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Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Song

I think Larry's right. I think we should try to pen our own Christmas song. I've been mulling it over for a day or two, hoping to sneak up on some inspiration before it fled away. At first, all I got was some simple lyrics with a lovely, haunting melody:

Christmas time is heeeere
Happiness and cheeeer
Yuletide by the fireside....

Melancholic and beautiful, but certainly not new. It's from A Charlie Brown Christmas, which explains why animated children with giant heads were skating to the song in my mind's eye.

Then some great lyrics popped into my head:

Doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings...

Damn, I remain a hack. No wonder those lyrics I channeled were way beyond my writing ability. The next line is, of course, "These are a few of my favorite things".

But I think I may have the beginnings of a chorus--really, truly new, as no melody sang through my mind--so help me find the lyrics that go with these. Or, help me out by making these better. Or we can ditch them, whatever, especially of I'm plagiarizing without knowing it.


Working title: A Christmas Lullaby for All Mankind

"And here's my Christmas wish for you

May love grow in your heart like a rose
May peace fly to your heart on a dove
Let kindness shine from your heart like a star
May your heart be light"

We could also/instead work in wisdom or charity, faith or trust...But they seem so serious.

And I can kind of hear the end of the song, lines alternating sung like church bells, fade out:

Good night
Sweet dreams
Good night
Sweet dreams
Good night

Maybe this is all very bad. Go easy if it is. In the spirit of Christmas charity and all.

PS Ann, you're a poet. Lend a hand?


Blogger Larry Jones said...


You're beautiful.

I'd feel more comfortable if there were no (or minimal) Big Concepts specifically called out in the lyrics. Think of "My Favorite Things" for example: everyday things, plain language. A picture develops in the listener's mind, and from this may blossom Peace, or Serenity, or Brotherly Love.

Or not, but we need to show it, rather than say it.

Put another way, I don't want to be pontificating at the front of the church, but speaking softly in the vestibule.

The Charlie Brown Christmas song is cheesy. It works because Vince Guaraldi's music is so gently gorgeous, and because children sing it.

I started thinking about writing a Christmas song a week ago -- before you and Ann mentioned it here. But songwriting's hard. It will be much easier just telling you how to do it.

12:09 AM  
Blogger kStyle said...

You're thinking "Favorite Things"/"Christmas Song" genre, I dig that. Classic. Can it be done again, or are they all already written? I'll see if anything comes.

I've noticed there are a few basic categories of Christmas songs:

1. classic religious ("Angels we have heard on high")

2. classic secular ("White Christmas", "My Favorite Things")

3. rock-y secular ("Jingle bell Rock", "Wonderful Christmastime")

4. contemporary Christian

5. endless covers

I was actually basing the chorus loosely on Buddhist meditations on love. I was trying to get away with a Buddhist Christmas song. Maybe that's the problem. :)

8:50 AM  
Blogger kStyle said...

So let's back up and brainstorm. Send me Xmas images you like.

I like:

pinpoint stars in the sky over dark pine trees

snuggling under bright quilts

Santa pausing in a rocking chair, petting the family cat, maybe producing a little catnip from his sleeve with a mischievous wink

(no one writes about Santa from the pet's perspective, but that's sort of specialty, I suppose)

candles glowing in frosty windows

bright blue sky Xmas morn, ribbons glinting in the sunlight

crackling snow under boots

clinking of the best china as the family sits for dinner, kids stuffed into dresses and suits, squirming to get back to their toys

9:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

I'm not really much of a songwriter, and this kind of thing takes me a long time. Today I had no ideas at all.

Note I wasn't necessarily shooting for a "classic" Christmas song, although it would be OK if it turned out that way. But there are already so many of them I thought it would be easier to be unique by sidestepping that crowded field. Your images lead us in the classic direction, though.

I emptied my mind this morning (only a small amount of debris fell out) and as of now only these images have materialized:

cold; night; quiet or silent; snow crunching under tires.

Not much help, I'm afraid. Maybe I'm a little less sentimental than you. In any case I confess I have no idea where to go with this. But I've been playing a lot lately and my technical facility is pretty good right now, so once we get started I may be able to run with it. (I'm not counting on a song for this Christmas, though.)

1:50 AM  
Blogger kStyle said...

I've got it! A song about the snowmen coming to life on Christmas Eve and having a ball, whirling and twirling beneath the pine trees.

Jolly old Saint Nick himself could not believe the sight
Of the whirling, twirling snowmen who waltzed on Christmas night
Oh, the whirling, twirling snowmen who danced through Christmas night

10:55 AM  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

Looks like it's gonna be just you and me on this songwriting team. And after your latest comment, I'm not so sure about you. Just kidding, but hey -- you know the idea about a snowman coming to life is taken, right?

Maybe we should try a Solstice song. Something plaintive, regard for the awesome power of Nature, but hopeful because we believe the sun will return if we're good. We should probably not mention the human sacrifices and stuff like that, so as to attract a broader audience.

If you think this i not very helpful, remember, I volunteered to set somebody's lyrics to music. Until I see some verses and choruses, all I want to do is supervise.

11:00 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Larry, it's too much pressure. You're a real musician; I'm at best a silly poet. You want real lyrics to work with. I can give you a ditty. Let's skip to the scene in "Behind the Music" when the band goes its separate ways, then skip ahead again to the heartfelt reconciliation.

Now, I can really choreograph well, so call me when you're ready to make the music video.


7:11 PM  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

You're right - it is too much. All the steps leading up to a finished product are supposed to take place behind closed doors, away from prying ears. That way we'd have the liberty of saying and playing stoopid things, on our way to the touching masterpiece that would be our crowning holiday achievement, without having to put up with the naysayers, bad-mouthers, cynics and jokesters along the way. They can really spoil the party.

But how's this for removing the pressure: Our song will be a 2008 holiday song, and it will be written in private email. Lots of time, and no kibitzers.

Eat your hearts out, Ann and Narya, while k and I are spending our vast royalties in Greece and Rio, basking in the adulation and gratitude of millions, as our song plays endlessly on the All-Christmas radio station.

Of course, we would gladly give our song to the world out of sheer love, but if they want to pay us, well, we don't want to be confrontational at this special time of year.

1:42 PM  

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