Episode #169: Just About Enough (Song starts at 3:47)
Today was a wintery day. I went outside and there wasn’t even a ‘hint of a breeze’. That phrase appears in verse one of this episodes featured song. Then I heard a ‘muted bird call’. Those words are also in lyrics , so I thought hey, that’ll do for this week’s episode.
I wrote ‘Just ‘About Enough’ for my wife, as an anniversary present. This is song #585, which was written in 2012.
The scene that sets the mood for the song – and our relationship, as it turns out – was very peaceful: In the early stages of our relationship, in NZ, we snuck out for a very early morning dip in a hot pool. Bush and mist surrounded us, rabbits hopped by, quail pecked at the grass. There was a vague hint of a breeze and muted bird calls. Pretty peaceful, eh?
It’s nice to have a chance to reflect on memories like these as I record my podcast episodes. It’s like a weekly performance for me. I sit at my piano as I talk, demonstrating ideas on the keyboard and or singing, to illustrate what I’m talking about.
I have a released delivery. The plan is for it to be entertaining and informative. Thanks for all the great feedback, folks. Thanks for tuning in again this week.
If this is your first listen, thanks for tuning in, I hope you enjoy the song, the lyrics, the music, the chat about how the song came together, what inspired it. Memories come through as I talk, which I’m happy to share as well, so you get a real ‘behind the scenes’ sort of a ‘songwriter speaks’ kind of a presentation.
I hope you enjoy hearing about what is a love song I wrote for my wife – the great thing about a song is the listener can glean what they will and take ownership, to a degree. Music sure does trigger emotional reactions. It’s a great thing.
It’s a pleasure to be a composer. It’s also great to be sharing the songs and talking about them here.
Now, back to that opening line: I let my pen wander as I recalled memories of the years we’d spent together since that day – including starting a family and all that entails. Lots of joy and lots of work.
But with the lyrics, I kept steering it back to the story of a romance. 2 lives intertwined.
The music happened easily, as is often the case for me, for which I’m very grateful. Before I started playing, I thought I’d try and write a medium tempo flowing sort of a song. So I let my fingers play on the keys as if I was finger picking a guitar.
That gave me the momentum and away I went, improvising a melody over the changing chords.
Chords are like colours. Some are more related than others and become logical choices to string together. In theory terms, what makes them logical choices is that they are related chords, they all came from the scale of the song – literally the key: do re mi fa so la ti do….the chords , the melody, the bass notes are all from the scale…..
Here and there, I decided it would be a good idea to modulate briefly to another key, using a semi related chord. It catches the ear.
Was it a consciously ‘clever’ choice? Most of the time, my choice of chords is an instinctive thing. The theory Is underlying. The thing is, when you’ve done something often enough, a lot of the technical stuff comes through naturally.
And that’s what you want. Because then the music sounds like a natural flowing melody and arrangement.
This was a ‘words first, music second’ song. As I improvised the melody, I instinctively and quickly edited the words. I dropped words and syllables to make it fit the melody.
It’s a fun process. Again it happens quickly for me. I mention this not because it’s a ‘clever’ thing to do, it’s because I stay inspired as I write this way.
If I had to thrash away for days on a song I don’t think I would’ve written many at all. Because I’m a busy person, in the arts. I teach piano, paint seascapes, cartoons, record albums, make videos, blog my work and week..
You can read the lyrics to the featured song of each episode here on my weekly blog. www.petepascoe.bandcamp.com