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The D Chord Song

I changed up the Make Music DAMNIT assignment a little, and instead of talking about the first song I ever learned to play (that was probably something random from a kid’s music book on the piano), here I talk a little bit about the first song I ever made up on the guitar.

OH HEY LOOK A WRITEUP:

This assignment was super low-tech. “Haley Unplugged.” Kinda.

I just sat down in front of my digital recorder with my guitar, switched it on and started talking about my Mom and how she inspired me to learn guitar. I’d thought about what I wanted to say prior to doing the recording, but didn’t have anything scripted or prepared beyond that. I actually had one bad take when I stumbled over a few words, but the second one came out just about perfect.

Using the guitar to supply a bit of background noise seemed natural as I was recording this piece, and as I kept talking I realized that I could use the guitar to subtly enhance the story I was telling as well. When I’m talking about my mother playing guitar I strum a few chords that more or less match up to the styles of song I’m discussing, and each chord is clear and true. Around the bit where I mention how learning to play was more difficult than I’d anticipated, the guitar gets a little more dissonant—not enough to distract from what I’m saying, but I felt like it enhanced the message at least a little. If I recorded this piece again, I think I might try to play something even more dissonant there just to make the message that much clearer for the listener.

Once I’d finished recording I downloaded the file onto my laptop, converted it to a .WAV file with the superbly useful Online Convert.com and then uploaded it into Audacity to reduce the noise and cut it down a little.

While this project wasn’t much of a stretch in terms of my technical knowledge or sound editing skills, I think it serves to  highlight the importance of decent source material. I’m not saying my song or my storytelling is anything to write home about, but it’s pretty clear and concise, and it’s got obvious narrative flow. Because of that, I could get away with posting a more or less  unedited clip as a finished piece. It’s like Ira Glass said; his team spends most of their week hunting for good stories, because when you start with solid raw materials, it’s a lot easier to create something worth listening to.

7 Comments

  1. Brittany Parsons Brittany Parsons

    Interesting take on the Assignment! That’s awesome how your mom inspired you!I also really admire your skills on the guitar! I tried once, but I believe I’m tone deaf…

    • aetherbunny aetherbunny

      Yeah, I’m really grateful that both of my parents are musical so we always had one song or another playing in the house while I was growing up. And I’m so glad you like my playing! I’m pretty rusty at the moment but I’m getting back into the swing of things. Maybe as Audio Week continues I’ll have more time to do stuff like this. : D

  2. I love the storytelling part of your opening, it sets the stage and I can conjure up the picture of your mom infusing you with ehr love of music. And the part where you talk about experimenting with just different configurations? thats the best part of the music.

    Toss is soma Am and G and you’ve got it.

    I’m kind of partial to the key of E.

    • aetherbunny aetherbunny

      Awh cool, I’m glad I could inspire somebody to try this assignment as well. : D I’ll keep an eye on your blog to see what you come up with.

      Yeah, fiddling with individual chords is super fun. I’ve never made it too far out of first position on the guitar (I think that’s what you call it… playing on the first 3-4 frets, primarily) but I can plunk out a few tunes well enough to sing along. What matters is that it makes me happy.

  3. The “low-tech-iness” of this is beautiful. The strumming you do as you set everything up breaks things up nicely and moves your story along well. The way you end it is just enough as well. Do you ever write words to these melodies or just let the melody speak for itself?

    • aetherbunny aetherbunny

      This one has never had words, though I’ve tried writing lyrics to it for years. XD I do write songs, but none of them have ever been completed. I’m finally working on a new one after years of not practicing guitar though, and I’m really happy with the first verse! Now if only that chorus would come together…

      I’m super glad you liked this! I was pretty pleased with the way the guitar flowed into my narration.

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