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Y9W20 The Maple Tre...
 
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Y9W20 The Maple Tree

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wilhelmina
(@wilhelmina)
Estimable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 56
Topic starter  

I'm musically illiterate so I'm not even attempting a tune for this. But I am being careful to try and match the stressed syllables to the tapping of my foot, and to be consistent with the length of the lines, so I am making progress! - Wilhelmina

The Maple Tree
Y9W20 - Topic: Tree

Under the old maple tree
Is where I'd like to be
On an August afternoon
With the gang arriving soon.

The telephone lines have been humming,
The cousins and nephews are coming,
There's barbecue smoke in the air
And my Mom and my Dad are there.

The table's set out where it ought to be
Under the shade of the maple tree.
The noise and the laughter is about to begin,
As soon as the folks come piling in.

My brother's up from the harbour
With a salmon for the grill.
My sister has made a salad
Seasoned with fennel and dill.

Red-skinned potatoes are scrubbed
And set in the oven to bake.
Dave and Lisa are coming.
They're bringing a carrot cake.

Someone will set up the sprinkler
For the kids to be running through,
And for those of the grown-ups who like it,
There'll be plenty of Dad's home brew.

I'd like to be under the maple tree
But time has moved us all along.
I live at the opposite side of the map
And my good old Dad is dead and gone.

I don't regret the passage of time.
I'm happy with the life I've made,
But sometimes I think of the maple tree
And the fun we all had under its shade.


   
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martin-6
(@martin-6)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 418
 

Hmm, interesting. I'd say you have ample detail about setting, foods and characters, but something seems to be missing. All of the verses are anticipating its arrival, but I never got the sense that a party actually took place. It seems to be a blend of a hypothetical future party, and concrete past memories.

This may be something you could improve by thinking about your verb tenses. You are mixing present and future voices a lot with snippets like "are coming"... "there's"... "is about to begin"... "my brother's up"... "are scrubbed"... "are coming"... "will set up"... "there'll be". Try to pick a moment in time and stick to one way of referring to it. Don't have so many nice things "about to happen" because it doesn't impart the full feeling of satisfaction associated with them happening. Alternatively, you could put everything in the past to reinforce the point that these are actual memories of a day that is now gone.

It could be worth describing some climactic moment that happened during or towards the end of the party. That unforgettable family moment that will be laughed about for years to come.

You don't have a chorus but I think that this type of song could work well with one. Perhaps you could use the first verse? Or use the climactic moment as a way of stepping out of the story to show us the snapshot version.

Also, I don't know if you noticed but your rhyme scheme starts out as AABB and then becomes ABCB. It didn't really bother me, just wondering if there was a reason for it.


   
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Chris C
(@chris-c)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

I'm musically illiterate so I'm not even attempting a tune for this. But I am being careful to try and match the stressed syllables to the tapping of my foot, and to be consistent with the length of the lines, so I am making progress! - Wilhelmina

Good strategy with the foot tapping. :)

When you write only lyrics (which most of us seem to do at the start) it's hard to sell something convincingly as a song rather than a poem or just a bunch of words on a page. As you've hinted, they can be quite different animals. I found that a very good way to make progress with lyric writing if you can't play well enough yet is to take existing tunes, preferably ones that are well known, and write new lyrics for them. This has several advantages. Firstly, you have a pre-existing musical structure to shape your words around so it's easier to tell if your writing is hitting the right marks. Secondly, anybody who tries to respond to your post will be able to mentally sing your words. Believe me, this makes a big difference!

Just a thought. Keep on writing. :)

Chris


   
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jamestoffee
(@jamestoffee)
Famed Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2855
 

Hi Wilhelmina,

Good start :D....a lot of nice details......I don't really have anything to add to what Martin and Chris said.....good suggestions there already. I guess maybe one suggestion similar to Chris is follow a song pattern or maybe label what's the verse, chorus, bridge.....that's assuming you are shooting for a "typical" radio type song.

Thanks for sharing.

James


   
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wilhelmina
(@wilhelmina)
Estimable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 56
Topic starter  

Thanks, Martin, for the critique - lots to think about here, and Chris for the hint. I've tried that- it feels like stealing and then I can't get the old tune out of my head! But a good suggestion though. I'll be trying to pick out my own tunes before long.


   
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