Saturday, June 27, 2009

Preparation for 50 Songs In 90 Days

On July 4, 50 Songs in 90 Days begins. I already have some songs ready for it — they're incomplete, but they're trying to jump the gun on me. As a warmup, I'm writing two songs for the pre-50/90 "song in key of D minor that contains the word 'earth'" challenge. I'll link to the MP3s so my fellow "5090ers" can hear the results, and I'll also post the lyrics and the song links to the Yahoo 50/90 mailing list.

The history behind this: After NaNoWriMo '07 (when I started writing my novel Bad Company), I found out in a Chris Baty email about February Album Writing Month, or FAWM. I signed up, but did nothing last year in either FAWM or 50/90. I had the software, mostly in Linux (Audacity, LMMS, plus various others that came with Ubuntu Studio). I realized I couldn't use them. But by the time FAWM '09 came around, I found myself in possession of a Casio WK-200 keyboard and two guitars, one acoustic and one acoustic-electric. I downloaded the open source tablature editor TuxGuitar, the windows version of LMMS, and the digital audio workstation Reaper. I already had Audacity for Windows. In mid-February I started taking guitar lessons. And the proverbial dam broke: in FAWM, you win if you write 14 songs, but I wrote 38 and recorded 24 of them, leaving a whole FAWM's worth of songs unrecorded. It wasn't until last week that I realized what it did to me: before, I was what I called a "frustrated guitarist" with manic-depressive tendencies. It was when FAWM '09 unleashed my musical creativity that my depression disappeared. Completely. I no longer even have a tendency to get depressed. The "guitar therapy" worked! (I'll explain this further in a future entry.)

I have a whole bunch of half-finished songs prepared for this year's 50/90. Some of them are fragments I programmed in TuxGuitar; others are notations on scratch paper from idly strumming one of my guitars (I now also have an electric) and coming up with chord progressions I like. Some are lyrics without music; others are music without lyrics. Why such a backlog of songs? Mainly because I've been putting my primary focus between FAWM and 50/90 on learning and practicing the guitar. I write my songs fragments and put them aside so I can return to them during 50/90. I want to make sure I play all the guitar parts when I record those songs, though the solos will probably have to come later (I'm having problems learning scales, arpeggios, etc.).

Consider this the official announcement (outside the FAWMer/5090er community) of my intent to participate in 50/90.

Back to The Space Helmet Show...

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