Chorus

Chorus: (n) the. part of a song that is repeated after each verse

I’m a songwriter. Let’s just leave it at that.

I grow weary of the sentences that follow proclamations, trying to convince the listener of the credibility and importance of the proclaimer.

Obviously, if I were a great songwriter you would know me. Even if I were a great songwriter who was under-promoted, you would probably be familiar with something I have written.

I write songs because they are the most gentle way to communicate a message to a hearer. There’s something about melody, harmony and even rhythm that brings down our defenses, opens our hearts and exposes our soul.

Even a good songwriter who may not be great will tell you that it’s all about the chorus. Some people refer to it as a “hook chorus”–the part of the song that’s easy to remember, using as few words as possible to communicate volumes of ideas.

Simple. Singable. Often rhyming. And dare I say, clever.

These are the attributes that go into a good chorus, which follows a heartfelt verse.

For the truth of the matter is, many people will never remember the narrative of a song, but the chorus will be hummed and regaled for years to come.

After all, the Beatles got by with:

“Na, na, na, na-na-na-na

Hey Jude…”

Certainly an economy of syllables, producing a monster of memories.

 

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Centerpiece

Centerpiece: (n) a display placed in the middle

The centerpiece of education: experience that promotes retention.

The centerpiece of human romance: a woman who really wants to have sex.

The centerpiece of faith: adventure.

The centerpiece of love: faithfulness.

The centerpiece of hope: introspection.

The centerpiece of America: a toss-up between “all men are created equal” and “liberty and justice for all.”

The centerpiece of music: a memorable melody.

The centerpiece of business: repetitive quality.

The centerpiece of humanity: good cheer.

The centerpiece of the Universe: controlled chaos.

The centerpiece of God: free will.

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Brag

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Brag: (n) a boastful statement

“If you don’t toot your own horn, it won’t get tooted.”

This statement is often said in public, and even though most of us are uncomfortable with the “brassiness” of it, we usually let it go by without contradiction.Dictionary B

Actually, I toot my horn so others will tell me how good it is. I require that confirmation.

Does this make me needy? It certainly makes me aware that my own sense of appreciation of my ability has limited quality to my soul.

It’s risky.

Since everybody is tooting their own horn, will they have time to stop and enjoy my melody?

Will I be left in obscurity?

Will I be ignored in favor of other horns which blare louder?

Perhaps. But the problem with bragging is that eventually circumstances arise which demand that we back up what we have claimed. Our reputation is whether or not we can confirm our bragging. If we can’t fulfill what we claimed, we will be deemed liars.

Jesus told a wonderful parable about arriving at a banquet and making a decision not to sit at the head table.

Yes–even if you think you’re worthy of it–even if you were invited to sit there–don’t. Seat yourself with the other guests until your host notices you perched below, and in front of all the attendees, calls you up to a place of honor.

Yes, I like that.

I can avoid bragging by doing amazing work and being discovered by those who are looking for such excellence, who call me up…and blow my horn for me.

 

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Baritone

Baritone: (n) an adult male singing voice between tenor and bass.Dictionary B

In my teen years, I found myself caught up in the world of Southern Gospel music. This was brought about because the church I attended was feverishly interested in the medium.

Southern Gospel music is a collision of real gospel music, barbershop quartets, revivalism and a bit of show business (without admitting that you’re performing).

The quartet is usually male and is divided into four singing parts:

  • Bass: a voice that covers the deep root note of each chord
  • Lead: that’s the melody boy
  • High tenor: which generally speaking is an alto part, taken up an octave
  • And baritone. Nobody ever wanted to be baritone.

The baritone part was always considered a symbol of weakness. It was the part for those men who were not manly enough to perform very low notes, nor strong enough to carry the song’s melody, or high enough to dazzle the audience with tones in the clouds.

It was a standard joke. Whenever the baritone member of the group was introduced, the emcee would say, “Barely a tone passes from his lips.”

But here’s the interesting thing: most male speakers or singers are baritones. So as always, we take the common and we make it mediocre, causing the majority of the folks around us to feel inadequate, as we worship the handful who do the extremes and make the news.

Until we learn to take the people in our lives who are emotional, spiritual, mental and physical baritones and teach them to shine out the very best they can with what they’ve got, we will have a world of over-promoted tenors and basses … and jealous “barely-a-tones.”

 

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Band

Band: (n) a group joined togetherDictionary B

We can learn a lot from music.

First of all, music admits that it gets better as it includes more elements.

  • Melody welcomes harmony.
  • Harmony is not prejudiced against rhythm.
  • And rhythm doesn’t think it has a beat on everything.

What makes a great band?

  1. Find your heart.

Whatever makes you tingle, feel and think.

  1. Find your voice.

How do you want to say it–in a way that will edify human beings instead of depress them?

  1. Find your mates.

Locate those of like, precious integrity and purpose–and hang onto them.

  1. Find your sound.

Create something which only exists because you do.

  1. Find your audience.

See if your chimes ring anybody’s bells.

If we apply those principles to everything we do–politically, spiritually and emotionally–we will come up with much better solutions.

A band does not believe it’s the only thing on the scene, but it must know that it’s on the scene… because the only thing it brings is another reason to believe.

 

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Alto

dictionary with letter A

Alto: (n.) a voice, instrument or musical part below the soprano and above the tenor

It’s called a triad.

I’m not trying to give you a music lesson. It’s a simple blending of two notes that creates a cohesive and usually very pleasant harmony.

It was the staple of music for generations, but in the past thirty years it has been forsaken in favor of harmonies which stress the fourth and fifth instead of thirds.

Now, understanding that this is much too technical for anyone who does not pursue bass and treble clefs, let me personify it better by saying that if you’ve ever heard a women’s trio sing in a church or civic organization, one of the ladies always carries a harmony which clings to the melody so faithfully that it is almost like a twin.

It is beautiful. It is gorgeous. But for a generation of musicians and composers who favor a bit darker sound to their tunes, it is probably quite annoying.

Matter of fact, the most common way to end a song in today’s market is on the major seventh or with a dangling fifth.

Once again, I’m getting too technical. But understand this: sometimes it’s just lovely to hear a melody accompanied by a triad tripping faithfully along behind. It is a union that reminds us that the universe is not meant to be strident, but is intended to have a soprano … accompanied by a well-tuned alto.


Adagio

Words from Dic(tionary)

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Adagio: 1. (adj) a very slow tempo in music 2. (n) the name of the slow movement in a musical composition: e.g. Barber’s Adagio for Strings

I realize that I have reached the adagio of my life. My body has asked me to slow down the tempo.

I am not quite as capable of pizzicato anymore. Jumping up and down and leaping about seems to be something more worthy of discussion than application.

I also don’t Allegro. There’s no need to go fast when the destination does not seem to be moving away and the arrival time is not necessarily dictated.

I think some people become very upset when adagio settles into their years–so much so that they often take a cue from the musical community and place this passage in a minor key. Rather than keeping a lovely melody of major beauty, a darkness settles in, to communicate that “we’ve slowed down and will no longer pizzicato or allegro.”

I think most men wish they could take a Viagra which would affect their whole being, transforming them to when they were eighteen years old and generally energetic (although more often than not, embarrassed over their choices.)

Not me. I would rather be pleased over my well-thought-out conclusions than to jump to them, only to run into a brick wall.

I suppose most people’s favorite part of a musical composition is the fast Allegro, filled with energy, musicians showing off their prowess of fingering.

But there is something wonderful about taking the Adagio, removing the remorse, cutting out the regrets and ushering in an enlightening tunefulness which fills the soul with hope and joy.

That’s what I want to do.

The reason for living longer than you really should–because honestly, if you do it right, you pretty well have hit the high points by the age of thirty-five–anyway, back to my point: the purpose for continuing past that juncture is to discover, relate, create and expand upon the human condition with your wisdom, your simplicity and your calm spirit.

If you’re running around in your fifties, sixties or seventies trying to prove that you’re still young, attempting to convince everybody that your Allegro movement is prolonged, you will miss the true satisfaction of sharing your Adagio and warming the hearts of your audience.