Your Song : Less is More
Hello again, you might have noticed that I then a little bit more consistent lately. And I must admit it's because of the wonderful feedback I've gotten on my writing. I do appreciate when even one person takes the time out of their busy day to read and give feedback. It makes me want to keep sharing more with all of you. And for that I am very grateful. After all, a decent of the time I am speaking from a personal perspective and not a journalistic one.
At this point in my life I've heard many sayings and parables that were created in order to teach people how some wisdom. One that certainly sticks out is one I heard from a dearly departed friend and mentor Alan Tynes. He said "God gave us two ears and one mouth because we are supposed to listen twice as much as we are supposed to talk". He wasn't talking directly to me but since I was within earshot [sic] I took note of it. Another saying that has been on my mind is of course "Less is more". This saying is especially useful for musicians,so obviously I've known it for a long time. However, someone I work with has been reminding me of it a lot for about a year (if you know you know that's necessary so the idea gets through my thick skull). This person even has it hanging up near their desk. But in the context of music, some of the most simple songs I've been most sought-after. Not sure if you've heard of that three-chord cliche, but it is quite common with a lot of rock and punk music. And lots of simple song lyrics can say a lot. Just like in life, a few words can go a long way. I've been trying to remind myself of this concept while struggling to write new music and when trying to relate to other people. But just like with music, people can tell when your intentions are sincere and not fabricated for your own personal gain. Usually when people are trying too hard that's what people . I'm sure one of you has early seen those ridiculously large Valentine's Day cards or we're giving one at some point. What was going through your head when you saw that? These days people can easily be dismissed and our past experiences shape our views. So it happens too often that we're too quick to rush to judgment and just assume that no one is to be trusted. It does seem quite paranoid, but this is the world we live in.
Ironically enough, the song that I chose to focus on in this entry does come from a place of sincerity and innocence. Written by two young English boys with not much experience in life, and in particular with being in love. I didn't know any of this at the time when I decided to start learning it, but that gives this song I much more pure and honest quality. Of course I'm talking about "Your Song" by Elton John. I also learned that the lyrics to his songs are written by Bernie Taupin(Pictured together above). The two were introduced very early on by the record label who felt that they would be a good writing duo that would complement each other, and boy they were right! I believe this was one of the first song that they had written together. Taupen's lyrics are simply an expression of what he felt it was be like to be in love. The words are direct, imaginative yet humbling, and also speaks in a narrative describing what is happening during the writing process. The music however is another story. If have ever lived in the New York metro area you would be familiar with it. Or at the very least the beginning for being the Flagship song for all the Light FM station commercials. So chances are you've probably heard it. But here it is for you to enjoy :
As simple and easy to understand as the message behind this song is, I learned that that was not always the case with the music. I know that several of you do not play music or may not be familiar with a lot of the terminology. As a guitar player I wanted to learn a guitar arrangement without having to do anything besides finding the chords and lyrics and play along. Since this was written for piano (which I am also learning that part simultaneously), those chords had to be altered or "transposed" into another key in order to fit in with the guitar version. My usual go to tutorial had me doing some really odd chords that I had never played before. Such as G sharp minor 7 flat five (G#m7b5), try saying that five times fast. Turns out it was pretty simple to play but one of the other chords, which was the combination of two chords known as a "poly chord" was not. So I took some of the things I had learned from the first tutorial I am found the simpler version to play. Again less is more. Besides, I was very eager to be able to play it fluidly as to get that feeling that I always get when I learn a new song, feeling that thrill of expression. Especially with the song written by Elton John, a man who creates purely for the love of the music. Knowing that about him shows me that there is some justice in this world since his love of the music has catapulted him into it Legend status, a Knighthood by the British royalty and due to a friendly wager (about climbing to the top of the charts), he was joined onstage by John Lennon which would ironically be Lennon's last ever live concert appearance. Of course he has had several other accomplishments. And as I was reminded by one of the tutorials I've learned for this song, he never repeats the same performance twice. Think about how different this song is to his other songs such as "Crocodile Rock" or "Tiny Dancer". Just two examples of his hits, but it shows that he didn't stick to love songs. He could write about life,fantasy,friendship or his ever popular song with a Baptist choir feel "Take me to the Pilot". One song that he did has a part that reminds me of those cheesy films that they used to make us watch in school that had narratives like : "obtaining the skills now that you'll need for a bright tomorrow". Think of that sentence doing that instrumental guitar part in the middle of "Funeral for a Friend/Live lies bleeding". Hey my warped sense of humor was bound to come out at some point LOL. But "Your Song" is especially important since this is one of the very first songs Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote together and one song he says he's never been tired of performing live after all these decades. According to a scene from the movie Rocketman, you can see how the song was created early in the morning while Taupin was living with Elton's(still being called Reggie by his Mom) Family. Well, you can see how that unfolded for yourself :
Thank you again for reading this. I hope that this week's lesson really helps me be a bit more self-aware and realize that you can do a lot more with less. Sometimes overdoing things does more harm than good. But as long as we're still here to learn from our mistakes, we can overcome them. I'm really looking forward to giving all of you some examples of that on the band next album, when it is released.
Thank you once again. Be well,