Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Songwriting Diagnostics

There are two things I've been doing a lot lately: Writing music and watching House reruns.

When I'm composing, I tend to get in this zone and write a lot of material in long spurts. I've never been able to successfully schedule too many writing sessions. Similarly, I've never been able to successfully watch a TV series. Something about committing every Tuesday night at 8 to the TV has never been appealing. Instead, my wife and I wait until it hits Netflix or some other network picks up the reruns and does a couple marathon sessions.

One thing I like about House is that every case is a puzzle. Sometimes the diagnosis is a rare disease, but often it's something fairly common presenting itself in an uncommon or unexpected way.

Sometimes when I'm writing music, I run into a problem. The song just isn't working right. Kind of like it's sick. Sometimes, the tune is just no good, but usually I'm just approaching it wrong.

House approaches each patient with a certain lack of trust. He assumes anything is possible.

That's a good way to approach a song. Don't trust convention. Don't assume the obvious harmonic or melodic solution, but don't rule it out just to be exciting. Follow your gut but use your head.

1 comment:

Alex Athans said...

Yes! Great post. It's funny that your approach to the act of music writing is essentially the same as mine. Sometimes convention can be a crutch, but other times a "stock" chord progression or resolution can fit the song perfectly. Likening it to a puzzle--medical or otherwise--is perfect. Sometimes I swear that the song is there, and all I'm doing is uncovering it.

I used to watch House quite a bit, actually. That character is such a jerk, but he cracks me up all the same.