Saturday, 18 June 2011

Songwriting Saturday

I'm introducing a weekly slot in this blog (goodness knows we need some consistency around here) to get my butt in gear about song writing and also give everyone else some ideas. Hey presto: Songwriting Saturdays has been born!
This, ahem, Saturday (writing this post on a Friday L to the OL) I was googling away at song writing techniques that my favourites use (David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen etc.) and came across the idea of the Cut-Up Technique, that Bowie has used to create some lyrics. So I decided to give it a bash, I cut out a rectangle from a piece of lined card and got out three books, one a critical analysis of poetry, one an old book of plays and another a poetry miscellany. With five lines from each, this is what I got:

Effort at a greater
in their keeping
of broken images
later Grail romances
their merit as poets

game at backgammon
Hell and damnation!
and lives upon
with all the seeming
thou wicked slanderer

a few lilies blow
Trouble is always awake
Watching in the snow
velvet that is black
Slavery-savage men

So... how on Earth was I going to piece that all together?! I couldn't pick every line, so I just started brainstorming and came up with the idea of a man playing a game of backgammon in Hell against the Devil for his soul. And then I wrote...

As I was writing I developed a tune quite quickly, just a simple thing on the guitar. I then began to record a simple demo of it on Garageband on my laptop... 

And soon enough I was done with what was definitely an over-cheery sound perhaps not completely worthy of the dark subject. I probably took it one step further by adding in the twee xylophone accompaniment, but, hey, I liked the strange oxymoronic tone it gives the song.

This was just a small exercise in song writing, but it was great fun to do. When I started out writing I believed that I had to be constrained to my own limited experiences, and, really, how many songs can you write about the same guy!? I much prefer getting imaginative and telling stories with my songs. Let me know what you guys think!

Backgammon by Olivia Rafferty


A said...

This is really good! I love the method you used, I will have to try that sometime...

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