Saturday, November 24, 2018

Music Story - Toolkit


I’m a songwriter. I turn stories into songs and songs into music videos. I use an amazing toolkit.

I start with a story that I could turn into a song. Here’s one: A crazy robin flew into our living room window again and again and again! We photographed the robin’s antics. I wrote the story out as a rhyme. I took the rhyme to my workstation where I played around with melody, chords, and beat until the rhyme began sing. Now to notate the song. I opened up my computer and created a lead sheet, typing notes, lyrics, and chords into a staff. Then I added staves and arranged the song for percussion instruments. I added photos to the music score. Now to create a music video.

My 27-inch desktop gets a little crowded when creating music. Can you pick out the apps in my toolkit?

Computer apps for songwriters
Songwriter's Toolkit
Finale music notation software is at the bottom left. You will have to look closely to see which staves in the score are played by which Garritan virtual instruments (upper left). Before inserting a photo in Finale it has to be sized and edited. I use PowerPoint (bottom right) or Photoshop. I need help with rhyming lyrics (bottom middle) and hyphenating them (top middle). My go to for fun free fonts is Google fonts.

Debut screen capturing software (top right) makes a silent movie of Finale playing the composition. Then using Debut video editing software (middle right) I combine title page, silent movie, and audio file created by Finale. Bose earphones helps in checking sound.

Using Finale I create shareable versions of the song. CutePDFWriter makes a PDF copy that anyone can open and Finale exports a digital file (MusicXML) that other music apps can open and edit. These are offered under the terms of a Creative Commons license.

You can read about the crazy robin in my backyard here: Guano – Music Story. Here’s how the video came together.

Kathy


Sunday, October 14, 2018

I Cry to God – Music Story



Job was caught in a storm of pain. He lost it all – his children, wealth, his health, reputation, his happiness. Job didn’t deserve this. He was a good man, blameless and upright, a man who worshiped God. So, Job vented angrily, why did God let this happen to him? Wasn’t God perverting justice by letting him suffer?

Now God was not put off by Job’s anger, bitterness, and complaints. God was there for him. He appeared to Job. He spoke to Job’s heart. God didn’t explain why. He asked Job to explain who and how. Who made it all, Job? You? Do you understand how God put it all together? Do you understand how God created the earth, the dry land, the water cycle? Do you understand how God carefully crafted each animal to thrive where he placed it? Job, are you wise enough to do this?

God's scarsJob couldn’t answer God’s creation questions. They exposed his ignorance and God’s wisdom. He realized there must be hidden circumstances, information about the past or future that Job couldn't know. That God didn’t share it didn’t matter because God was there for him. Job saw and heard God and that was enough. Job now realized he had made wrong assumptions about God’s goodness, love, and justice. He let go of his anger and bitterness. He withdrew his complaints.

Good people suffer, crushed by their circumstances. And, like Job, blame God. Where is God when it hurts? God is not put off by anger, bitterness, and complaints. God is here. He is with us. We see God and know what Job couldn’t. God bears the scars of appalling injustice and horrific pain. We hear him say that he bore those scars so we might live. Instead of explaining why we suffer, God wraps his scars around our weeping hearts.

Can you imagine how raw Job felt? From the musical The Majesty of the Maker! this video is scrolling playback of the song.
Kathy

Click here and here and here to read God’s creation questions.
You can get print (PDF) and/or digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for I Cry to God.
I Cry to God
Click here for print sheet music (lead sheet format).
Click here for digital sheet music.
(MusicXML™ is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music. Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML™ files.) 



Thursday, September 27, 2018

Sing! – Music Story


When your new life in Jesus is your real life, you sing your heart out to God! This joyful praise song is based on the third chapter of Colossians.

From the album “Sing” this video is scrolling playback of the song.
Kathy

You can read how Jesus brings about perfect harmony here.

Print (PDF) and digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for Sing are available at the MusicStories shop on Etsy.com.

Sing
Click here for Sing  at MusicStories

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Fern Fiddleheads – Music Story


Fern fiddleheads ...
The call of spring

... stir ...
The call of spring

... to the insistent call of spring.
The call of spring

How might an artist illustrate it?
The call of spring


What about a songwriter? From the album “Paper Book Colors – Songs from Nature” this video is scrolling playback of the song.
Kathy


You can get print (PDF) and/or digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for Fern Fiddleheads.
Fern Fiddleheads
Click here for print sheet music.
Fern Fiddleheads
Click here for digital sheet music.
(MusicXML™ is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music. Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML™ files.)



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Stand Firm – Music Story


What if …?

What if the seals of Revelation are end-time events that take a lifetime or more to unfold? 

What if Jesus opened the first seal, a rider on a white horse, seventy years ago?

Formation of the State of Israel, the first seal. As a horse carries a rider on its back, God graciously carried Jews to the land he promised their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, where, on May 14, 1948, they established the first Jewish state in two thousand years. Israel has military strength (a bow), has won sovereignty (given a victor’s crown), and has fought several wars with neighboring Muslim nations, extending its borders (a conqueror bent on conquest).

Terrorism, the second seal. A rider on a red horse takes peace from the earth, making men slay each other. Violence and murder not only headline the news but touch us personally. GlobalIncidentMap.com monitors terrorism, gang activity, etc. in real time. The Global Terrorism Index ranks the nations of the world according to terrorist activity.

Hunger, the third seal. A rider on a black horse weighs grain for bread against a manual worker’s daily wage. The laborer will only be able to buy one loaf of wheat bread with what he earned that day. Yet there will be enough wine for people to party and become drunk. In developing countries one in eight people is at risk for hunger, nearly one in ten in my community. According to WikiAnswers the average daily wage in the world is $1.65. In many places that’s not enough to buy a loaf of bread!

Hate crime, the fourth seal. Death comes riding on a pale horse followed by a rider named Hell. The riders are given authority over one fourth of the earth, either earth’s geography or its population, to kill those they hate. Their crimes against humanity include mass killings, forced deportation, genocidal rape, etc. The UN secretary-general noted that the frequent occurrence of ethnic cleansing in the 1990s was not the by-product of war. Rather, civilians were deliberately targeted in an attempt to expel or eliminate segments of the population.

Christian Martyrs. When the fifth seal is opened, those who are slain for being faithful to the Word of God and for proclaiming Jesus, cry out to God for justice. The World Watch List ranks the top fifty countries where Christians face the greatest persecution. A world map at Persecution.org shows the thirty most recent persecution reports, including the deaths of Christians killed for their faith.

What if …? Then the first five seals of Revelation read like my lifetime!

And … Hate crime and violence against Christians will spread and intensify until the sixth seal is opened. The apostle Peter encouraged Christians to stand firm in the face of persecution. From the album “Apologia  Answers for Troubled Minds” this video is music overlaid on slides. 
Kathy

Click here for the seals of Revelation. 
Read about ethnic cleansing here

You can get print (PDF and/or digital (MusicXML)sheet music for Stand Firm.
Stand Firm
Click here for print sheet music.
Click here for digital sheet music.
(MusicXML™ is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music.
Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML™ files.) 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Word – Music Story


The present influences what we believe about the past.

Who was Jesus? A myth? A good man? A teacher? A prophet? Much hinges on the answer to that question.

The Apostle John answered that question in the prologue to his Gospel. Jesus, the Word, was in the beginning. He was with God. He was God. He created all there is. He became a man. He was rejected. He gives life to all who believe in him.

Did the early disciples actually believe this? Or was this a later construct?

The present influences what we believe about the past.

The John Rylands Library at Manchester, England houses fragments of ancient writings. In 1934 a fellow at St. John’s College at Oxford was sorting through some papyri from Egypt. He found a small fragment of the Gospel of John. Since penmanship constantly changes over time, papyri can be dated by its writing style. Originally dated by paleography to 117 – 138 AD, most scholars currently it date to 125 – 150 AD.
Public domain photo courtesy of JRUL
Earliest fragment of the Gospel of John

John was an eye witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Although it is traditionally believed that John wrote his Gospel while in Ephesus around 90 AD, he most likely wrote it before the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70.[1] His eyewitness account was copied and a copy made its way to Egypt. Within 100 years of Jesus’ death, Christians in Egypt had written eye witness testimony that Jesus lived, died, was buried and came back to life, and that he is God!

The present influences what we believe about the past.

The John Rylands Papyrus P52 shows that there was no time for myth and legend to develop between Jesus’ death and the Gospel of John showing up in Egypt. The early disciples believed Jesus was God. This was not a later construct.

I set John’s prologue to music and incorporated it in a musical. This video is scrolling playback of the song.
Kathy


Print (PDF) and digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for The Word are available at the MusicStories shop on Etsy.com.
The Word
Click here for The Word at MusicStories.
Click here to read about the John Rylands Papyrus P52



[1] John 5:2 “Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool …”

Monday, March 19, 2018

Magic Eight – Music Story

How do you celebrate your eighth birthday when you have a touch of Irish in your blood and were born on St. Patrick’s Day? Have a sleepover with four girlfriends and do as many mythical things as you can think of!

Wear fairy wings.
Fairy Wings


Make dragon snot slime.
Dragon Snot Slime


Store slime in dragon eggs.
Dragon Egg


Make mermaid brew from instant.
Instant Mermaid Brew


Toast with edible Jolly Rancher shot glasses.
Edible Jolly Rancher Shot Glasses


Serve unicorn poop ice cream with birthday cake.
Unicorn Poop Ice Cream


And, of course, your friends howl “Happy Birthday to You” like they were werewolves.

From the album “Silly or Celebratory – Songs for Sara Lily” this video is scrolling playback of the song.
Kathy

You can get print (PDF) and/or digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for Magic Eight.

Magic Eight
Click here for print sheet music (lead sheet format).
Magic Eight
Click here for digital sheet music for pop/rock band.
(MusicXML™ is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music. Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML™ files.) 




Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Song of Habakkuk – Music Story #2

A society governed by lists is easily corrupted. The words can be twisted. Even a list written on stone can be attacked with chisel and hammer.

His nation had deteriorated into a checklist society because their worship had deteriorated into a checklist religion. The law was intended to direct the passions of the heart toward its Maker. But they twisted it to justify unrestrained passion. Trickery and bribery were passion’s chisel and hammer; injustice, quarrels, fighting, and violence its outcome. The nation had become thoroughly corrupt. As a result God was sending a brutal people to conquer and deport them.

Twice Habakkuk asked God “why.” Both times God answered with “who,” inviting trust.

How can God be trusted when injustice rules the day and tomorrow is terrifying? Habakkuk considered the defining moment in his nation’s history. They had been slaves. God was angered by their circumstances. In God’s wrath he was merciful. He miraculously rescued them from slavery. As Habakkuk focused on God’s character and power, he trembled in awe. God had not changed. Even when angered, God was merciful. He was still Savior! He could be trusted!

Habakkuk was a singer-songwriter. He set his thoughts to music. He composed a worship song that would be his prayer then and when tomorrow became terrifying.

From the album “Apologia – Answers for Troubled Minds” this video is scrolling playback of music from the third chapter of Habakkuk. (Click here for music from the first two chapters.)
Kathy

Click here to read the third chapter of Habakkuk.

You can get print (PDF) and/or digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for The Song of Habakkuk – Part V.
The Song of Habakkuk - V
Click here for print sheet music (lead sheet format). 

The Song of Habakkuk - V
Click here for digital sheet music for trombone & strings.
(MusicXML™ is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music.
Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML™ files.) 

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Song of Habakkuk – Music Story #1

Everywhere he looked he saw violence and injustice. He was powerless to change it.

He was a singer-songwriter, a musician, a prophet, a student of his culture. He was deeply disturbed by the pervasive moral decay all around him. No one was able to stem the tide of violence and corruption. The wicked outnumbered the innocent. They intimidated the blameless, twisting the law, perverting justice. Ironically, these were God’s people who so flagrantly violated God’s laws.

He cried out to God, “How can you tolerate this? Why aren’t you doing something about this?”

God replied, “Watch and see what I am about to do.” God would send a brutal, godless nation to conquer and deport them. These warriors were a proud people who worshipped the works of their own hands. They were a law to themselves, believing that their cruelty was justified; their might made brutality right.

Confused, he complained to God. “Why do you let the wicked destroy people who are better than they? How can you condone this?”

God answered him, assuring him that these brutal people, too, would be punished. The wicked, never satisfied with what they gained, would bring about their own downfall and death, their gains turning to ashes in their hands. But the righteous person trusts God and lives! God’s justice would prevail and his glory would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Twice Habakkuk asked God “why” and both times God answered with “who.” Habakkuk wrote down his questions and God’s answers in the first two chapters of the book by his name. Then, in the third chapter, Habakkuk modeled what trust in God looks like in a morally corrupt society, one ripe for punishment.

From the album “Apologia - Answers for Troubled Minds” this video is scrolling playback of music from the first two chapters of Habakkuk. (Music from the third chapter here.)

Click here and here to read the first two chapters of Habakkuk.
Kathy

You can get print (PDF) and/or digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for The Song of Habakkuk I-IV.
the Song of Habakkuk Parts 1-4
Click here for print sheet music (lead sheet format). 
The Song of Habakkuk Parts 1-4
Click here for digital sheet music for orchestra.
(MusicXML™ is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music. Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML™ files.)