Musical Notes

…hee hee, that means two things!

I’m referring specifically to ‘Taking Notes,’ like you do in school, but…you know…it’s different when it’s not in school.  Not a teacher saying something and you writing it down, but instead…your brain saying something…and you desperately ‘recording’ it somewhere…somehow…

…so you don’t forget it!

I have a hard time with ‘musical notes.’  I’m horrible with lyrics (I have NO skill writing a good lyric) but when one comes to mind that doesn’t make me puke in my mouth a bit, I try to get it down.  On anything.  A scrap, a business card…I once scraped the first word with my nail into my arm so I’d leave a little red reminder.

…I can’t remember what lyric that was.  I guess the system isn’t that great.

Lyrics aren’t a problem to document anymore.  Most people have a cell phone that at the very least lets you text yourself the lyrics so they’re down and safe.  ‘Normal’ people keep a notebook on them at all times.  I like notebooks, though I’m bad at the whole ‘Going back through what I wrote‘ thing.

What about melodies?  The ‘song.’  Any songwriter or musician has experienced the pain of having a song pass through their head and thinking “It’s so good, there’s NO way I’ll forget it!”

…and it’s gone within the hour.

I used to guestimate key, and even draw lines, like a line graph, to represent the flow of the melody.  It actually worked!  When I’d get home I could figure out what I had heard, and record it on tape.

…I mean on my L33T COMPUTOR!  Yes…I’m super young and fresh!  I’ve never recorded on tape!

That’s a painful way to do things though.  I highly suggest the following:

  • Pick up a cheap-ass digital recorder…you can get them for as little as $50 and if it’s only to grab songs snippets then it’s worth it
  • Have a smart phone? Try Evernote!  You can take snapshots, text notes, AND voice notes and accessthem from your phone, a website, or even an app for your computer!  I use it tosing ideas, and also jot lyrics in the same note. And yes, I’m being whorish…this is my favourite app.  Evar.
  • Also for smart phone you can use an internal voice memo, a recording program (I used Voxie before Evernote)
  • No smart phone?  Leave yourself a voice message if it’s really important…call your line, leave a message with the song!
With technology getting smaller, integrated and cheaper think about ways you can use it to help your creative life.  I used to think of technology as something that interferes, is ‘inorganic.’  But really, if it saves a great song from the mental eraser…it’s organic to me!

Do you have any interesting ways you take note of song snippets, riffs, lyrics or melodies?  What are they?

Oh…and for you thinking “Roo, you dog (??), you probably aren’t that bad at writing songs!”
Exhibit A.  I say no more.
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