Sunday, March 17, 2013

#swmooc Songwriting with Pat Pattison ( My first Assignment )

 

AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Neil Krug

I am taking a wonderful new #MOOC called Songwriting by Pat Pattison.
Pat is an amazing teacher and I love his video lessons!
I am very impressed with all I learned in just the first two weeks. Plus the lectures for week 3 are the best so far. There is one thing though about the course I don't like, and that is something really going wrong in most of the MOOCs. Anonymous Peer Grading!
I said it before and will say it again, I would be happy to get rid of the grading completely and just concentrate on learning and helping each other out, but if it is necessary then why does it have to be anonymous? Not only does this open the doors to trolls, it also makes us miss out on the most valuable part of learning through peer review: Our peers actual thoughts and ideas!
Apart from that, it's just frustrating, when you get graded by someone, who misses the point or you think is mean and you can't get back to this reviewer, find out why and discuss the problem further.

In Pat's course there would be so much to learn from each other, but instead we answer questions about the quality of our peer's work selecting from drop down menues between "strongly agree", "agree", "somewhat agree", "disagree", "somewhat disagree" and "strongly disagree"....
I think that's stupid! (sorry) The only part of the exercise that would be worth while, the comment, is voluntary. There are some good souls, who take the time and try to give good advice and share their thoughts, but for them it's even sadder, if they get their results back with out anyone taking the same time and energy on their work. Having to write a short text (maybe 5-10 lines minimum) instead of grading would also force the people, who just want to get a certificates, don't read the questions and click the drop down menues with out any respect for their peers, to think!

So I decided I will do something different now...
I am in a private Songwriting community on google+  (https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/113291765546075132474), because I thought I don't want to have something as intimate as song lyrics dissected by strangers more than they must. But now I thought why not let my pants fall down and try to get what I want from the course apart from the great video lessons:
Real feedback! Not numbers.
That's why I will be posting all my assignments and songsketches here on the blog and hope that maybe somebody else likes the idea and we start reviewing our work and helping each other in a more open way. It's an experiment, who knows what will happen.
(I might be so courageous, because the last #edcmooc has been so lovely, that I have faith something like that could happen again.)


Writing this first song for the class was great fun but don't expect a master piece :)
Right now I can't even find a microphone cable and the recording is pretty LOW Fi, but at least I finally found the level control and it's I hope "listenable".

Here is the assignment:
In this assignment, you will write an unstable verse that moves into a stable chorus. Fellow students will evaluate your assignment based on the criteria below. Use them as a checklist in reviewing your own work.
  • The verse is unstable.
  • The verse’s idea is appropriate for creating an unstable structure.
  • The number of lines and/or the matching and unmatching of line lengths contribute to the verse’s instability.
  • The chorus is stable.
  • The chorus’s idea is appropriate for creating a stable structure.
  • The number of lines and/or the matching and unmatching of line lengths contribute to the chorus’s stability.
  • The verse idea sets up the chorus idea effectively.
  • The chorus’s title is interesting. Important ideas are spotlighted.
Using primarily number of lines and line lengths, write an unstable verse that moves into a stable chorus. Of course, since the verse is unstable, what it says should be appropriate to the structure. If you create a spotlight, try to place an important idea there, where it’s most likely to be noticed. You may submit your verse/chorus with or without music. If you choose to put it to music, you may use your own or write to one of the musical loops provided in the Resources area of the class site.

After Pat's lessons there is so much I would still like to try with this song sketch. I am not a good singer nor do I play guitar well (yet I hope!), so my progression is simple and and I don't change the chords. To make it not too boring I use some picking for the verses and strumming for the chorus, I also changed the chorus from 4/4 to 3/4. I felt that for what the song expresses the chorus ended up too stable, therefore this minor change, but leaving the number of lines matching and line length stable.
(the 3/4 is a little hard to switch to so I messed up sometimes a bit in the recording, but it sounded better anyway)
As you will hear I made a lot of spotlights in the verses to make it extra unstable.
I thought it fit to the dark humor of the piece, which for me definitely feels - imagine Pat's hands circling on the left side of his head :) - UNSTABLE.


Hope you like it. A week is much too short for me to be able to write and play a new song  with confidence and less mistakes. I'm still searching for the right places to start singing and I wish I could sing harmonies and different notes of the scale by will. After listening to Pat's video lessons 03 I realized I am hanging on the root of the chord with my voice almost always... Well I will keep on trying!
Let me know what you think.
(If the Soundcloud Player goes missing try this link:https://soundcloud.com/krustel-kram/the-clown-130317)






The Clown

Verse:

If it makes you
Laugh
To see me
Fall on my face for you Dear

I will gladly
Fall on my face

If seeing me on the ground
Makes you Happy


Chorus:


I will never
let you down

I will    never
let you down           
        
I’m your clown


Verse:


If it makes you
Laugh
To use me
as a punching bag

I will gladly
Be that punching bag

Waiting
For every hit


Chorus:


I will never
let you down

I will    never
let you down           
        
I’m your clown


Bridge:


All              
I want to see
is you         
smiling at me

Just don’t cry anymore
about the one
who broke your
heart 


Chorus:


I will never
let you down

I will    never
let you down           
        
I’m your clown


--------------------------------------------------
In the end I took out this last 
Verse:
If it makes you
laugh
To see me
fall on my face for you Dear

I will gladly    
Fall on my face for you
Cause I am
your clown...     



Oh and concerning the assignment I started out with this:



Verse:

If it makes you <------------------- unstable verse
Laugh
To see me
Fall on my face for you Dear

I will gladly <------------------- unstable verse
Fall on my face

If seeing me on the ground
Makes you Happy


Chorus:


I am your clown                             <------------------- stable chorus
I am your clown

I will never
Let you down


But writing and playing around with the song idea a slightly unstable chorus fitted much better.
So I claim artistic freedom. :)

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