Recently I found a[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””] song lyric in typography form[/clickandtweet] on Pinterest, and wanted to try creating an art piece with some of my original song lyrics. Last week I posted a song called “Freedom From the Truth is..”. My typography work is using verse two of that song. I used Adobe Photoshop 11.0, and tried to introduce my brand of pink, which I use in most of my song quote work.
Today I was contemplating how easy it is to say we believe in God, and how hard it is to remember we are called to live by the standards his only Son set for us. In Matthew 4 Jesus is tempted by his enemy Satan. We are tempted today, and distracted, and dumbed down by the same enemy. We shrug off God’s call for holiness because it seems too unreasonable, or perhaps impossible, and settle instead for a mediocre, grey kind of darkness where we can still make our own choices, and feel free. Free but blind. Freedom from the truth is living in the dark. “What fellowship can light have with darkness?” ( 2 Cor. 6:14b NIV). Believers need to be making hard, difficult, illuminating, holy choices.
“Freedom From the Truth is…”
VS 1: Don’t let him in to bring you down,
to dangle his temporary crowns,
and whisper his sweet and clever sounds of freedom.
He offers the finest wine of lies,
and scoffs at the thought of sacrifice.
[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Indulgency is the flag he flies for freedom[/clickandtweet].
CH: But freedom from the truth is living in the dark
and living in the dark is death. (repeat)
VS 2: Don’t let him in to build you up,
to dazzle you with the prideful cup,
and welcome your screams of “NOT ENOUGH” freedom.
[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]His coffers of earthly dividends[/clickandtweet],
Seems like a strange day to consider a man’s freedom and life, but any day is the right day to stand and sing for justice. Today is the day to celebrate life!
It always amazes me how we applaud those who steal life away, simply by saying their name. We glorify murder by telling their stories in cheap recreations and call it entertainment. We are pulled by our death (sin) nature into more death. We perpetuate violence by normalizing it in our culture.
Today let us make a concentrated effort to celebrate life, and mention names of people who were victims, but the true heroes of our time.
Today I want to remember Mr. Bigley. I never knew him, but our family, along with many others around the world, prayed for his release and safety. Sadly He was killed in 2004, and the world mourned together.
Part of my prayer time on behalf of Mr. Bigley, found me writing a song. Songwriting for me is a process of seeking for God’s truth in all circumstances. My children and I sang Mr. Bigley’s song one November morning, on our radio station in small town Olds, Alberta. We wanted to celebrate life and remember him.
I think of Matthew 10:28, where we are reminded not to be afraid of those who can kill the body, but cannot kill the soul.
As I write about Mr. Bigley, I am reminded of a journalist we prayed for back in 2002 – Daniel Pearl. His widow Mariane Pearl wrote the memoir “A Mighty Heart” which was later made into a movie by the same name. An award winning documentary is also available for viewing, as well as a published book by family, which records the world’s response to Daniel’s death. Something I would like to participate in the future is “Daniel Pearl’s World Music Days”. You can read more about it at this link: Daniel Pearl World Music Days
Recently one of my daughter’s asked me to send her Mr. Bigley’s song, and I would like to share it with you as well. Today is [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]a good day to celebrate life, to stand and sing for justice.[/clickandtweet]
Recently I had the privilege of listening to Shane Idleman online, a Pastor from Westside Christian Fellowship in California. I had been digging around in the wee hours of the morning looking for devotional material, and found several of his sermons, one of which is called “Save Me From Myself”.
This particular sermon reminded me of a song I wrote a long time ago, entitled “I’m the Unfaithful.”This song has never made it onto an album, but remains to be one of my all time favourites.
“I’m the Unfaithful”
When the silence shouts inside I know I’m overdue, for a cup of water and a living word from you. [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Oh but just for once you’d think I could remember who it was to save me from myself.[/clickandtweet]
When the wind blows through my soul I know it’s you I miss. No one else could ever hope to make sense of all of this. Oh but just for once you’d think I’d meet you halfway, but you’re always first in line for me.
I’m the unfaithful, eternally grateful child you died to see. Who seldom remembers how to surrender and give you all of me….
She was seventeen when she died. My husband and I had babysat Sarah, and her two sisters when they were in elementary school. They moved away and we tried to keep in touch, but the distance didn’t change our adoration for them and their parents.
Time passed and we heard our friends were divorcing. One January, Mom and the girls took a trip skiing. On their way home there was a terrible accident and Sarah left our presence forever.
I remember when I got the phone call. I walked to the refrigerator and stared at their picture, until the weight of it all buckled my knees beneath me, and I slumped to the floor.
Soon after I was driving my children home from an errand and mumbling under my breath to God, about the accident. I was angry, and stopped at an intersection to wipe my tears.
“Are you sure you’re not just up there playing some game” I asked God.
“There probably isn’t even a heaven, we’re just pawns, expendable” I spewed.
In that same instant I looked in the rear view mirror as if the Holy Spirit had prompted me to do so. There was my youngest’s blue eyes blinking back at me. She looked like a porcelain doll. In the backseat my two oldest children, equally as wonderful, were playing.
[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]”If I can give you these children, I can make a heaven”[/clickandtweet] I heard God whisper to my heart.
VERSE 1: Is there a place called heaven, when darkness comes to call? Do we just believe in heaven, when everything is going well? I asked the God of my salvation, and he answered me. Heaven is a place found in a child’s face, look and you will see…..
CHORUS: [clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]Heaven can be found woven in a newborn’s hair, you’ll find it there. [/clickandtweet]Heaven can be seen deep within their trusting eyes, oh how they shine. Sweeter than a kiss from their gentle lips, and softer than their skin bare upon your breast. Well, if he can give us this, if he can give us this…. I know heaven exists. Heaven is a place found in a child’s face, think on this.
VERSE 2: Losing everything can shake us, strip our very faith to bone. Eternity seems all but made up when love is lost and you’re alone. I asked the God of my salvation to show himself to me. And in a child’s face he revealed a place, where we will one day be free.
CHORUS: Heaven can be found woven in a newborn’s hair, you’ll find it there. Heaven can be seen deep within their trusting eyes, oh how they shine. Sweeter than a kiss from their gentle lips, and softer than their skin bare upon your breast. Well, if he can give us this, if he can give us this I know heaven exists. Heaven is a place found in a child’s face, think of it.
(we had to lose a family friend back in 1994, for me to see heaven, full story posted tomorrow)
As I have mentioned in a previous post, every song is a story. A story includes a plot, characters, a climax, as well as ending, A song has a similar structure. We’ve talked about how the first verse should invite the listener in. The end of the first verse builds to the chorus, which is a recurring theme, but not the climax. The second verse tells more of the story, and gives way to a bridge in most cases. Some songs do not contain a bridge. Bridges are the norm in popular music, especially those that receive airplay on the radio.
Today I’d like to talk about the verse structure, or pattern.
In the song “Home of Grace”, the first two lines of verse one are:
No one’s sure what’s in store as we journey, how our choices shape our future and our hearts.
The second verse’s first two lines mirror the same sentiment, but clarifies it further:
If you could see up ahead around the corner, you might fail to find the courage to be brave.
The first verse, part b:
And it could be you, and it could be me, who learns to build a home of grace.
The second verse, part b:
But He sees you, and He sees me, and wants to build a home of grace.
It is interesting to note that the first verse in a song introduces an idea, and the second verse reaffirms it.
[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]The last line of a verse should always be a powerful segue to the chorus.[/clickandtweet] Ideally, both verses should end similarly, and sometimes with the “hook”.
In this case “home of grace”.
We can talk about the chorus tomorrow, or a later date, and discuss just what a home of grace is all about.
It may be strange to talk about the melody before I pick apart the lyrics, but for me the melody is one of the most important elements of a song. Just as the Holy Spirit is power to our prayer, a melody is power to the song. A melody brings the song alive.
When I attended RDC’s music program, my favourite class was melody writing. I discovered I was born a writer, and the melodies have been sitting there waiting for me to pick like a daisy from a field, but the class helped me understand why the melodies were strong.
Select songwriters write their lyrics first and then write a melody to them. Others may write the lyrics and have someone else write a melody. A friend of mine, Bill Scarrott, writes incredible poetry. I have to say trying to write a melody to his words is difficult, and this is why. I have always written the melody and the words at the same time. I think this method is also proof that prayer is involved.
I want to continue to try and write melodies for other’s words, but for now I’ll talk about the melody in the “Home of Grace.”
When you take melody writing in school, you talk about the structure and then proceed to put your knowledge into practice. With me, I write first and then pick it apart, just for the sake of learning, and sharing this process with others.
[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]For example; “Home of Grace” begins very conversationally, so the melody has got to be in a “conversation” range.[/clickandtweet] When people talk, their voices are not jumping all over the map, so large intervals for the story melody will not work.
Adoption is a very sacred topic. The conversational melody is gentle and rocks back and forth in a calming motion. I have included a picture to the right. Try and look just at the lyric melody line, and not the accompaniment.
In my opinion, a good song begins with an invitation. Keeping that in mind, use the same melody for at least two lines, before you build the next block. A verse is usually made up of four lines. The first two should invite, the second two should usher you to the chorus.
For example; the second line in “Home of Grace” is very similar to the first, with one or two differences to maintain interest, and build the story. Instead of starting on the very same note in the second line, the melody slightly higher. I also noted that the second line is a melodic answer to the first. Many times a question, and answer melody is great for verse format.
Before I bore you to tears, I would suggest you shape the melody of the last part of your verse as a precursor to the chorus. It is still conversational, but invites you further in and ends on a note which paves the way for the main event – the melody of the chorus. This is the melody that is going to stream through your head all day, for weeks, if you write a powerful one.