It was probably mighty ambitious of me to start writing a book which had a song in every chapter. I’m a writer of prose. I used to play the piano, around thirty years ago, but I let that slide and those skills turn to rust as I pursued my writing. There are only so many hours in the day, after all.
But write a book fulll of songs I did, and when I wrote the songs, I did it by making and melodies and singing them into a microphone, so that I had rhythm and structure to make the songs sound like songs and not poems.
And then I realised I had no idea how to score them. To write the notes down in a way that someone else could see what I’ve done.
Well, after months and months of looking for someone to help me with this, one of my brothers actually mentioned a program called Finale. I actually located the free version of it, called Finale Notebook, and at last I’m getting the songs written down in musical notation.
It’s taking a while. I have to do it manually. I achieve this my playing my recordings, using the piano function on the GarageBand app on my ipad, then putting the notes in to the program. Then I have to fiddle about with note lengths, rests and so on to get the basics down.
There’s a lot I still don’t know, but I’m fairly happy with the results – and I plan to share them here for anyone interested in hearing what the songs sound like.
The song melodies and lyrics remain copyright to me (and to Jess Harris where that’s appropriate) but if you feel like playing with the songs, I’d love to hear the result!
In that spirit, here first of all is the very simple song from Chapter Two – Down – which Yuka sings a-capella, keeping rhythm with her drumsticks on the ground, to quieten the restless dead under the Victoria Markets.
I haven’t yet worked out how to mark tempo in this program, but the idea is for the song to have ta rhythm like a heartbeat that gradually slows down to a stop. I’ll link to the instrumental version that Finale Notebook created, the vocal I originally did and a PDF of the score.
- Listen to me sing Down, a-capella
- Listen to the instrumental version, created from Finale Notebook (piano and percussion)
- Download the score as a PDF
And if you’re experimenting with music yourself, you can download the free Finale Notepad!