Posts categorized "Music"

How to write a great song

Most people do not just wake up one day and decide to write a song. Most importantly, songwriters are huge music fans. We are deeply moved by music—to the extent that we know exactly what we like and dislike, regardless of a song’s popularity, public status, or the opinions of our friends.

A songwriter is someone who so loves music that you constantly sing along. One day, you decide that singing is not enough. You pick up a guitar for the first time, or sit in front of the keyboard, and you begin the long, enjoyable (but at first challenging) process of learning to play the songs you love.

As time goes by, you continue to build a massive music collection / soundtrack to your life. You also learn the chords and play almost every day. Without any goals or intentions, you gradually get better over the years.

One day, you become a little bored with the idea of learning to play yet another cover song. You start playing around with some of the chord progressions used in your favorite songs. You try different combinations, guided only by what sounds good to you. Eventually, you come across something that sounds so good that you get a bit excited.

From this beautiful feeling of inspiration, and without any thought, you sing whatever comes to your mind. You play and experiment with the melodies, just as you did with the chords, until you find something that inspires you further and makes you feel even more excited. You take out the voice recorder app on your phone and capture it. Do not forget to say what the chords are at the end of your little demo (you might forget later).

Now you have the foundation for a song. On a few occasions, I was able to create an entire song that felt complete this easily. Most of the time, I take the foundation and go to my laptop to start writing. This can be done the same day, or you can wait a while and listen to the demo again to see if you still like it.

While this final stage of the songwriting process involves some work, it is important that you feel good during the process. If you are not enjoying it, just stop. Nothing beautiful can be created from a place of not feeling good—and the purpose of great music is to inspire, to invoke awareness of beauty, and to communicate in the language of emotion.

Guided entirely by your own intuition and tastes, you continue to play with the words and melodies. If what you hear is not awesome, try something else. If it feels perfect, leave it. If you feel differently about it next week, change it. Keep going between your instrument and your computer until every part of the song, all the transitions, the whole thing feels even better than the songs you like. If you hit a brick wall, just put that song aside and come back later if you feel inspired.

You may spend years writing songs and very few become so great that they are better than what you listen to. Not every song turns out. Organize them into category A, B, and C. Keep writing. Play the best songs for your friends. Play them on your own. Notice which ones you want to play most. Enjoy the music and your accomplishment. You are a songwriter.

Great songwriting is a natural, unplanned, slowly evolving journey undertaken by the true music fan. In my experience, the best songs are written by music fans, not trained musicians. Too often, professionally trained musicians have become detached from their musical taste. Their tastes are corrupted by the external authorities (teachers). The trained musician fears making a mistake, not being good enough, and the process isn’t as playful.

Through the enjoyable, slow process I have described, the required technical aspects of music are understood at a deep enough level to create beauty. Too much analysis and technical perfection detracts from what gives music its value: its ability to emotionally communicate. For example, if a song is written from ambition, it will annoy the listeners with the emotion of ambition. If a song is written to be technically impressive, it will weigh the listeners down and fail to lift them up emotionally.

You want to write songs that leave your audience feeling inspired, positive, free, playful, and confident enough to trust their own feelings. This is communication, and true communication can only happen between two people who are honest and open. Greatness must be real and genuine. There is no hack, and you cannot fake it.   

One day, you become bored with just writing. Now you decide to record. Perhaps that is a different post. Have fun with your songwriting. Check out Abscondo music anywhere you normally find music! We continue, in truth, beauty, and freedom, tomorrow and each day after that.

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About the new song "Us (Friendship)" from the Life Light album

The final track on the Life Light album is a playful, yet meaningful song about the difficulty in forming friendships and relationships with people who are closed. The ego is suspicious at best and vicious at worst, which makes any close connection with someone who lives in the egoic state (the vast majority of people today) impossible.

Throughout my adult life, I've always felt too isolated and lonely. Even while in a close relationship or marriage, union with one person never felt like enough. I never have understood how people can choose to live so cut-off, trapped either alone or in one jealous relationship. Furthermore, rather than finding reasons to connect and celebrate life, people constantly judge and focus on differences. Yet it is precisely in those differences that relationships have value, flavor, color.

On the level of the soul, we are all the same. All sharing the same core needs, we are one and we crave closeness. This is what makes us truly happy...so much so that we forget the problems of the world. Yet the mind is so utterly confused about love that it does everything possible to block union by finding problems, differences, projecting and attacking. Back when I had an ego, I was able to form drama-based relationships with other egos (with brief moments of true love or friendship). But now, after my awakening, it is more difficult. Ego and spirit cannot communicate at all. Nothing I am, do, or say feeds the ego in the other, and so I have become useless to egos.

I remain entirely open, loving everyone and everything, without limits or restrictions. I am grateful for my one holy relationship and my partner and I remain open to others who are also open. "Us (Friendship)" is a fun song that might even make you smile. Listen here.

"Us (Friendship)" by Abscondo

The album will be available everywhere in the coming days or weeks, but in the meantime you can listen to our download the full album on Bandcamp.

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Lyrics:
Why is friendship not much fun anymore?
Why’s it so hard to get people to explore?
What is it they’d rather do
Than spend some time with you?

I admit sometimes I push too hard
I say things that sometimes go too far
But there’s nothing I would rather do
Then spend my time with you.

Why’s it so hard to get people to agree
To open up and be themselves with me?
Doesn’t it frustrate you too
How they hide themselves from you?

I admit sometimes I say too much
I say things that maybe shake you up
But there’s nothing I’d rather do
Then say these things to you

You know I like you
I’d like to show you
And when I know you
Then you will know you too

I know this scares you
And you will run away
I will let you go
There’s nothing I can say
What’s real between us cannot be lost

 

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About the song "With (Scent of Youth)" by Abscondo

This is one of two songs on the Life Light album that I wrote long ago. This is the oldest, having been written probably around 2007 or 2008 to celebrate the ending of a beautiful, perfect relationship that remains eternal even if it was never meant as a "real world" partnership. 

Each relationship in our lives has its own special color, flavor and texture. Each is sacred, none are to be compared with others, and if it can be called a relationship at all then it contains everything of value in this life: beauty, pleasure, memories, lessons, friendship, union, love.

I honor all relationships as sacred, none have much to do with the others. If we are to live properly, in the light of truth, we must find the courage to always remain honest and open. This was a lesson that I took a long time learning but now live.

"With (Scent of Youth)" by Abscondo

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Lyrics:
In the days with you
In the words we said and the songs we knew
In our solitude
How you're just like me when you're just like you
We'd always quiet all the pain
When constant change was all we'd known
And when you're walking in the rain you sing my song
Cuz it meant so much to you
And though we're through, we're still whole
You forever are the scent of youth, you'll stay that way
A breath of you seeps right into what's natural
In the ways we grew
In the nights of red, in the days of blue
In our eyes we knew
You could see through me when I saw through you

We never needed to explain
To entertain we lost control
You learned to dance around the pain I still sing this song
Oh it meant so much to you
And though we're through, we're still whole
You forever are the scent of youth, you'll stay that way
A breath of you seeps right into what's natural

 

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About the song "Present" from the new album Life Light

"Present" is about the slow spiral that eventually spelled the end of my marriage and I'm sure can be applied to any struggling or failing relationship. If two people want their love to work, they need only decide to love in the present. The past can hold no power, the future can be of no concern. That's just the stuff of the mind, and indeed, the mind gets in the way.

I wrote the first half of this song in one take without any plan at all. I pressed "record" on my phone, strummed a few chords, and this is what came out. I wrote the second part of the song later for the simple reason that it wasn't long enough yet.

"Present" by Abscondo

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Lyrics:
How many times did I try to tell you
That my love for you will never fade
And how many times have you cried?
But I tell you that everything’s okay.

Everyday I’m looking for a new me
Come along with me and play

Not in time but here today
Maybe this is not the ending
But I think it probably is based on what you said that last evening
But if you ever change your mind, do it soon
Because we’re dying slowly, my love
This is ending

What did you find behind those reasons?
Did you look beyond the mind?
Sometimes the mind gets in the way, love
Our minds get in the way
But if you ever need to find a true answer in time
You’re looking in the wrong direction
The answer is not found in time, love
But in the present

How many times did you try to tell me
What I need to do and simply cannot be
How many times did I hide these things from you
Now in the end you see

So today you’re looking at the real me
What else am I supposed to say?
I know it hurts but we’ll be okay

Maybe this is our beginning
I mean me and you as two separate, free beings
I guess we’ll both end up just fine, pretty soon
I know you’re still crying my love, but this stage is ending

What did you find behind those reasons?
Did you look beyond the mind?
Sometimes the mind gets in the way, love
Our minds get in the way

But if you ever need to find a true answer in time
You’re looking in the wrong direction
The answer is not found in time, love
But in the present

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About the songs "In" and "Strangers"

The next two songs I am combining into one post. They are more straightforward pop songs. "In" is a classic love song that I wrote right at the very beginning of my relationship with my partner, Zuzana. I released three albums since then but, for whatever reason, this song never quite fit on any of them. I think the style fits perfectly on the album Life Light and am happy to finally share this song that I've loved for a long time.

"In" by Abscondo

Lyrics:
Do you feel the beat inside your heart
When you go someplace you shouldn’t go?
Why you keep in locked inside so tight?
Why are you afraid to let it show?
When I really look into your eyes
I see all I need to know
Oh, girl I see your soul
I see your soul
All my friends won't stop asking me
Just I want, what kind of girl she'll be
What should I tell them when they cannot see
I'm not like them
I need to be free
When you really look into my eyes
I'll show you all you need to know
When I really look into your eyes
I see all I need to know
Oh girl I see your soul

The next song on the album is called "Strangers". I wrote this right at the beginning of the so-called pandemic as a reflection of my ongoing state of being then, now, and always. I am wide open to people and crave much more closeness and honesty, but that's now most people live in this ego-dominated world of separation. So until that begins to change, which it will, we continue to find our way alone. 

"Strangers" by Abscondo

Lyrics:
These days I’m not afraid of strangers
Sometimes I even look them straight on in the eye
And these days I’m not afraid of saying
Just what exactly is right there on the tip of my mind

I’m taking what is mine
Do what I want to with my time
I guess I had to find my way alone

I’ve never been quite this wide open
Just ready to embrace whatever comes my way
But these day’s I just walk these streets hoping
You’re not just a beggar who’s gonna ask me for some change

I’m keeping what is mine
Do what I want to with my time
I guess we all have to find our way alone

These days I’m not afraid of strangers
Someday someone’s gonna take me by surprise
And these days I’m on my guitar playing
Don’t care if you listen or if you don’t have the time

I guess I’m doing fine
Do what I want to with my time
That’s how I found my way alone

Life light Cover

 

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About the song "Light" by Abscondo

Too often, people look to relationships and marriage expecting someone else to make them happy. When two people do this together, the absurdity of the situation is quite evident. Here you have two individuals who have not yet discovered the inner source of joy, the escape from ego as the one and only way to end suffering, who are both looking to get from the other what they do not possess.

This type of relationship usually doesn't last. By relying upon anyone else as your source of happiness, your expectations are impossible to meet and you end up blaming the other person when you fail to get that impossible thing you expected. Eventually, the relationship is filled with bitterness and resentment. 

Yes, a new relationship is very exciting. You can forget your problems for a while, you can explore that new relationship energy, you can open your heart and mind...for a time, you do become happy. But it is not the object of your affection that brings you feelings of loving bliss; rather, your decision to give and receive love.

If two lovers learn to live in the state where love flourishes, then that blissful feeling will never fade. Love flows from within, and a perfect relationship is one where the source of love is known and it is never restricted.  

As the song declares, "baby doesn't need a ring...that ain't the solution to her suffering...gotta turn her light on." This is a fun, playful, 2-chord song with really no structure (I'm not even sure what the chords are!). Like "Now (Out Here Alone)", it came out in one take and I didn't change it. Enjoy!

"Light" by Abscondo

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Lyrics:

Baby doesn’t need a ring
That’s not the solution to her suffering
Gotta turn her light on
Gonna turn her light on
Where she goes, I go
Where we go, I know
That everything we do and everything we say
Are of the purest intentions
And what we don’t even mention
Is what we need to do
And what we need to be
I won’t do that to you
Please don’t do that to me
Because we already are everything

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About the song "Life (Whispers)" by Abscondo

While we tell ourselves that suffering is caused by difficult situations or circumstances, in truth it is our constant stream of thoughts that pull us away from joy, peace and love. A fearful, worried mind will always find reasons to panic. This panic is fed back into the body as stress. As stress accumulates, the mind goes even more mad as a reaction to the body's lousy feelings. This is the cycle of suffering and illness.

But if we can learn to ignore the worried thoughts and, instead, listen to the whispers of the soul, then ongoing joy is entirely possible. Herein lies love, inspiration, perception of beauty. Through the formless dimension of the soul or spirit, you align with joy. While the circumstances of the world remain important on some level, and you do your best each day, your happiness no longer depends upon any particular situation or circumstance. You are free and your life becomes a total success; not as a result of external accomplishment but through the inner dimension where you are always in full control.

That's what the song "Life (Whispers)" is about. Enjoy listening here and download wherever you normally get your music in the coming days or weeks.

"Life (Whispers)" by Abscondo

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Lyrics:
So I know life is tough
The system is unjust
And when you’ve had enough
They come back for some more
Where are you supposed to go?
How are you supposed to know?
With voices in the head
And whispers of the soul
So I know money’s tight
You lied awake last night
While she always fights
You come back from more
Cuz where are you supposed to go?
And how are you supposed to know?
With voices in the head
And whispers of the soul
Don’t be afraid to lose
Those few illusions that you kept so half-alive
Now, do as you choose
And as you do you know the truth will flood your eyes

So I know you’re filled with fear
The truth seems so unclear
But you can stand right here
There’s nowhere you need to go
There’s nothing else to know
Just to please let go
Of the voices in the head
When you’ve got whispers of the soul

So I know life is tough
The system is unjust
And when you’ve had enough
You can just let go

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Music video for "Now (Out Here Alone)"

From the album Life Light. This is only the second ever Abscondo music video. I had so much fun conceiving the idea, filming it, editing it, and releasing it all during the course of one rainy day. More to come!

 

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