Music score for Eclipse

StephenHaving posted the scores for Down (from Chapter 2) and Gretel’s Lullaby (Chapter 3), I present the score for Eclipse (also Chapter 3). Eclipse is the song that Stephen Maclean’s band is playing in the Bourke Street Mall when Steve Borman first encounters him.

It’s a song about the darkness we can carry inside us – how it can give us strength when we are driven to extremes, but how dangerous it can be. If we’re lucky, we’ll never need to draw on such dark things to protect ourselves.



It’s mean to be a bit of a hard rocker, with lots of electric guitar and drums. Imagining something like Shinedown would do the trick nicely.

New to Kitty and Cadaver? Find out about the project in About Kitty and Cadaver or read the first three chapters at Read the Book.


Night Terrace: Anti-Love Songs

photo-originalThe Splendid Chaps are running a new Kickstarter to fund the creation of the second season of the fabulous Comedy SF adventure, Night Terrace. I’ve already pledged to support it – having loved the first season so much! The Splendid Chaps have already talked to me about love songs on my Adventurous Hearts blog – and now they’re talking about Anti-Love Songs

The Splendid Chaps team know a lot about sound. They ran the smash hit podcast Splendid Chaps in 2013, and then span that off into the audio science fiction comedy series Night Terrace, in which Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy, Neighbours) plays a grumpy Doctor-Who-like figure who is annoyed to find her house can travel in time and space.

They know how sound can affect others, but how does it affect them? We asked them to choose their favourite anti-love songs, the ones that best summed up the feeling of NOT being in love.

Ben McKenzie (producer, writer, “Eddie”)

Torch songs always get me, and for many years my favourite was Paul McCartney’s The Lovers That Never Were from his 1993 album ‘Off the Ground’. It’s a melancholy reflection of a lonely narrator who has found someone who brings them out of their shell, but their love is rejected and the narrator can’t let go.

It was something of an anthem for me in my late teens and early twenties but I’ve come to think of it now as having an unfortunately “friendzone” tinge to it (“if we can’t be lovers we’ll never be friends” is how the last chorus ends). But it also speaks of someone being kept on the hook and desperate for a sign either way, with the last verse pleading “you must tell me something, I love you – say goodbye or anything” being particularly heartfelt.

Lee Zachariah (co-creator, writer)

Strange Currencies by R.E.M.

There’s a real sense of yearning and longing in this song that speaks to you as a lovesick teenager. And then you grow up and listen more carefully to the lyrics and realise it’s actually a song about a stalker. It’s R.E.M.’s Every Breath You Take, essentially, from the point of view of a creep who can’t stop harassing the object of his affection. Which speaks volumes to how teenagers (I’m deliberately generalising here to spare myself the embarrassment) see love.

Petra Elliott (co-creator, “Sue”)

Jazmine Sullivan Bust your Windows

As a scorned lover, I’m quite creative in imagining schemes for revenge. But I’m also smart enough to not implement them, so a song like this helps to sing out the rage when one is feeling the anti-love! It’s up there with Kelis Caught Out There and it was hard to go past Alanis with You Outta Know.

And now you know why I’m single!

John Richards (producer, writer)

I love the storytelling and drama of A Little Time by The Beautiful South. A man wants a break to reconsider the relationship, a woman thinks he has ulterior motives. Eventually he decides to commit to the relationship but she has moved on. And the music itself is surprisingly breezy under a song about some very raw emotions.

In my head the song and the video are inextricably linked too, a glorious clip showing the aftermath of an enormous fight, that feeling of the calm after the storm (to quote a recent Eurovision runner-up). One of the memorable images is of a disembodied teddy bear head stuck to a wall by a kitchen knife.

And isn’t that what love is all about?

David Ashton (writer, sound designer)

Anti-love song: Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me by The Smiths

When he sings “No hope no harm, just another false alarm,” Morrissey’s not just singing about the end (or failure to start) of one love, but closing off the very possibility of love. Like all the best Morrissey lyrics this song uses very few words to perfectly sum up a feeling. In contrast the music is ridiculously/gloriously over the top. From a lonely piano intro to the sweeping violins of the fade out, via the crashing drums and guitar, it’s the Lawrence of Arabia of heartbreak songs.

Night Terrace is currently crowd-funding a second season. You can find out more – and hear the entire first episode for free – by going to Kickstarter: Night Terrace.

Read about the crew’s favourite love songs over on Adventurous Hearts!

Music and harmonies for Gretel’s Lullaby

The writing of Gretel’s lullaby happened before I’d even started the first chapter, while I was still working out the shape of the story and plotting it out. I’m glad I wrote it early on as it influences a lot of how the plot evolved.

It’s meant to be a song for two male voices – Gretel’s two daddies – but I only had the one melody line originally. In playing with the Finale program, I finally had a go at producing a harmony for it as well.

The idea of the lyric is that Alex and Kurt want strength, courage and independence for their daughter, though naturally they want to protect her too. A lullaby is meant to be soothing and easy to sing, too, so I hope I achieved that with both the melody and harmony lines.

Here is the score:

Gretel_39_s_Lullaby_HarmoniesOf course, now I know more about how Finale works, I should probably re-do the whole thing with the correct notation that the whole thing’s in the key of F, instead of marking each B Flat separately.

New to Kitty and Cadaver? Find out about the project in About Kitty and Cadaver or read the first three chapters at Read the Book.

Finale notebook and the musical score for Down

YukaIt 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.

And if you’re experimenting with music yourself, you can download the free Finale Notepad!

New to Kitty and Cadaver? Find out about the project in About Kitty and Cadaver or read the first three chapters at Read the Book.

The Halloween Playlist (and some bones to munch)

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Poisoned Toffee Apples by Not Quite Nigella

Happy Halloween, one and all! (If you don’t do the Halloween thing – that’s fine, obviously, but what the hell: why not watch a trashy horror flick anyway? Something like Ginger Snaps; or mainline some eps of Supernatural. You know you want to.)

As for the rest of us: whether you celebrate the event US style with trick-or-treating, Samhain-style with pagan ritual, movie-buff style with a horror film marathon, or just think it’s a great excuse for a party, have a fabulously spooky day/night.

If you’re having a party and looking for some last minute ideas, I can highly recommend Not Quite Nigella’s food blog. She has a recipe for Snow White’s Poisoned Candy Apples, meringue bones, beating heart cupcakes and skull sugar cubes (not to mention the Misfortune Cookies and the Jack Skellington cupcakes!)

Now the food is sorted, what about a playlist? I’ve written about my favourite vampire songs before, but what about the songs about witches, ghosts and werewolves?

Well, here are a few tracks to get you started.

If you want to kick off with something a bit more mellow, there’s Australian band The Devoted Few with Baby, You’re a Vampire, with it’s mesmerising 3/4 beat.

Another waltz-time song that always makes me feel a bit weepy, tell the truth, is Anna Rose by J Minus. I’m not sure it’s strictly a song about a ghost, but it gives me that feeling – a lost love that comes to dance with his girl in her dreams. It’s certainly a haunting of sorts. Here’s a cute fan video I found for it.


While we’re on the Halloween Love Song theme, Short Stack says I’ll Be Your Werewolf.

And if you’re really sick of all those sweet, loving monster songs, I hear you – so have a dose of Avenged Sevenfold and their zombie song Not Ready to Die.

If you’d like to end on a more thoughtful but no less creepy mood, I’d suggest Lemon Jelly’s Experiment Number Six. This fanvid uses some great imagery.

Of course, there’s always Spirit Got Lost by Mental As Anything if you want to perk things up a bit. I can’t find a version of the original clip, which was full of skeletons dancing, to embed, but it lives over here. In the meantime, the song:

So there’s a list to kickstart your Halloween playlist. What monsters have I missed (well, I know Frankenstein’s monster isn’t there) and can you suggest songs for them?

New to Kitty and Cadaver? Find out about the project in About Kitty and Cadaver or read the first three chapters at Read the Book.

Song: Afraid of the Dark


Sal D’Souza. Art by Nath Holden

Sal’s song from Chapter 11 part 1 is ‘Afraid of the Dark’, and I originally wrote both words and music in 1986 for a Blake’s 7 filktape I did with a Canberra fan and musician, Fiona Undy (now Fiona Johnson).

Filk, for those who don’t know the jargon, is a typo of ‘folk’ dating back to early fandom and relates to the songs people wrote inspired by TV shows, books and films they loved. Many are based on existing melodies (especially folk tunes) but other filksong practitioners wrote original music too.

Professional musicians do it too, actually, only it’s not called filk when they do it. Think Charlotte Sometimes by the Cure, Venus in Furs by The Velvet Underground, Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights and The Alan Parsons Project’s entire Tales of Mystery and Imagination album, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

Anyway, I wrote lyrics back then for a bunch of songs and the music was mostly written by Fiona, with some done by her brother Cameron (and one where we used the melody of My Favourite Things by Rodgers and Hammerstein).

But Afraid of the Dark I wrote myself, words and music. This is what I wrote about the original inspiration for the lyric:

“The Blake we saw in the episode Blake was, I always felt, a much darker and more bitter person than the man we’d met in The Way Back. Ending with a song about Blake seemed a nice, circular way to complete the tape and thematically it continued on from Prometheus Unbound. The melody line came to me in a haunting moment one afternoon, and the lyrics followed easily on.”

Here’s a link to an old webpage about the project: Voices from the Past

And here’s a link to the song as performed on that album in a wav file: Fiona plays the guitar and the vocal is by Susan Lake.

Afraid of the Dark (.wav)

When I was working on songs for this chapter, I remembered this old one and thought it fitted Sal’s state of mind well, and since it began as Kurt’s song, it gave a hint of the darkness Kurt was capable of even before he became a vampire.

Sal, of course, has a much deeper voice than Sue. 🙂

Do you have any favourite songs based on literature or other pop culture? Share the cross-referenced pop culture joy!

New to Kitty and Cadaver? Find out about the project in About Kitty and Cadaver or start from chapter one at Read the Book.