Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bad Singing

More specifically, my bad singing.

I feel very sorry for Sis. Geek on Wednesday nights. We have midweek service and our normal song leader is still working on understanding the importance of making it to every service, so I lead the song service. I like to describe my singing voice as worse than a gravel crusher. I have the voice of one suited to written media. Various people have told me that I actually can sing, but I think they're just being nice. Even if they're right, there are still a couple of reasons why you don't want me behind a microphone when music is playing.

The first reason for keeping me away from a microphone is that I have no memory for song lyrics. None. Nada. Zip. Sis. Geek provides me with song sheets for the main service, but she picks songs according to the moving of the Spirit during altar service and that's when my bad memory really does me the most disservice. I loose count of the number of times, I haven't been able to remember the words to some really appropriate song that she's selected. Sigh.

The second reason is that I don't have a creative bone in my body and have no natural music comprehension. This shows itself in my inability to figure out how to lead the flow through a song. Knowing that I'm not a creative sort (and being fairly used to it by now) I applied some geeky analysis to the problem. I was fairly pleased with the result, but Sis. Geek still shakes her head when I use this technique. Allow me to explain.

Songs have verses and choruses and sometimes even bridges. I'm not really sure what the exact difference between a chorus and a bridge actually is, but my best understanding is that a bridge is kind of like an extra chorus. (Feel free to flame me in the comments if I have this all goofed up!) My problem is that with the new-fangled songs (rather than the traditional hymns, which I have no problem with) have very loose "rules" on which part goes where and when and in what order and which pieces you can repeat and even whether you finish at the end of a chorus or a verse. What is a geek to do?

Flow diagrams to the rescue! Check out this simple one:

  I -> I -> II -> II -> I -> II -> II -> II

This is a real example where the song has two parts and are best sequenced with the first part sung twice, then the second part sung twice, the first part once more and then the second part three times. I have this penciled at the bottom the song sheet and typically follow this sequence for that song.

Naturally, there are some songs with more leeway and flow diagrams allow for this. An example will help:

v |
I -> C -> I -> C

This shows that the song starts with the verse, then moves to the chorus. It then alternates between the verse and the chorus (the asterisk depicts that the loop can be followed zero or more times), with the chorus being the end point of the song.

A very geeky way to solve a creative problem, but it works very well for me.

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