Thursday, 1 April 2010

Song book

Music has always been a huge part of my life. My family have been in bands almost continuously since my father was a teenager; two generations, hundreds of gigs, and thousands of people we have entertained with live music. I've been out of the scene for the past few years but am in the process of putting together another group and getting back out there. Well, to be honest, we made great plans a couple of years ago, have an excellent song list, but are still only about 2/3 ready. Watch this space.

Although I have been a keyboard player for most of my musical career, I'm planning to sing in my new band. I've always sang back-up vocals, which eventually turned to lead vocals as we looked to replace yet another female singer and realised that it would be cheaper and easier if I simply took over. After all, I would end up having to teach the new vocalist all of her parts, and dividing a band cheque between five people instead of six leaves a bigger share of the total. My argument that I was now taking two roles in the band (ie my pay should be doubled) fell on deaf ears.

Even though I can be the queen of clutter, my music has always been very well organised. I have spent countless hours honing songs, albums, and playlists on iTunes. My musical charts are filed and I have copies of lyrics to all songs we have played. The difference is, they're written out from scratch after listening to the song over and over. I believe this is the best way to learn songs and lyrics; it's is so easy (and tempting) to download lyrics online now ... and they're not always correct, either. It has taken me years to build up what resembles a song book of my own, and what began as a single Word document has ended up with a few hundred pages. Part of my 101 in 1001 list (#47: Digitally organise my song lyrics) has involved organising my assorted and collected lyrics and into a single, more manageable format.

I've ended up pasting my lyrics into alphabetical order and creating separate files for each letter of the alphabet within a 'master' folder. Rather than trying to manipulate a single file that is hundreds of pages long, this way I can quickly go to which letter the song begins with and find it within the file. I have created a single file (alphabetised) with all the lyrics for my next band collected together. It's not an ideal system (I'd like to do something in HTML where they hyperlink with each other), but it will do for now. I have also typed up some printed lyrics which I had written out in the days before Google (yes, that's how long I've been doing this) and had a chuckle at some interpretations I'd gleaned from listening to poor quality cassette tapes. I think I did quite well, back then ... considering.

Now, all I have to do is retrain my memory and block up some of the holes in the sieve so I can actually remember the lyrics while I'm singing ...

1 comment:

Sab said...

I'm not nearly that organized in the music side of things. I love to sing, and I want to learn to play guitar... I can play piano just a little... but my music list is all over the place. I hardly listen to anything but kids songs anymore.
Good luck with your band-to-be!