Friday, September 24, 2010

Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?

I should write more often when I'm happy, lest I go down in history as more crotchety than I actually am. 

Things that suck about being single: filling out emergency contact forms with the names of friends who most consistently check their voicemail (but being grimly satisfied that I have many friends, even if I'm nobody's top priority at the moment). Things that don't suck about being single: drinking milk straight from the carton, not having to shave your legs.

In less-random news, I have learned "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here" and "I Was Made For You", two cute, fun, hand-clappy songs by Zooey Deschanel's band, She & Him. I have kind of an enormous girl-crush on her, and am determined that she will play me in the movie about my life (based on this blog, natch.  Just puttin' it out there, people). 

So... She & Him songs are not exactly standard pop song repertoire, nor did I know and love them before I decided to learn them.  How do I get to count these songs?

Let's talk about cheating for a moment, dear reader-enforcers.  You know that Alison Krauss lyric I quoted a few weeks back - about "playing and winning/playing and losing"?  I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and how it pertains to career and love and stuff.  Ok, so playing and losing is better than not playing... but I wanna win! 

And it struck me.  Winners cheat.

That's it!  Let's cheat!  Well, actually winners just break rules when the rules are stupid.  And right now, in the midst of transcribing/learning/rehearsing a show, preparing for an audition, and doing all my usual gigs, I have these two songs I need to learn for a cabaret show.  There's no sheet music for them, so I said I'd learn them (I could have said no, I won't do them, but the singer is nice and smart and well-prepared in general, which works wonders with pianists). They're still good musical exercises, and good songs, even if they're not well-known.  I will break my own rules in favor of streamlining my to-do list.

You think I freak out a little about breaking the rules, huh?  You should see my parents.  My dad won't cross against the light, even in New York where it's sometimes safer than crossing with the light, and my mom launches a 25-minute verbal rationalization when she thinks about bending a perceived rule.  Slight exaggeration. Slight.  (Sorry, Mom, but it's true.)

A moment for geekery before I go take my nightly nap. 

Both these songs have elided cadences; in other words, the 8th bar of the 8-bar phrase (the tonic, in these 2 songs, and often the case in others) is also the first bar of the next phrase.  This is actually not uncommon; I've seen it before but can't think of other examples off the top of my head. ...I don't remember if they're actually called elided cadences.  But that makes sense to me, and I'm a winner, so I don't really care.

Speaking of cadences, in the category of Key Changes That Don't Suck: behold the end of the instrumental  break of "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here", where instead of going to tonic C, it goes to Am (I love me a deceptive cadence!), then A - which becomes the V in the key of D et voila, we are a whole step higher.  It's not that obscure or unusual, but I get pretty excited about any modulation that doesn't involve a flat-VI pivot chord. 

These songs were really fun, and I'll get to play them a few times in the next couple weeks.  I'm getting used to my new phone and my new ipod and my new contacts, and the new jobs have started and are going well so far, so the Doubts are shutting up a little bit. 

Tomorrow: in honor of my sister's birthday, "(I Just) Died in Your Arms", a favorite of hers and one that always reminds me of her.  Happy Birthday, Tamara!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, no! Now I'll be going down in history as more Eighties than I actually am...!

    Well, okay, it *is* a favorite of mine, so what the heck. Happy Birthday anyway :)

    Love ya,