Keep all your little lyrics, create things to love others, and mix emotionally

Heya folks,

You know, I've thought about it, and I think I'm gonna start calling this newsletter Sharing Notes. I used to have an interview series with the same name, and I'd like to resurrect the title. So welcome back to Sharing Notes!

πŸ—ž Read this in your browser

Keep your lyric snippets and have an easy way to rediscover them

Jeff Tweedy says the day-to-day work of a songwriter can be as simple as collecting words and sounds. You may like to keep a journal of lyrics that you haven't yet used in songs, like Paul Simon does. Or like Nashville songwriters, you may like to keep a "hook book" for co-writing sessions. I like to keep digital files of lyric ideas and tag them by their poetic meter. Whenever I have a melody that suits a certain number of syllables, I look through that tag for lyrics I've already written. It can yield cool, collage-type lyrics, and it's how I wrote Thinking 'bout John Prine.

Create things to love others

Lewis Hyde, in his book The Gift, says, "where there is no gift, there is no art." Rainer Maria Rilke weighed in about love in his Letters to a Young Poetβ€”it's "the work for which all other work is but a preparation." Doing it for love is, after all, what it means to be an amateur, and Charlie Chaplin said, "That's all any of us are: amateurs. We don't live long enough to be anything else." I've written much more about this topic and its tangents, which can't fit here, but please read more if you like.

Let the emotion of the song be your mixing guide

A valuable lesson I've taken from mix engineer Matthew Weiss is to identify the emotion of a song before getting into the nitty-gritty of mixing. There are several ways to bring a vocal forward in a mix, but being in touch with the emotion can determine which approach will best serve the song. I find this not only helpful in mixing, but recording and producing too. A few weeks ago, I was stuck on an arrangement for a song I'm recording, and once I identified the emotion of it, I was better equipped to pick instruments and sounds that serve that emotion.


🎡 My music

🎚 Hire me for music production!

πŸŽ“Β Take lessons with me!