family, I got back to music today. The goal was to record "Christmas in the Trenches" by John McCutcheon.

I started out by analyzing the song. The accompaniment was going to be a piano/harp/string sound from my keyboard that I picked out last night. I only wanted to record each unique segment of the song once. I found 6 unique segments, the longest of which was repeated 5 times in the song.

I recorded each segment and then pieced it together. That went fairly fast and worked out great.

I wanted to finish up with the keyboard and move it out of the way before I started vocals, so I worked on the three small instrumental solo sections next. Those short instrumental solos took longer to record than the main accompaniment. In small part because I had to pick the sounds I wanted.

I decided on bells for the first solo since it's a Christmas song. Then accordion for the second because right before that solo, the lyrics talk about one of the soldiers playing the squeezebox. For the last solo, I picked a spacey keyboard sound. Why not?

A bigger reason it took longer to do the solo bits is because I had to figure out what notes or chords to play and then play them correctly. That's not so easy.

After that, I recorded the main vocal and some harmonies. Then I mixed and mastered it and guess what? It's 6:30 minutes long. That's all I needed to finish NaSoAlMo. So I don't have to write a quick song on the fly to finish. I'm done!!

Except now I have time to tweak some things. Tweak tweak tweak!!

Progress:


  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished aside from tweaking ~ 4:05)

  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)

  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Finished ~ 2:40)

  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Finished ~ 5:00)

  • NaSoAlMo 7: Christmas in the Trenches (Finished ~ 6:30)

To Do:


  • Tweak Lily, Come Follow Me Down - Maybe re-record the guitar.

  • Listen to the other songs to see if they need tweaking.

Comments (1) | Permalink

NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 23

November 23, 2010

Tonight, I recorded the instrumental keyboard bridge for "From Baltimore to Murfreesboro", mixed and mastered it and called it done. Listening back, though, the bridge seems rushed. I'll let it sit, though, and listen after the holiday. Sometimes when I listen later, I don't hear problems I heard before.

Now I'm going to take a break recording and writing to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.

I'm looking forward to the weekend after I get the cover song recorded. Then I'll have to write and record one last song. Because it's last minute, I'm not setting any expectations for the song. Seems like it will be fun to just record any old thing. We'll see what happens. Maybe I'll do a spoken word.

I still need to make my album cover. Sometime last year, I shot pictures of a chocolate chip pancake that I dissected (tore apart really) looking for chocolate chips. I did not find one despite the waitress insisting the pancake was chocolate chip. This actually happened twice at the same restaurant. Now I can't find the pictures. I'll keep looking. An album cover is not a requirement to meet the challenge, though, so no pressure.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Progress:


  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished aside from tweaking ~ 4:05)

  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)

  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Finished ~ 2:40)

  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Finished ~ 5:00)

  • NaSoAlMo 7: Christmas in the Trenches (Cover song chosen ~ 5:00 I hope)

  • NaSoAlMo 8: Unknown

To Do:


  • Record piano, instrumental solos and vocals for "Christmas in the Trenches"

  • Write another 2 to 3 minute song and record it.

Comments (1) | Permalink

NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 22

November 22, 2010

Tonight I worked on "From Baltimore to Murfreesboro." First I took the bass snippets and replicated them out to the proper points in the song. That took longer than I anticipated, but it worked okay.

While I was working on the bass, I heard a pop in the guitar track. I don't wanna re-record the guitar track. *whine* I'll probably get a case of the perfections, though, and re-record it anyway.

After bass, I worked on the levels of the lead and harmony vocals. This is the first song this year that I had to tweak the levels on the vocal tracks at different points. Maybe my equipment wasn't working right (read: I didn't turn the knobs to the right places) because there were fluctuations in the volume of the vocals. Anyway... got that done.

Then I took about an hour to come up with a keyboard solo at the instrumental bridge. Sometimes these things write themselves and sometimes not. Tonight was a "not."

I recorded a scratch version of it so I'll remember it tomorrow night. I accidentally learned that when you loop a section of a song and hit record, it will record a separate take of what you play each time it loops. Wow... fantastic. I can just sit and do it over and over until I get it right without having to start and stop the recording.

I hope to get that song mixed and mastered tomorrow night, so I can put music aside for a couple of days and focus on the Thanksgiving holiday.

Progress:


  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished aside from tweaking ~ 4:05)

  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)

  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Finished ~ 2:40)

  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Written/Mostly recorded ~ 4:30)

  • NaSoAlMo 7: Christmas in the Trenches (Cover song chosen ~ 5:00 I hope)

  • NaSoAlMo 8: Unknown

To Do:


  • Record instrumental solo and mix "From Baltimore to Murfreesboro"

  • Record piano, intrumental solos and vocals for "Christmas in the Trenches"

  • Write another 2 to 3 minute song and record it.

  • Tweak "Lily, Come Follow Me Down" (hand drum sounds? strings? re-record guitar?)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 21

November 21, 2010

Despite a headache and sinus trouble, I spent the afternoon and evening recording and mixing. I finished messing with the midi bass on "Boones Ferry Days" and tried to add a midi flute, but it wasn't working. I don't know why the midi bass worked and the midi flute didn't, but that's okay. I needed to move on to the next song. I got it mixed and mastered. I'll let it sit and listen to it fresh later.

Then I recorded guitar, vocals and bass snippets for "From Baltimore to Murfreesboro" (formerly known as the Barney song). I put it into Cakewalk for mixing. I need to copy and paste the bass snippets wherever they fit. Normally, I would have played the bass through, but I was tired of recording.

I still need to record a solo instrument for the bridge. I'm leaning toward playing something on my keyboard since I've neglected it this year.

I somehow stretched the song out another 30 seconds, so it's 5 minutes long. To that I say, "YES!"

On an unrelated note, I won a weekly football pool I'm in. The teams that came through for me were Navy, NC State, Penn St and Utah. Navy has been especially good to me this year.

Progress:


  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished aside from tweaking ~ 4:05)

  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)

  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Finished ~ 2:40)

  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Written/Mostly recorded ~ 4:30)

  • NaSoAlMo 7: Christmas in the Trenches (Cover song chosen ~ 5:00 I hope)

  • NaSoAlMo 8: Unknown

To Do:


  • Record instrumental solo and mix "From Baltimore to Murfreesboro"

  • Record piano, intrumental solos and vocals for "Christmas in the Trenches"

  • Write another 2 to 3 minute song and record it.

  • Tweak "Lily, Come Follow Me Down" (hand drum sounds? strings? re-record guitar?)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 20

November 21, 2010

On my way to lunch today, I listened to two versions of "Christmas in the Trenches" to try to get the melody in my head. I love the song. I just hope I can figure out some good extra instrumentation to add to it so it doesn't get boring.

After lunch, I made some real progress. First I recorded guitar for "I Wished I Liked." I've been calling it "I Wish I Liked", but the real name has "Wished" in it. Then I recorded vocals which were pretty easy. Then bass which was pretty easy. Then a lead guitar solo in the instrumental break that was painful. I had to record it one phrase at a time, and even doing that, I had to do it over and over and over to get it to satisfactory. I'd like to have done a great track, but my fingers just weren't working the way I'd like.

I mixed the song down, and it sounds pretty good. Tick!

Even though it was getting late, I started tweaking "Boone's Ferry Days." The main thing it needed was bass, so I built a bass track in midi. That sounds good, but I'm going to let it simmer overnight and see how it sounds tomorrow. There are a couple of lines in the song where I think I sound like Mary Chapin Carpenter. I think it's due to the phrasing of the lyrics.

My allergies are bothering me, but I hope I can keep them at bay and stay motivated tomorrow to finished "Boones..." and record "From Baltimore to Murfreesboro" (formerly known as the Barney song). If I don't, I'm afraid I won't finish the challenge.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished aside from tweaking ~ 4:05)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Even more mostly done ~ 4:09)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Finished ~ 2:40)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Christmas in the Trenches (Cover song chosen ~ 5:00 I hope)

To Do:

  • Tweak "Lily, Come Follow Me Down" (hand drum sounds? strings?)
  • Tweak "Boone's Ferry Days" (flute? keyboard flute sound? lighter reverb on vocal?)
  • Record guitar, instrumental solo, bass and vocals for "From Baltimore to Murfreesboro"
  • Record piano, intrumental solos and vocals for "Christmas in the Trenches"
  • Write another 2 to 3 minute song and record it.

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 19

November 19, 2010

I didn't write an entry yesterday because I didn't do a thing involving music.

Today, however, I chose a cover song to try. I thought a lot about mashups, but I couldn't think of one that appealed to me. One was doing the chorus from "Ruby Tuesday" with the verses from "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town." But when I read the verses of the latter, I abandoned the idea. I didn't realize it was so dark. If he could walk, he'd kill her because she was leaving him? Wow.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, I stumbled across a Christmas folk song called "Christmas in the Trenches." It's about the story of enemies in World War I putting their differences aside on Christmas Eve. It's touching, folksy and most importantly, long.

I'll probably play piano as accompaniment.

This evening, I worked on the drum track for "I Wish I Liked." It's bare bones. Then I built a midi snippit of the second half of "Chopsticks" to use in the Springsteen "Blinded By The Light" break in the song.

Tomorrow, I need to record the guitar part over, add bass and sing. That's my goal.

In addition to my progress, I'm going to start listing what's left to do.

Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished aside from tweaking ~ 4:05)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Mostly done ~ 4:09)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written/drum track and chopsticks midified ~ 2:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Christmas in the Trenches (Cover song chosen ~ 5:00 I hope)

To Do:

  • Tweak "Lily, Come Follow Me Down" (hand drum sounds? strings?)
  • Tweak "Boone's Ferry Days" (bass? flute? keyboard flute sound? lighter reverb on vocal? more harmony?)
  • Record guitar, lead guitar, bass and vocals for "I Wish I Liked"
  • Record guitar, instrumental solo, bass and vocals for "From Baltimore to Murfreesboro"
  • Record piano, intrumental solos and vocals for "Christmas in the Trenches"
  • Write another 2 to 3 minute song and record it.

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 17

November 17, 2010

I'm definitely not using that awful guitar track I recorded last night for "I Wish I Liked." Stinkeroo!! Tonight I transferred it to my mixing computer and worked on adding a drum track. It was agony to listen to the guitar while I played with drums. I'll rerecord the guitar on my acoustic tomorrow night or this weekend.

I had to research what a basic country drum track is. Seems like it's high hat on every beat and then alternating bass drum and snare. I made a few bars of drums like that, and it sounded pretty good.

I understand the concept of midi (that you record instructions rather than sounds), but what still frustrates me is all the crap about channels and patches and banks. Ugh. I inserted a midi track in Cakewalk from a "track template" that had something about drums in its title. Then, just to see how things work, I started changing the settings (bank, channel, whatever). The sounds never changed. So WTF are all those settings for if it doesn't change anything? I guess I need to search for a midi for dummies tutorial.

Even with that frustration, I feel like I'll be able to make a drum track, and that's an accomplishment.

Now I'm toying with the idea of doing a Christmas song for the cover song. Maybe even mashup Christmas lyrics with a non-Christmas song somehow.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished aside from tweaking ~ 4:05)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Mostly done ~ 4:09)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written/scratch guitar recorded ~ 2:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Cover song (no idea yet)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 16

November 16, 2010

My friend Milo gave me some advice about how to get a country sound out of an electric guitar which reminded me that I have a Squire Mini Strat. It was in a gig bag in the closet. I never really played electric guitar before last year's NaSoAlMo, and last year I played my Gibson SG Standard, so the reminder gave me a small boost of enthusiasm. (New Different instrument to play with!)

I'm not sure if it's me, or if it's the instrument, but it seems to play out of tune. I actually have another electric guitar that I've had since I was in high school, and it always played out of tune. Makes me think it's me — that I have to learn to have the perfect touch so electrics don't sound out of tune. The Gibson SG Standard doesn't seem to play out of tune, though, so maybe it's not me. Or maybe it's me. heh

Anyway, I got the Squire Mini out, and it feels good in my hands. The SG is HEAVY, so I was also happy to hang a light guitar on my shoulders.

Long story short, I recorded the guitar track for "I Wish I Liked." It's pretty awful. Not because I got bad advice, but because I don't know what I'm doing. There is a seemingly infinite combination of settings of knobs and buttons and amp sounds and effects and everwhat. It's too much for me. I need a country guitar sound button.

That and the guitar plays out of tune. Or maybe it's the strings. Or maybe it's me.

Whatever... I'm going with it. Maybe I can cover most of the awfulness with my voice and midi drums if I can figure that out.

I'm really excited about inserting a line from Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded By The Light" in the middle of my country song, though. I feel oh so very clever. It's going to be CUTE!!!

On the cover song front, I'd like to do a mashup if I can think of what to do. By mashup, I mean mashing two songs together. Either sing lyrics to one song over the music of another, or do verses from one song and the chorus from another. The keys to success are to find two songs that will mash together seamlessly and that I can play the music.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished aside from tweaking ~ 4:05)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Mostly done ~ 4:09)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written/Guitar recorded ~ 2:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Cover song (no idea yet)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 15

November 15, 2010

My first day back at work after my two week music staycation wasn't too bad. I wanted to get home to work on music, though. My intention was to start recording the country song, but by the time I got to my music room, that felt daunting. So I tried to fix the guitar sound that I don't like on Lily, Come Follow Me Down.

I got it sounding much better on my recording PC through headphones. In fact, I was very pleased. But when I transferred it to my regular PC, it still sounded tinny. Sigh. More intensive tweaking ahead. I think I need to strip out all the effects and start with a single raw guitar track.

Then I picked up my electric guitar to try to find a good sound to use to record the country song. I thought I might find a twangy, country effect, but nothing sounded right. I might fall back on my acoustic.

This might turn into a mostly acoustic folk rock chick album. I have one song backed by organ and one backed by crazy Korg synth beats and noises, but the rest are coming out acoustic guitar. I still have another 1 or 2 to write, though, and a possible cover song. And I could re-record the guitar part for Lily on electric.

If I were to use my time wisely, I'd let the Lily song sound tinny and call the Boone's Ferry Days song done for my NaSoAlMo album. Then go back and make them sound better next month. Must remember this. Must remember this. Must remem....



  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished aside from tweaking ~ 4:05)

  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Mostly done ~ 4:09)

  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)

  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written ~ 2:30)

  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Written ~ 4:30)

  • NaSoAlMo 7: Cover song (no idea yet)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 14

November 14, 2010

I took a break from writing today and recorded the vocal for Boones Ferry Days. I recorded a lead vocal and double harmony tracks. After I transferred the tracks to my computer for mixing, I noticed the lead vocal had some distortion. I had failed to set the levels well on my equipment when I recorded. You know what that means? Start over on the lead vocal. Ugh.

I re-recorded the lead vocal, mixed the tracks, hoped I was done with the song and took a break. Listening with fresh ears later made me want to add bass. I was going to try to add a quick midi bass track that I would use if it sounded good, or to print out the sheet music and play real bass. But the tempo wasn't set correctly, and when I tried to set it correctly, it made my audio tracks go out of synch. Ugh.

Recording is hard.

I'm not going to call this song done, but if it gets down to the end of the month, and I haven't fixed it, I'm okay calling it done for NaSoAlMo purposes and fixing it later.

I toyed with the idea of recording The Who's "905" as my cover song. I think it would only be about 3 minutes, though, and I'm hoping for a 4-5 minutes cover song to fill time.

I was looking at my NaSoAlMo entries from last year, and I seemed so much more excited. I wonder what's up with that?

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished ~ 4:05)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Mostly done ~ 4:09)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written ~ 2:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Cover song (no idea yet)

Comments (3) | Permalink

NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 13

November 13, 2010

I got up this morning intending to finish the lyrics for the song I'm writing about Barney, a late friend I never met. I had recorded two different guitar chord sequences on my iPhone to listen to while I worked on them. I took my notes and my iPhone to Conans pizza for lunch.

Conans has an elevated area where it looks like bands play sometimes. They have a couple of tables up there and the sun was shining brightly through the windows. There's also a piano which enhanced the atmosphere for writing music even though I didn't play it. I was the only one up there and was able to spread my notes out comfortably. The pizza took a while, so I worked up some lyrics while I waited and continued working for 30 minutes to an hour after I ate.

In that time, I finished the first verse and what would end up as a chorus after a few tweaks this evening.

It's been a challenge to work on this song for a couple of reasons. The first is that I kept worrying about what Barney would think of the song and what Susan, our mutual friend whose stories I'm working from, will think about the song. I finally had to force those worries out of my mind and just write because I can only do what I can do.

The other challenge is that I have several pages of stories about Barney that Susan wrote, and I wanted to fit so much of them into the song. Of course, they won't all fit into a 4 minutes song. In fact, only a very few of them would fit. When I accepted that, I was able to make some headway.

This evening, I spread my notes out on my kitchen table and continued to work. I turned the sound down on the TV (Oregon vs. Cal) and spent several hours until it was done.

As I was working, I discovered one reason I don't often write. It takes a lot of focus. I'm not a good multi-tasker, but I spend much of my time multi-tasking. Maybe to fit more stuff into the limited time I have. Songwriting and multi-tasking don't mix. The NaSoAlMo challenge helps because I have a goal to work toward, so it forces me to focus.

Tomorrow, I think I need to give writing a rest and start recording the three songs I haven't recorded yet. I still have about 7 minutes to account for, and I can record a cover song, so best case, I only need to write one more song. Or record a 7 minute cover song.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished ~ 4:05)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Written/Guitar track recorded ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written ~ 2:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: From Baltimore to Murfreesboro (Written ~ 4:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Cover song (no idea yet)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 12

November 12, 2010

Today is the last workday of my vacation. My adventure today was a trip to Westlake Hills to see if I could find the building that housed a barbecue joint I used to go to. I didn't think the joint was there anymore, but I wanted to see what was in its place. This place had the BEST apple pie ever. I think they put sour cream in with the apples, and it had streusel on top.

I didn't find where it used to be. Where I think it was is now a Randall's grocery store, and the building is shaped differently than what I remembered. It kinda messes with my head when things from a long time ago are different. I don't know whether it's different or whether I'm in the wrong place.

It was difficult getting out of the parking lot, so I drove into the neighborhood behind the store. It was full of big, rich people's houses. I like driving through neighborhoods like that, but I often wonder whether I would want a house that big if I had the money. I don't think so. Too much space to get lost in. This evening, I wrote a page in my notebook about it that might end up in a song.

I landed at Shady Grove for lunch. They serve my favorite chili cheeseburger in town. I had some more Barney stories to read over, and I wrote some more notes.

After that, I wanted to use a $10 certificate for Flipnotics to buy coffee and sweets and sit and write more notes, but there was no place to park. I went to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf instead, where I usually go every morning before work. I got a Red Velvet Hot Chocolate, but it was too sweet, so I didn't drink it all. I did write some more notes, though.

I know I'm over thinking the Barney song, but I feel like it needs to be just right. I don't know what just right is. I don't want to romanticize him because it would be disingenuous. He had a hard life and didn't always behave like a good man, but he had a good quality about him. That's what I get from my friend Susan's writings about him.

I have a feeling that I need to get the backing music written so I know what kinds of phrases I have to fit the lyrics into. I haven't done a piano song yet this year, so I tried to work something up on my keyboard this evening, but keyboard really doesn't sound right for Barney. It's going to have to be guitar.

I came up with a guitar chord pattern that might work for a chorus, so I played that over and over tonight. I'll keep working on it and see if the story will start to merge with the music.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished ~ 4:05)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Written/Guitar track recorded ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written ~ 2:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Barney (idea)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Cover song (no idea yet)

Comments (1) | Permalink

NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 11

November 11, 2010

I drove to San Marcos for lunch today to eat at Grins. I thought they served Manski Rolls there, but I didn't see them on the menu. Just as well... that's a lot of carbs and sugar and butter (oh so good). I had a cheeseburger with sauteed mushrooms. It was my favorite burger when I went to college there.

I took some stories I had printed about a carny named Barney who lived in Tennessee. My blogging friend Susan (aka Pitcherlady) introduced him through her pictures and words. One year, she asked her readers to send Barney a Christmas card and I did. She burned my first NaSoAlMo songs to a CD for him, and she said he loved it, especially "I Don't Wanna Be." I used to send him postcards, too, when I went on trips. Last year, I sent him a copy of my NaSoAlMo CD and he sent me a thank you note back. He died this year, and I want to write a song for him.

I took the stories to San Marcos and read through them at Grins, taking notes and shedding a few tears. After Grins, I continued my note-taking at Jo on the Go where I sat at a table and drank a Milky Way espresso drink.

The stories I'd printed were mostly about what happened after he died, and though they are rich, that's only part of Barney's story. When I got home, I contacted Susan to see if she could send me more stories. She sent one and said she would find others.

A few days ago, I ordered a USB 3.5" floppy drive from Amazon and a box of disks. What, what, what? 3.5" floppy drive, you ask? My Korg keyboard has a 3.5" floppy drive, and I wanted to be able to use midi tracks that I built with my PC on my Korg. I tried it tonight, and it worked!

I practiced my country song and found I didn't stumble over any of the lines tonight. And I came up with a four line keyboard doodle that I don't know what to do with. That's the extent of my music making for today. I have three days free until I have to go back to work. I hope I can get 1 or 2 more songs written.



  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished ~ 4:05)

  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Written/Guitar track recorded ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)

  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written ~ 2:30)

  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)

  • NaSoAlMo 6: Barney (idea)

  • NaSoAlMo 7: Cover song (no idea yet)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 10

November 10, 2010

I went to Wimberley, Texas today for a change of scenery. I'd never been there before despite living about 15 minutes away while I was in college in San Marcos.

I found a coffee shop called Maui Wowi, ordered a mocha and sat at a table by the front window. I put on my headphones and listened to the spider capo song. Flipping through my notebook, I landed on the lyric notes about Boone's Ferry Days, Aunt Alice, Uncle Emery and Wilsonville, Oregon.

I spent a couple of hours there and crafted more lyrics than there was room for in the song. I had to leave some things out like Uncle Emery's tractor and the dandelions in the yard, but they can continue to float around for another song.

After that, I went to Cypress Creek Park, but it turned out to be kinda lame, so I ate pork chops at the Wimberley Cafe and headed back home through San Marcos. Driving past a liquor store in San Marcos, I said to myself, "That used to be a drug store." I heard my friend Brian reply in my mind, "Kinda still is." Yep... kinda still is.

Tonight, I re-recorded the intro and outro to the Boone's Ferry Days song and rearranged it so I could fit in another verse. Copy and paste is awesome.

Kudos to the iPhone app Perfectrhyme and to Wikipedia for helping me put the lyrics together.

I've accounted for 17.5 minutes worth of music. That leaves 11.5 minutes I need to fill.

I'm trying to talk myself into going to bed at a decent hour tonight. Which means now. Probably won't, though.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished ~ 4:05)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Boone's Ferry Days (Written/Guitar track recorded ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written ~ 2:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Barney (idea)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Cover song (no idea yet)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 9

November 9, 2010

I didn't work on music until late evening. First thing this morning, the chimney sweep visited and installed a new stainless steel and copper chimney cap and chase cover. It came with a forever warranty. It's supposed to rain Thursday night or Friday, so I'll find out if the leak is fixed.

While I was waiting for the chimney sweep, I was goofing around on the computer, and I kept messing with that little white cyst on my face that I had the doctor look at last week. Then it rubbed right off. No scar or anything. I guess it was time.

For lunch, I went to Rudy's BBQ to meet work friends. I hadn't been to Rudy's in years, so it was a treat, and I bought enough food to have leftovers for supper.

After that, I went shopping for clothes and pet food. By the time I got home, I was worn out. I hate shopping for clothes (even though I like having new clothes).

I played through the spider capo song and decided I really like it. I didn't have a plan for the progression of the song, though. That's been hanging me up for the last week because I couldn't figure out how to make a plan. This evening, I got a pad of paper and wrote notation for all the different parts with the intention of drawing up a plan. But then I thought I could just record each part and then experiment with the pieces in Cakewalk.

Now that I kind of had a plan, I went into the music room to record. I ended up ditching that plan, though. I recorded the intro on a track on my Roland recorder. Then on track 2, I recorded another part right after. Then back on track 1, I recorded another part after that. Then back to track 2. They weren't really after each other... each overlapped the last. Then I transferred the two tracks to Cakewalk and edited them so it sounded like I was playing the song straight through instead of in pieces. Then I added a stereo effect that makes it sound richer.

I recorded the guitar with a mic instead of through the guitar's preamp. I like the sound better. I'm considering re-recording the guitar for Lily, Come Follow Me Down because listening back to that song, it hurts my ears. Too tinny.

I mixed the spider capo guitar track down and put it in my iPhone. Now I can carry it with me tomorrow and see if any lyrics seep out. There are two spots in the song for lyrics of 16 measures each.

I'm suffering from allergies, and I took a CVS brand Claritan. I hope I can sleep tonight and don't get a headache or some other side effect. Sometimes allergy medicine makes me feel worse than the allergies.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished ~ 4:05)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Untitled spider capo song (Partially written/Guitar track recorded ~ 3:33)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written ~ 2:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4:08)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Wilsonville (Lyric Notes)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Barney (idea)
  • NaSoAlMo 8: Cover song (no idea yet)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 8

November 8, 2010

Today was mostly a waste. I got caught up in one of the Facebook games, Kingdoms of Camelot, and spent far too much time goofing around.

I tried to write some lyric notes about Wilsonville, Oregon at lunch, but that wasn't productive.

To make up for it this evening, I produced a song I've been planning to do since last December. I've been collecting sound clips of people speaking jargon on my voicemail since then with the intention of sampling the clips in a song. It was a quick win because I finished it tonight, and it's 4 minutes long.

I think I'll play through the two songs I have cooking before I go to bed tonight, and that will be it for today's work. I really hope tomorrow I'm motivated to focus on music. I have a birthday lunch to go to, and I need to go to the pet store, but I don't have any other obligations.

My BGFF Shann's rule of thumb for NaSoAlMo progress is to have finished a minute per day. That puts me ahead right now because I have 11 minutes complete (plus prorated minutes of songs I've written and am writing), and it's only day 8. Go me!



  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished ~ 4:05)

  • NaSoAlMo 2: Untitled spider capo song (Guitar Chords Started)

  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)

  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written ~ 2:30)

  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon (Finished ~ 4;08)

  • NaSoAlMo 6: Laugh Tracks (Nothing but an idea and one clip of a friend talking about laugh tracks)

  • NaSoAlMo 7: Wilsonville (Lyric Notes)

  • NaSoAlMo 8: Barney (idea)

  • NaSoAlMo 9: Cover song (no idea yet)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 7

November 8, 2010

I got up late today even with the time change. I tried to work on my country song when I got up, but my fingertips had a layer of numb and a layer of pain at the same time from lack of playing guitar for months. The country song is fun to sing, though.

At lunch, I went to Madam Mam's where they now serve soft tofu in their F11 instead of fried. I prefer the soft, so it's a win for me. I wrote a few more lyrics for the country song.

On the drive home, I was singing it and mulling over the dual theme. One is that I wish I was more like other people because I'd fit in better. The other is that if I liked doing things that aren't so goodie two shoes, maybe I'd have more fun. The truth is that, most of the time, I like the way I am, so don't go thinking I'm miserable or anything.

Thinking about the theme of having more fun if you don't try to behave made me think of that line from Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light" that goes, "But mama, that's where the fun is." I launched into singing that so seamlessly I decided to add it into my country song for a twist in the middle.

I finished the lyrics in the afternoon. Big thanks to Rhymezone. I don't think I could do NaSoAlMo without Rhymezone.

I recorded the vocals for Lily, Come Follow Me Down tonight. Then I recorded bass, which is almost always a pleasure because I can play a whole song all the way through without too many retakes on bass. Then I recorded a short electric guitar solo for the instrumental bridge. I had a heck of a time figuring out how to best connect my effects box to my recording equipment with my new setup this year. Something about the computer records at 48KHz and the effect box uses 44.1KHz. I figured out a way, though, and then proved that practice makes perfect because I sucked at first, but after playing it a whole bunch of times, I worked it out. Dawg.

Today, I felt the best I've felt since I started. I'm still behind compared to prior years, but this is the first day I haven't regretted doing this.

Tomorrow, I'll either work on recording the country song or I'll try to write some more. I probably should write because that's the key to getting this done.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Finished ~ 4:05)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Untitled spider capo song (Guitar Chords Started)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Written ~ 2:30)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon and Acronyms Song (Clips of friends speaking in jargon and acronyms)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Laugh Tracks (Nothing but an idea and one clip of a friend talking about laugh tracks)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Wilsonville (Lyric Notes)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 6, Part 2

November 6, 2010

I forgot to mention that before I recorded the guitar part for Lily, Come Follow Me Down, I was having trouble playing the guitar part. Then I remembered that it's easier for my weak girl fingers to press the strings down when the capo is on. So I put the capo on the second fret. Voila!

After I wrote the previous entry, I googled some country songs so I could figure out what chords to play on the guitar. I think a standard 3 chord progression will do. Johnny Cash used A, E and D on "I Walk the Line" and that's a great country song, so I think I'll use those on my song, too. Except I'll capo it up and make it B, F# and E.

I picked up the guitar and the song started to flow. I need to write more lyrics, but now that I have the phrasing, the lyrics should be easier to write. I think.

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 6

November 6, 2010

I woke up with lyrics in my head. Not a whole song's worth, but a start. I typed them into Word and wrote some notes in my notebook to take to lunch. I tried to flesh them out while I was waiting for a deep dish Veggie Supreme pizza with extra extra cheese at Conan's Pizza. This might be the country song I want to write, but I'm not sure.

I also looked through my old notebook again and found some notes about Wilsonville, Oregon where my Aunt Alice and Uncle Emery lived. They lived just down the road from where the Boone's Ferry crossed the Willamette. The Boone it was named after was a relative of Daniel Boone. There are lyrics in there somewhere.

After lunch, I transferred the Serenity Hymn vocals to my music PC for mixing. I also started to record a base line on the keyboard, gave up because I couldn't get it right, then figured it out and recorded it anyway a little later because I couldn't let it go. The hymn needed a bottom.

I also punctuated the song with a clip from the Serenity movie.

I remembered a couple of song ideas I had that almost made me feel better about my poor progress so far. One is about jargon and acronyms and the other is about laugh tracks.

While I was practicing the chords for my untitled spider capo song, the words "There's a fire in his eyes" came out, but I can't think of anyone with a fire in his eyes to write about. At least the music is starting to talk to me.

After a supper of leftover deep dish Veggie Supreme pizza with extra extra cheese, I recorded the acoustic guitar tracks for Lily, Come Follow Me Down. It's not great, but I never think anything is great, so it's probably fine. Tomorrow, I'll add vocals and bass and see if it asks for anything else. A week or so ago, I was at a Starbucks and there were hundreds of birds in the trees. The birdsong was incredible, and I recorded it on my iPhone. I might use that in the intro or outro. I'm also considering ending the song with a round.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Written and partially recorded ~ 4:05)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Untitled spider capo song (Guitar Chords Started)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Finished ~ 2:51)
  • NaSoAlMo 4: I Wish I Liked (Lyric Notes)
  • NaSoAlMo 5: Jargon and Acronyms Song (Clips of friends speaking in jargon and acronyms)
  • NaSoAlMo 6: Laugh Tracks (Nothing but an idea and one clip of a friend talking about laugh tracks)
  • NaSoAlMo 7: Wilsonville (Lyric Notes)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 5

November 6, 2010

I had a training class this afternoon, so I got up in time to go to lunch at Luby's beforehand. I haven't been there in a long time, and they've changed it so you pay before you eat. The food was still the same, and that's a good thing.

After lunch, I had an hour to kill, so I went to a Starbucks with the intention of brainstorming lyrics. Mostly, I looked through my notebook from past years and tried to make something of words I didn't make anything of before. No luck. The music at Starbucks was loud, and I couldn't focus.

The training class was good, and after, I went to La Posada for white cheese and green sauce enchiladas. I again tried to work on lyrics, but nothing came of it.

I'm really not feeling it this year. I've been thinking next week, I should schedule some day trips to make the most of my vacation. If I don't get an album made, at least my vacation won't be a waste.

This evening, I recorded the organ part for the Serenity Hymn. That was a challenge. I had to record it in four pieces and stitch them together. That's not an uncommon way for me to record. Especially if there are repetitive parts that I can't get right.

It was after 9:30 p.m. when I started recording the vocals. There are three sections, and I wanted each section to be a little more rich than the last. The first section is solo vocal. The second section is two voices singing in unison. For the final section, I recorded three part harmony with six voices. The melody and one harmony part were fairly easy. The third harmony part was very difficult for me. I had to use the sheet music I made with the organ chords and point at the notes for that part with my finger while I sang. I got it done, though.

When I finished recording the vocals, I shut down all the music equipment, and it was quiet in the room. I thought I heard a hoot outside, so I stepped onto the back patio. There were two owls in the trees calling out to each other. I don't know if that's good luck or bad or no luck at all.

I still have to mix the Serenity Hymn, but it's mostly done. I should finish it tomorrow.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Written ~ 3:45)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Untitled spider capo song (Started)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Written/Mostly recorded ~ 2:51)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 4

November 4, 2010

I finished watching Serenity this morning and had 2 pages of notes to use when writing the Serenity Hymn lyrics. I packed them into my purse and set out for lunch. After the disappointing coffee shop experience yesterday, I wanted to go somewhere similar but proven today. Cherrywood Coffeehouse.

It was 2:00 p.m. when I arrived, and I wasn't expecting the crowd that was there. I picked up the menu even though I already knew what I wanted and found that what I wanted wasn't on the menu anymore. When a restaurant changes its menu, the first thing removed is the thing I like best. In this case, Terra Tacos (egg, tofu, avocado, potato strings, maybe other stuff I can't remember). I ended up with a cheeseburger, fries, chocolate espresso cheesecake and a mocha with whipped cream on top. Good stuff, but too many carbs and sugars. I couldn't finish it all.

I worked on the lyrics for the Serenity Hymn, but the music was loud, and I couldn't focus. I headed back home to the quiet of my living room and my Microsoft Word.

Before I started writing the lyrics, I felt like it would be quick because some themes had emerged that I thought would fit well into a song. Love, belief, truth and moving where the wind takes you. Turns out, it was harder to get them into the song than I anticipated. But I did it. The last couplet doesn't rhyme, but it says what it needs to say. And the song got longer.

Lyrics done, I switched my focus to the other songs and played them through. My fingers hurt less when I played guitar, and the spider capo song made me feel happy. The first song I wrote still needs practice time before I record it, as the chords aren't sounding solid yet.

This evening, I tried again to make my PC talk to my Korg synth through midi, but they just won't talk to each other. I'm sure it's probably something I'm not even considering because I don't understand the concept behind the connection. So tomorrow, I'll record the Serenity Hymn keyboard part by hand and maybe begin the vocals.

I still need to get my electric guitar out and see if it has anything to say. I have a few other lyric ideas to work through, too. And I've been listening to Patty Griffin. I'd like to do a song in her style with minimal instrumentation and maximum vocal.

Progress:

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Written ~ 3:45)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Untitled spider capo song (Started)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Written ~ 2:51)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 3

November 3, 2010

This morning I performed a NaSoAlMo ritual where I play through all the songs I've written or partially written but haven't recorded yet. Today, there were three. I like the two from yesterday better today. It's starting to feel like the good NaSoAlMo, not the bad I-wish-I-hadn't-started-this-again NaSoAlMo.

I thought about the song that sounds like a church hymn and how much I don't want to write a church hymn. Then I decided to write non-church hymn lyrics for it.

For lunch, I went to Red Table Coffee with a $10 groupon that I bought a while back for $5. I hadn't been there before, so I didn't know what to expect. Their website has a small sandwich and wrap menu. Good enough for a NaSoAlMo lunch.

What I found was premade, cold sandwiches. Yech. They might have been able to heat the sandwich, but I didn't ask. I chose the turkey and cranberry on focaccia and it was mostly focaccia. I also got a brownie and a mocha. The mocha was bitter. The brownie had nuts. I liked the atmosphere, but didn't care for the food.

On the way to lunch, I was thinking about church hymns and prayers and I thought of the Serenity prayer. Then I thought of Serenity, the Firefly movie. Aha! That's what my church hymn should be about. Maybe the climax of the song will be "No power in the 'verse can stop [us]." Oh yes. This is fun.

It was a good excuse to watch Serenity again, anyway.

So I tried to watch Serenity the rest of the day, but I kept getting distracted. By Facebook. By the dog. By hunger. By installing print drivers on my music computer. I have a hard time sitting and watching TV for long. It's 11:11 p.m. (make a wish), and I'm still not through it. I've got a page and a half of lyric notes, and tomorrow, I'll finish watching and put the Serenity hymn together.

The reason I was installing print drivers on my music computer is to print the sheet music I made for the Serenity hymn. So very cool.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Written ~ 3:45)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Untitled spider capo song (Started)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Serenity Hymn (Music written/Lyrics partially researched ~ 2:21)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 2

November 2, 2010

This morning, I picked up my guitar and ran through the song I wrote last night. My finger tips hurt. I haven't played guitar in a long time, so I don't have callouses anymore.

I added an intro, an outro and an instrumental bridge. These bits will add about 1 minute to the song.

Even after writing that one song, I still feel like a deer in the NaSoAlMo headlights.

I put off doing anything else musical for a while and called a chimney sweep that my friend Bruce recommended. I hear dripping in my fireplace every time it rains, and last night the dripping was worse. Amazingly enough, the chimney sweep was available in the afternoon.

While I waited, I watched Final Destination, played on Facebook and fiddled with my guitar. The guitar strums were all sounding the same. Then the chimney sweep came and cleaned out my chimney and looked for the leak. Turns out the metal top is getting rusty and needs to be replaced. He said they'll order it and hopefully can get it put in late next week before I have to go back to work. What a relief.

After the chimney sweeping, I tried the guitar some more, but it wasn't doing anything for me. Then I remembered the spider capo I got for Christmas and put that on there. That helped me find some new strums. I kept playing the same thing over and over. I was standing in my living room turning around in circles, strumming. I'd try to stop turning in circles, and I'd find myself turning in circles again.

I recorded what I was strumming onto my iPhone. I've developed strumming patterns before and forgot them overnight, so I don't want that to happen this time.

Fingers hurting, I decided to switch to the keyboard. I came up with a chord pattern I liked pretty quickly. But even worse than with guitar, I forget keyboard chord patterns from one minute to the next.

So I moved to my computer and drew the chord patterns on a midi track. That part was fun. Then I tried to connect the computer to my Korg keyboard because it would have prettier sounds, but I couldn't get it to work. The Korg manual is written in some other language. The individual words are English, but the sentences don't make any sense. Frustrated and on the brink of crying, I turned back to the computer to make an audio track with the crappy computer midi piano sound so I would at least have something to listen to while I write lyrics.

I remember in NaSoAlMos past, I would look around me with a new perspective. Everything I saw was a potential lyric. I haven't had that experience yet this year except for when I was driving back from dinner tonight. I saw a tow truck towing a tow truck. You might hear a song this year with the lyric "Sometimes even tow trucks need a tow." Maybe that's the country song I want to write.

For both of the songs I started today, I thought these are not the songs I want to write. The guitar song sounds like an instrumental by a guitarist I don't care for and the piano song sounds like a church hymn. I'm still going to work on them, though, because even if they're not the songs I want to be writing, I think they're the songs I'm supposed to be writing. Or something.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Written ~ 3:45)
  • NaSoAlMo 2: Untitled spider capo song (Started)
  • NaSoAlMo 3: Untitled Hymn (Started ~ 2:21)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 1 , Part 2

November 1, 2010

I had a very hard time getting started on NaSoAlMo today. As mentioned, I had swollen eyes this morning, so I made a doctor appointment for late afternoon. I didn't do any music before lunch and went to Madam Mam's for comfort food. After that, I had to log on to work to do one thing I promised to do before logging off work for the next two weeks. I failed at that due to having a new laptop that wasn't fully configured for what I needed. Then I went to the doctor, by which time the swelling in my eyes had gone down. So I asked him about this little white spot under my eye, and he said it was just a tiny cyst and nothing to worry about.

When I got home, I didn't have any more excuses, so I opened my notebook and transferred some ideas I had typed into my phone earlier. I still didn't feel like I was doing anything. Then it came to me. Pick up the guitar, dummy.

So I picked up the guitar and out came one line of chords and words. It was similar to other songs I've done, but it was something. The words were, "Daddy, come follow me down, on a winter coat high, on a winter coat high." This is how it happens... nonsense comes out. But then I knead that nonsense until I have something that makes sense. (Sometimes I keep the nonsense, but not this time.)

This time, it turned into "Lily, come follow me down, to a blanket of snow, to a blanket of snow." It was a reminder of the time on Courtney Street when it snowed on Valentine's Day and I walked Lily Dawg down to a most beautiful snow covered field. No one had walked in the field yet, so it was pristine and sparkly.

That led me to a theme of change and things that happened on Courtney street including mention of the Tibetan prayer flags that my neighbor Patrick hung above his door.

This is my creative process. And now, at the end of Day 1, I have a song written.

  • NaSoAlMo 1: Lily, Come Follow Me Down (Written ~ 2:45)

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NaSoAlMo 2010 Day 1 , Part 1

November 1, 2010

National Solo Album Month (NaSoAlMo) begins today. I'm taking the next 2 weeks off work to make music and relax.

My eyes swelled up yesterday evening, though, so I've got a doctor appointment today to see what's up. They're not red, so I don't think it's pink eye. Looking up swollen eyes on the internet probably wasn't a good idea because now I know tumors can cause eye swelling. I don't want a tumor; I've got music to make.

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