Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nashville - Capturing Songs

I decided to take advantage of some quiet time today and dip into the song-filled air of Nashville.

I sat in Tara's living room by a sunny window with my favourite songwriting tools - my pink MacBook, my pink Bible, and my Masterwriter.

A blank Masterwriter page, ready for a new lyric...

Masterwriter is our favourite lyric writing program. A new file opens for each song. From that page, you can visit several resources - rhyming and regular dictionaries, thesaurus, pop culture references, a full Bible - and collect words and phrases that might inspire your song.

In the silence, I transcribed a lyric I'd recorded last month on my iphone. As I wrote out the first verse and hummed the melody, the structure became clear, and I wrote a second verse and chorus. Next, I drifted through songs that are in my "close" category - lyrics that need a final polish or maybe a pass with a co-writer. Finally, I opened a new page, and thought about Palm Sunday. A first verse came, and then more verses that took the singer through the events of Holy Week. I wrote a full lyric, but it's a different theme than I first intended, which is always kind of fascinating.

I'm feeling more and more inspired to write these days. I often think of Brian Doerkson's term "writing for the gaps." In contemporary praise music, we don't have a lot of songs for liturgical moments or certain seasons of the church year. I want to write songs for these gaps.

It's been a funny trip. We haven't been able to get out and hear any music, but I feel like the music's been coming to us...

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