Studio Session “Beyond the Puddle” & Music Writing Process

This is a song in progress. It was actually based on an old short musical piece which I then called “Guitar Bow Piece” because I experimented with playing a guitar with a bow. But I actually really liked the melody and atmosphere of it and it gave me the vague feeling of “opening up”. This feeling was really similar to what I have been thinking about lately.

Since I have been reading “Everyone is an Artist” and “The Ethics of Authenticity”, I started to gain a new understanding about my quest (and the modern quest in general) for living an authentic life. I even started blogging about it. But views from authors like from the books I mentioned, made me realise how much we can become obsessed by self-fulfilment, and finding our true selves, that we can become “locked in our own hearts”. The authors believe that the value of authenticity is beautiful, but they think that nowadays we tend to close ourselves off and care less for causes beyond the self. I myself was really involved in this modern quest for authenticity, and I see it around me everyday. So when having read these books, I wanted to open up a bit more to the world around me. And I think this is important for everyone. This song will be about this process of opening up.

The progress of the song will be as follows

  • First seeing your mirror image in the water puddle’s reflection, and being fascinated by it. (current lyrics that belong to this part:

Tiny waves in the water’s reflection

O it looks so

Fascinating my mirror

O it looks so [YOU?]

  • Then suddenly sensing things outside of that puddle

  • Then being amazed and fascinated by what is happening outside the puddle

I will continue working on this piece, so hopefully it will be published here soon 🙂

My music writing process: How I compose

I thought it might be nice to write a bit about my process for writing music, since it is a process I really really enjoy. It’s some kind of flow that I cannot describe, but it also involves a structured way of working. And I think this combination is interesting.

Most of the time, it all starts with having a general topic in mind, something that I’ve been fascinated with lately. But it’s not always the case that I already know what exactly I am going to say about it beforehand. Then I like to search for a metaphor for that topic. I love to work with metaphors. For example, in this song I use the metaphor of being fascinated by one’s own reflection in a puddle for being obsessed with self-fulfilment. My metaphors are often inspired by nature.

From having a metaphor a song title comes very easily. Then I use the title to create a collection of words that work (sonically) in my music idea. I do this as follows: I first look up synonyms and related words to the words in the title. Also I gather other related concepts that fit into the idea of the song. Then I already have quite a list of words that relate to my song.

Then I grab the Rhyming dictionary, and for each word I look up rhymes and near rhymes. What I love about this part is that encountering these (totally unrelated) rhyming words really sparks new ideas and new directions for the music. I only pick out the words that (in my view) contribute to the song in an exciting and valuable way. The final collection of words I used and intend to use further can be seen on the left side in the next image.

While doing all this, I also have in mind a general progress of the song, which you can see for “Beyond the Puddle” on the right side in the second image. It doesn’t have to be the way the song evolves on a time line, but it just depicts different stages I want to go through.

This all feels like preparing for the actual act of writing the song. After creating this toolbox of words that could work (sonically) in my song, I start creating the song. I grab my keyboard and then only intuition is at work, with the useful support of the word collection. Sometimes I already have a chord structure or a melody, but sometimes I just do a lot of things, “trial-and-error”, and just get into the flow of writing music.

I really like this way of working. I don’t do it all the time, sometimes there is only intuition doing it’s job 😉 But then the music becomes more atmospheric and is less focused on the words, more on the music and feeling, which is also fine then. But sometimes I love to let all the creativity go, but still have some structure (the collection of words) or something to hold on to.

While writing about this I immediately got an idea that I might want to play with. I could see how the computer could help me in this personal way of writing a song. Or it can go even that far that I can program something like “computer, please write a song for me” based on my way of working…. Hmmmmmmmmm….

Published by Kayleigh Beard

Kayleigh sings, performs, and makes her own digital instruments. With deep bass, beats, synths, and spacious vocals, she creates melancholic electronic music. To find serenity in today's overwhelming world.

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