Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Song Fu Challenge 1

I'm posting this retroactively because I haven't finished building my time machine yet. But as soon as I do, I'll go post this when it actually happened. I've written and recorded my first Song Fu entry, and voting has closed. I collected a whole 35 votes, placing me in 20th place (out of 30) -- which really isn't all that bad for some random hack who has no followers, who has never publicly presented a recording of their music, and who is pretty clueless about modern pop music.

The challenge was basically to write a song from the perspective of an inanimate object (with a bunch of additional restrictions). My first idea was to write about a pen (being mightier than the sword), but I realized I was thinking about the class of all pen objects through history, not a single instance of the pen class. I needed a single unique object -- a Singleton if you will -- and preferably something that had been around for a while (not sure why). So I went to one of the oldest and most unique objects I could think of -- the Great Pyramid.

As I wrote the song, I found the Pyramid was taking on a life of it's own. It didn't really want to be funny, instead, it wanted to impart some kind of wisdom. Only I wasn't sure exactly what, until just before the deadline. The last line of the second verse was originally recorded with different lyrics, and then after days of listening, I literally re-recorded that single line with the new lyrics mere hours before submission.

Even though this wasn't written as an overtly Christian song, I like the Biblical allusions here as well, about the shortness of human life, and the vanity of worldly treasures. But it may have been too deep for a fun songwriting contest. Or maybe I just didn't express the idea well enough. I'm not very good with lyrics yet.

This piece also decided that it wanted to be written in the D harmonic minor scale, which wasn't what I had expected to write at all. I do love the little sopranino recorder riffs that I was able to add though. Those were fun to play. I even almost got through the middle solo in one take. I also used two ukuleles (soprano and baritone), a synth bass, an egg shaker, and a tambourine.

Here's the mp3 (link to mediafire): Ancient Wonder.mp3

And here are the lyrics:

Ancient Wonder

(Intro with recorder solo to set atmosphere)

(Verse 1)
Many long millennia have not been very kind,
But my weathered structure is still perfectly aligned.
I watch in silence as the ages come and go,
And humans live and die below.

Some say I was made by slaves, who labored day by day.
Some say maybe space invaders came and paved the way.
And while I might reveal a little of my history,
That riddle's better left a mystery.

For here amid the shifting sands,
The Pyramid of Giza stands,
Unchanging, and watching over you.

(Insert mad recorder solo here!)

(Verse 2)
Come explore my passageways, what treasures lie inside?
A king who tried to never die, but now is mummified.
All his prized possessions -- his impressive stash of gold --
Were found and stolen long ago.

Your humans lives are far too short, at least compared to mine,
So why chase after things that don't endure the test of time?
You aren't defined by what you have, but rather what you do,
What treasures lie inside of you?

And here amid the shifting sands,
The Pyramid of Giza stands,
Unchanging, and watching over you.

(Outro, Fade out)

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