196. Faith (George Michael Cover – ROUGH)

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND NINETY-SIX

I have been compiling a large list of songs that I would like a huge UN-sanctioned choir to cover some day.  I really think it could potentially unite us all as one world and bring peace to the land.  This list includes, but is not limited to:

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly (An example for you has already been done, actually. Click the link to hear.)

Faith by George Michael

Jammin’ by Bob Marley

Losing My Religion by REM

Pearl and the Beard has been writing songs up in Connecticut, and sadly, we are leaving today.  We’ve been working hard to create some songs we’re happy with but at a certain point in the process it makes you crazy, and you get a bit desperate.  Yesterday, we were to this point and just started singing this song.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a better version, but there’s something special about this craziness, although we might be the only people who will think this.  I ran to the computer to record it as we were starting but missed the first few seconds.  I might try to get us to do this better and repost when we have some time.  You just have to have a little…

Faith by George Michael (First Rough)

(I want you to know that I absolutely love the original of this song.  I remember when it came out: I totally wore my record out!)

Well I guess it would be nice
If I could touch your body
I know not everybody
Has got a body like you

But I’ve got to think twice
Before I give my heart away
And I know all the games you play
Because I play them too

Oh but I
Need some time off from that emotion
Time to pick my heart up off the floor
And when that love comes down
Without devotion
Well it takes a strong man baby
But I’m showing you the door

‘Cause I gotta have faith…

Baby
I know you’re asking me to stay
Say please, please, please, don’t go away
You say I’m giving you the blues
Maybe
You mean every word you say
Can’t help but think of yesterday
And another who tied me down to loverboy rules

Before this river
Becomes an ocean
Before you throw my heart back on the floor
Oh baby I reconsider
My foolish notion
Well I need someone to hold me
But I’ll wait for something more

Yes I’ve gotta have faith…

195. One of Three

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND NINETY-FIVE

Good Morning!  Pearl and the Beard is up in Connecticut writing, writing, and writing.  Right now I am sitting by a  lake (very close to a small road, however, as you will hear in the recording).  This is a song for yesterday.  We were up until about 12 am working on a new song, energy levels waning and brain fried, I attempted to record this last night and failed miserably.

There are some good ideas here, and this is a good draft record of the idea.  I will revisit the lyrics and the structure, as it’s a bit loose and indecisive.  I had a bunch of people I referenced for melody ideas as I was writing this song, which was helpful for the general movement of the piece.

I wrote the lyrics while Pearl and the Beard was on tour last month and cut and shifted things around for this installment.  It’s basically about the stupid and wonderful things people decide to do, how they change us, and how to not regret the outcome.

I’ve been working on swimming like mermaid (among other things), and it’s going pretty well.

One Of Three


I am one, one of three
A service of noise come up from the root
Broken our covenant over your crown
With fire in my throat
Go back, go back and do it again
I am one, one of three
Four for the sentiments that you have given
Kiss white my hands, deep into the night
Awake now with you, with you on my mind
Go back, go back and do it again
I am one, one of three
She will ink my name into flesh and bone
And when, when she is gone, give forth my name to her first son
Go back, go back and do it again
Fashion from garments a head for a crown
Comes from your throat, a beautiful tongue
Meet in the middle, we’ll stand skin to stone
Go back, go back to do it again
I am one, one of three
Meet in the middle, remove all our shoes
Forget them when we leave
But we will stand
But we will stand
And do it again
I am one, one of three

194. Daddy Says

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY-FOUR

Mission: Write a song in as long as it takes Jonathan to take Lacey outside to pee before I fall asleep at the computer.

Lyrics: Written in 5-7 minutes

Recording: Less than 10 minutes (this includes deciding on how to sing it – the arrangement)

Phew!  Done! And just in the nick of time!  Spent a lovely day with Pearl and the Beard after a fantastic show at The Wassaic Project Music Festival: great people, fantastic bands and great weather (not to mention a night of camping!).  I would recommend listening to:

She Keeps Bees: If Janis Joplin and Trent Reznor had a really attractive kid and gave it to The White Stripes to raise.

Annie and the Beekeepers: Really beautiful folk with cello, bass and guitar. Sweet and soft.

Spirit Family Reunion: Harmonies! Guitar! Banjo!

The Luyas (from Montreal): Kind of a like an inexplicable version of Innocence Mission on crack.  Crazy live light show and instruments I’ve never even heard of before.

Daddy Says

Your daddy says that I’ve done wrong, that you’ve been hurt, that’s why you’re gone.
Your daddy said get out of town, to not come back, not make a sound.
But you’re my girl
I can’t let you go
But you’re my world
Please say it ain’t so
Your daddy said you’ve come and gone, that I’m no good, so here’s a song
Your daddy said he’d do me in, with one last shot my head will spin
But you’re my girl
I can’t let you go
But you’re my world
Please say it ain’t so

193. Neverfound (Jim Altieri)

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND NINETY-THREE

Jim Altieri at The Bell House

This is a collaboration!  Jim Altieri is a good friend of mine, a fantastic composer, violinist, accordionist, guitarist, and all around hilarious conversationalist (of additional note: this guy is probably the most dependable guy I know outside of my own house.)  You can hear is compositions here – http://tweeg.net

Jim can do a million different kinds of musics: silly songs, sad songs, serious songs, atonal pieces, tonal pieces…the sky is the limit with Jim, and he’s a very selfless musician, which can be hard to find nowadays.

I went to his house and found that Jim had just obtained some very nice, new mics, so I was lucky enough to get to break these in with a collaboration for the 365!  The first thing we did was do some free-improvisation.  (It’s very freeing and I would suggest it to anyone.)  After some walnuts, Jim decided we should:

1. Lay down an accordion drone

2. Stack cello and violin on top, a few tracks of each

3. Put vocals on top.

The only rules: we could only do one take of each.  I like the danger behind knowing you can’t take things back once you’ve done them.  Mistakes don’t really exist in this realm for me because everything is just a part of the music and you use those things for good, not bad!

The lyrics: Next to Jim’s bed is his dream journal (which he doesn’t write in anymore).  We opened it up and found a dream he had written about and used what he had written as our lyrics!  The words we used are almost word-for-word from this book though we cut and changed a few lines and moved things around to keep the flow.

My one observation: In improvisational mode, I’m noticing that I use a particular interval in my vocals.  I think I could go back to other songs I’ve done improvised vocals for and pick it out.  What’s that from, I wonder?

In any case, we finished up and Jim did a really quick mix and sent it my way.  He has such a great musical imagination: I hope you enjoy!

Neverfound

By myself at night
Remote control cars on the sidewalk
Bare feet keep me from food I want to eat
Karen left me gifts and surprises
Band-aid folded up in bed
Note on inside of my blanket
“By honey, have fun.”
Tapes a book to the ceiling
I would never find

192. Friday Was The 13th

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND NINETY-TWO

AHHHHHHHHH!  (This is me screaming.)

What?  Song?  What? Oh, there’s supposed to be a song here?  What?  Oh… this is a daily blog?   I get it!  Well, then, I’ll post DAILY, shall I!?

Geez.  The only thing that’s coming between me and posting is a frontal lobotomy.  I was going to come up with some awesome reason why I have a bunch of songs in the posting cue, but none of them up.  I can only give you one:

This is not a picture of my actual car, but this is EXACTLY what my car looks like. Prrrr....

I have purchased (and sold) my very first car(s).  Sold: 1998 Subaru Outback Impreza. Purchased: 1987 Volvo 240 DL Wagon.  In doing this, I have become OBSESSED with fixing this car.  It’s like an Volvo elf crawled into my ear, ate out my brain, got all fat and lethargic, and said, “That’s right.  I’ve moved in.”  I would sit down to do it and my fingers would type in, “Volvo 240 DL tie rod repair”.  WHAT!?  I mean, really.  WHAT?!

According to Jocelyn, it must be nearing Mercury Retrograde, but I’m not so sure.  I think I’m just going crazy.  Well, if you can’t depend on a song being here when I say it’s going to be here… on what, my friend, can you depend?  (Quite a bit, actually, but we’ll stop this right here.)

Violence, creepiness, blood, body parts, SCREAMING! All of this in the song today, done in 1.5 takes with 2 hours prep time last night.  I was digging into my childhood to pull out the screaming: I loved Fruma Sarah from Fiddler on the Roof: so weird, and, at the time I thought, “What’s with all the screaming, lady!?”  (I have a sweet bell one and another trio coming up, so don’t give up my brothers and sisters.)  After all…

Friday Was The 13th


It’s the softer side of life that you want from me, you want from me, you’ll want from me
I will take you into my arms and splatter you onto the walls.
Make a pretty, pretty picture, yes indeed
I’ll say a chant and use your name, you’ll be so glad you stayed, you’ll never leave.
Now just you follow me, yes, follow me right here, don’t be shy, don’t be scared
I’ve built a tribute to each part upon my wall, each corner filled, limbs to eye balls
Won’t it be a nice surprise to have holes instead of eyes
We must not forget to think,  lest we dare to spill our drink and lose our minds
Grab the camera the light right here’s so fine, you don’t have yours? Please, borrow mine
Make sure you get me in the shot with my good side, yes I’ve only one, oh you’re too kind,
Can you stand right on that cross, oh, yes that’s the perfect spot
Stand very still, stand so very still….
Now just you follow me, yes, follow me right here, don’t be shy, don’t be scared
I’ve built a tribute to each part upon my wall, each corner filled, limbs to eye balls
Won’t it be a nice surprise to have holes instead of eyes
We must not forget to think,  lest we dare to spill our drink and lose our minds

191. I Was Born (sketch)

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND NINETY-ONE

ULTIMATE!!! ULTIMATE!!!

This is an idea I had for something I’m working on.  (I will tell you more about this at a later date.  Until then, that’s all you’re getting.  Yippy!).  I’m trying different instrumentation to see what instruments I feel best capture what I think is happening in my mind.  So, in light of the 365, I’m posting the first and immediate lines that came to me.  This is done in one take with very little planning.  I knew I wanted a stillness in the beginning and more movement in the middle, and I had come up with a very simple progression I liked early on.  As this is only for instrumentation reference, I’m ignoring the haphazard of the part.

My first inclination is that, due to the nature of what this is intended for, this is a little too… hmmmm…?  It’s supposed to be creating a melancholy and thoughtfulness…a feeling that you know you are living in one place but you really want to be in another.  I think this is just Yanni on bells (ahhh!  Noooo!)… not quite what I’m looking for, but it’s going in the right direction.

I will keep working on this.  Exciting!

Hope you are doing so well!

I Was Born

190. In The Woodshed

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND NINETY

Ha ha! I love you Google Image!

Now, I’m not saying that any of these 365 songs are completed, but, today, this song isn’t even close to finished (by saying that I mean: there really aren’t any words down on paper or a form or any changes, really).  I have posted incomplete songs before, but have yet to revisit them.  However, I think this song has some potential to become something interesting.  I like the uke part, but it needs a chorus, a bridge, etc., to really flesh it out.  I’m hearing some really dark and beautiful chord changes that color it up.  I’m posting it in this youthful form, having only improvised lyrics and form, as I am out the door.  Sometimes these moments of rush can really open up doors for possible gems.  We’ll see (hopefully soon) if this ends up in that camp.

May your weekend be as fruitful as your local produce section.  I sure do like you.

In The Woodshed

189. Bring A Man To His Knees

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-NINE

That's right. I found a picture of Freddie Mercury kneeling.

I have nothing intelligent or witty to say about today’s song… other than I heard a Fresh Air interview this morning with Queen guitarist Brian May who said they recorded the claps to “We Will Rock You” using a bunch of different distances from the mic.

Oh, yeah, and I want to be Karen O

Man, I love you.

Bring A Man To His Knees

188. I’m Going Down To the River

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-EIGHT

Watauga River

I thought I would try this idea today.  This song came from the first few days of tour and is actually the song I intended to work on yesterday.  I woke up early one morning and worked on this song while in Columbus, Ohio.  I was half way through when Jeremy woke up and gave me some ideas about Moses floating down the river.  The vision in my mind was oddly clear to me: a man walking with his dead son in his arms to bury him in the river.  When it came down to recording it, Jeremy and I actually did a rough recording of it that morning, and, his voice being so nice, it sounded awesome, but we never did a final for it.  So, for the song today, I just did one take each of three parts, each of them joining the walk to the river.  Because it’s basically a tragic funeral procession, beats and vocals aren’t lined up on purpose thinking that this funeral song would be more improvised by the father anyway, and, grief-stricken, he wouldn’t care about cleanliness, timing or intonation.

My choice to add a distorted amplification effect was made mainly to aid in the  recording process: it’s easy to get distracted by the voice whilst recording and focus on the wrong things.  The effect helped me clean my ear and focus only on the emotion rather than critique the little things.  I kept it in.

Hope you’re doing well!

P.S.  Ray Charles has an incredible song called “I’m Going Down to the River”.  The first line is “I’m going down to the river to drown myself.”  Now that’s an opener.

I’m Going Down To The River

I’m goin’ down to the river
Gonna bury my son
I’m goin’ down to river
My Lord, he’s comin’ on
Oh, he’s down in the river
He’s down, goin’ down
He’s down in the river
He’s down, oh, he’s down
My life for my boy
My life for you gone
My life for you, my boy
Too soon, too soon, my son
Like Moses you will find him
Like Moses, Lord you will
Like Moses you will find him
Like Moses, Lord you will
I’m goin’ down to the river
Gonna bury my son
I’m goin’ down to river
My Lord, he’s comin’ on

187. That Boy (A Study on Truth)

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SEVEN

This is a study on TRUTH.

Which one is that boy? Company E, 4th US African-American Infantry. Shown armed with rifles at Fort Lincoln. (I obviously love these Civil War photographs as I've used quite a few for the 365 gallery. I love wondering who they were and looking into their faces.)

 

The idea came to me sometime last week, and I wrote out the lyrics really quickly and set it aside and worked on something else.  I started the background vocals, intending to use them for something totally different.  My initial idea for the melody and genre of this song was totally different, happier, and cheekier.  It was not at all intended for this genre, but I really like the end product.

So, let’s talk about TRUTH in relation to two people.  The easiest and most universal ways to communicate the idea of truth is with love or lust.  The basic idea in my mind was to paint a picture of a girl/woman exclaiming that she has a boy coming for her, calling out her name, thinking of only her.  My thought was ,”Well, how do we, the listener, know that that’s true?  What if he isn’t thinking about her at all.  Sure, maybe they met once, had a nice conversation, but now he’s just out working or fighting in the Civil War or rolling a cigarette complaining about the papers he’s bought?”  I find this kind of social relationship so fascinating.  I know it’s happened to me.  I was so certain, so sure of myself, that the emotions and actions of the other person were exactly as I said they were.  But what is the truth?  What is the reality?

That’s the irony for me, personally: between two people, there are many truths, many realities, and they all apply.  He is or isn’t thinking of her.  He does or doesn’t want her.  She might even be lying to us or falsely believes he’s preoccupied with thoughts of only her.  Is she on her deathbed (Lay me down backwards – as opposed to being buried facing East, face her West if he doesn’t come find her, and, if he does, he’ll be devastated to find her gone)?  Or is she just being cheeky with us and using strong sexual innuendo throughout her song to communicate something totally different?  Is someone being taken for a fool here?  Is it who we think it is?  Is it her?  Is it him?  Is it us?

It’s totally fascinating to me.

Recording: I sketched the 4 vocal chorus parts with a drum, but decided to leave the drum out as it was causing more problems that what it was worth, and I re-recorded them.  Initially, I meant these choral parts to go under a song about going down to a river, a song I worked one while on tour.  Surprisingly, these lyrics ended up in its place, and I’m much happier about it.

For the lead vocal, I turned up the sensitivity very, very high and sang very quietly into the mic.  I love the little things it picked up.  I loved the color so much that, even though Lacey breathed loudly towards the end, I kept it in.

Today, I am going to see about a rusty car I am considering purchasing with the fake money I have that grows on the fake Money Trees in Central Park out here in New York.  Chances are it might fall apart in the test drive.  We’ll see.

Hope your truths are keeping you at the edge of your seat today… have a cold one on me…

See you tomorrow!

That Boy

That boy, he’s comin’
That boy, that boy
That boy, he’s comin’
He’s comin’ for me
Bringing my bracelets of hair bound carefully
Lay me down backwards
He’ll come screaming
Just you wait
Just you wait
Just you wait
Just you wait and see
There’s a boy
And he’s thinkin’ ’bout me
He calls out my name
That boy, that boy, for me
He’s comin’, he’s comin’
He calls out my name
Oh, that boy, that boy
Oh he’ll never be the same
That boy’s comin’
That boy is comin’ for me
Lay me down
He’ll come, come screaming

186. West Coast (I AM BACK!)

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SIX

HELLO, 365!

Phew!  This is the longest recovery time I’ve had to take after a tour… ever!  (What am I saying, I don’t remember ever having to take recovery time. Bah!)  But, here I am!  And the 365 continues on!

Hello, dear friend!  I have missed you, and I apologize for being away for so long!  Let us not mourn lost time!

Lots of things have happened, but I am here now!  When I started the 365, I swore to myself nothing would get in my way… and it worked for a long time, but I went on a tour that made posting impossible, and I fell behind.  I am here to tell you that there are some awesome things in store, and, admittedly, I really needed that sabbatical, so I hope you are still here BECAUSE I AM STILL HERE!  Let’s get going!

Today’s installment didn’t meet my expectations and gave me some big problems, but as a draft it’s ended up in an interesting place.  I had a totally different vision for this song when I started it.  I used several Garageband samples as a guide.  The most helpful aspect of this song was how I constructed it.  I had general outline of the song and its melody on paper and then built the percussion and beats around the skeleton of the song, using scratch vocals first, building the string parts and then doing final vocals.  Sound familiar?  Yeah.  That’s how it’s usually done in the real world.  I haven’t been using that technique to do most of the 365, so I enjoyed myself.

The main thing I would do differently is finalize the tempo BEFORE I try to change it within Garageband.  I have changed the tempo post recording before and haven’t minded the weird distortion it creates, but this time, it bugs me, but oh well!  The ending was totally different, and I had huge visions for it, but I had such a hard time managing it that I just cut it.

As far as the lyrics go:

These are various scenes which have occurred in real life (Note: the line: the Iron Door of the North Plain refers to the legend of The Iron Door from Malad, Idaho).  The idea was about someone trying to locate a person who is of great worth to them but is always constantly one or two steps behind.  I can identify a few events as directly happening to me sometime in the past, and there are a few sections that call out to a specific person.  So, we’ll see if they can hear me! (I’m winking through my words to you…)

I saw Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Sharon Van Etten and tUnE-yArDs last night at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn.  It was such an awesome show.  I wrote an email to a friend afterwards describing the show, and I wanted to post a tiny bit of it here for you to read:

A friend of mine in grad school was getting his bachelor’s degree in industrial design.  Late one night, he drew a graph on a napkin outlining zones of the following: boring, exciting, and scary.  He argued that boring is where all appliances and household gadgets fall.  They are comfortable, affordable, ergonomic.  His preference was to create tools that bordered excitement and scary, never tipping over into scary completely, but allowing the user to feel the intensity of nearly reaching that limit.  He believed people experienced more and learned more in this more “dangerous” zone.

This is how I want to create music.  This is brave to me.  I want to be brave.  Let’s be brave.

West Coast

(headphones are recommended)

Did you know she burned your name into the sand on the West Coast?
There a tide, it took your shape deep underwater like a fine ghost
Did it feel like you’d survive; lungs both taking in their last hope
Sick are seas and martyrs made such easy prey with their own rope.
Soon, brother, soon
In a mount she hid her heart, the Iron Door of the North Plain
For a thousand years or more with rusted key, did you search in vain
Constant companion: horse of black and red with its sick brain
Ride until it died you did but seek her still again again again
Soon, brother, soon
From a window, does it seem to sound out?
Beat the glass in as if she could hear you
Only distant wind she hears and sleeps again
From where you are, is it like it sounds?
Can you feel the earth, it shakes again as it hears you
She will not, but lose her mind, oh what a strain just to undo
This cause of flux and shift when bodies ache as they come to
Your mind, the author, seals a kiss on lips as an adieu, adieu

Hold On! Songs are a comin’!

Dear 365 Friend,

Well, here we are on our tour, and I have yet to find the opportunity to record… but will soon!  I have been writing and writing and thinking and learning (pictures to come soon as well!).

Until then, you can keep up with us at www.pearlandthebeard.com!  We are  posting videos of our tour!

Sorry for the delay… but I’ll be back asap!

Sincerely,

EHP

Pittsburgh in the Summer (Pearl and the Beard ON TOUR)

Waiting to play in West Philadelphia... it brings out the best. Funny enough, the song for the day came quite shortly afterwards...hmmm

Well, here we are on our second day of tour.  We will be in Pittsburgh: old haunts!  Seeing as it’s 10 am, and we’re in Philly at the moment, we need to get on the road, but I will have some down time (and hopefully internet!) to post the song for yesterday that I wrote and catch up for today’s song as well!

We are playing at the Smiling Moose in Pittsburgh tonight and then head off to Cleveland on Monday… TOUR!

You can keep caught up on our tour shenanigans at www.pearlandthebeard.com.  We’re doing a short video each day to document the day’s travels.

Okay: on the road we must get, but will be posting soon!

EHP

185. Ode to A Tandem Bicycle

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE

This is Karen Poleshuck and her dad. This is the freakin' awesomest picture. Is this 1984? Or Williamsburgh 2010?

Today, Karen Poleshuck, the co-writer of this song, has written about this song (see below!). I met Karen at SUNY Purchase a few years ago, and since then I’ve seen her go through roommates, occupations, hamsters, and finally settling on a really cute dog.

Karen is the Executive Director of Academic Music Seminars, and they are holding several Saturday brunch-time benefit concerts in July.  I will be performing on July 31st in support of this great non-profit.  About AMS:

Founded in 2008 by musician and educator Karen Poleshuck, we are passionately committed to the belief that music can be a transformative power in children’s lives, both in improving their education and test scores, and in helping them gain a greater appreciation of artistry and creative expression.  It is our goal to offer expanded educational opportunities that does both of these things to schools throughout Northern Manhattan.

At the show on July 31st, I will be playing a bunch of my songs, but also playing this song that Karen and I wrote.  There will be kids there and homemade maracas (that the kids will make themselves), so Karen and I wanted to write a song that would encompass an important educational tool: literacy.  We decided to compose an ode.  (Karen will talk a little bit more about why we chose a tandem bicycle).

Here we go!
But you know what this song needs?   A little celloness… oh, and a full brass band, but you get the idea…

Ode to a Tandem Bicycle


I ride my bike around the town
I ride my bike without a frown
I ride my bike all day you see
Except the days when you’re with me
We ride our
Tandem bike!
Just the two of us
Tandem bike!
We don’t take the bus
It’s a treat, you’ll see
Cause when we ride our bike
It’s just you and me
The wind in our face
We leave the world behind
I’ll pedal fast
You pedal fast
We pedal fast
With one bike for two
One direction we must choose
I’ll pedal fast
You pedal fast
We pedal fast
I’ll pedal fast
You pedal fast
We pedal fast
I’ll pedal fast
You pedal fast
We pedal fast on our…
Tandem bike!
Just the two of us
Tandem bike!
We don’t take the bus
It’s a treat, you’ll see
Cause when we ride our bike
It’s just you and me

A Note from Karen

It looks like I’m about 4 or 5 in this picture, so it was probably closer to 1987-88. Although, I suppose it’s cool that this is your 184th song, so feel free to leave it up as is 🙂

I know that I’m not alone when I say that I fell in love with Emily Hope Price the very moment I first heard her play. I’m honored to share today’s entry with her and I hope that you continue to follow her on this incredible journey she’s taking. Emily and I became close friends right around the time she started doing her first open mic shows in NYC and I was first conceptualizing Academic Music Seminars. We both have come very far with these endeavors in the last few years and I know that for me at least, it is in large part due to her incredible friendship and endless support. When she first told me of her plans for this blog I was thrilled about the possible collaboration opportunities to come because of the seamless connections to be made with Academic Music Seminars. To me, my favorite part of this blog is not just hearing her fantastic music (I get to see her live all the time), it’s the way she gives us a peek into her process. Why did she choose a particular word or how did she come up with a concept for a song? Everything is laid out for you to read.

Today we discussed many options for a song. The main goal was to have it coincide with the AMS curriculum for somewhat of a shameless plug. The mission of Academic Music Seminars is to provide a high quality interdisciplinary music education program that builds literacy, math, science and history skills through the exploration of art, movement and music to the underserved public elementary school students of Northern Manhattan. One idea we played with was to talk about recycling and how it’s a useful tool in music as well. How many awesome covers have we heard Emily do over the year? It’s important to me that the connections are organic, and we just weren’t in the mood for it, so we moved to literacy pretty quickly. This is a very compressed version of a few lessons we would do in a classroom in which we would talk about what an Ode is, play our version, and have the kids write their own as well.

What is an Ode? According to Wikipedia, an ode is typically a lyrical verse written in praise of, or dedicated to someone or something which captures the poet’s interest or serves as an inspiration for the ode.

One of the most famous Odes is Ode to Joy, made famous by Ludwig van Beethoven. The melody is taught to beginners on almost every instrument, but it is rare that they are told what the melody is about. Ode To Joy (German: An die Freude) is an ode written in 1785 by the German poet, playwright and historian Friedrich Schiller, celebrating the ideal of unity and brotherhood of all mankind. (Translation of the full poem here: http://www.raptusassociation.org/ode1785.html). It is best known for its musical setting by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final movement of his Ninth Symphony (completed in 1824), a choral symphony for orchestra, four solo voices, and choir. The Beethoven setting is the official anthem of the European Union.

(Great clip that came up when I searched for Ode to Joy) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpcUxwpOQ_A

What do you think is worthy of an ode? We played with a few ideas, but we both felt that we needed to be equally in love with it if we were to write the song together. Our cellos were the first obvious choice, but I think we thought it would be a little too easy (and cheesy?). We both love our dogs, and swimming. We thought money was worthy of an ode, but didn’t want to get depressed with our lack of it. I don’t remember who first came up with biking, but it was the first thing that came up that we both love and were excited to write a song about. The bike didn’t become a tandem until after Emily sang through the whole intro, and I told her it was how I first learned how to ride a bike, as you can see in the picture above. We talked about why we love biking. Emily loves the speed, I love the feel of the wind in my face, we both love the escape of it. We really wanted to work into the song something silly about how we had to agree on where to go. I’m really happy with what we came up with, and I’m excited to play with the instrumentation for the upcoming concert.

Speaking of this upcoming concert, if you love Emily Hope Price, her show on July 31st at 11am at the Jumel Mansion is going to be a fantastic place to see her play outside of a bar setting. Like she said there will be activities for kids, but it will also be a fantastic time for adults as well. She’ll be playing some songs that we know well and a few songs from her 365 Project.  Bring a picnic blanket, food, drinks, dogs are welcome on leashes too! Check out our event page to see more details and find out about the two previous concerts at the same venue. Thanks for listening!