Music As Metaphor

September 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

I am, I suppose, an odd duck (as they used to say in quaint British comedies and movies) when it comes to songwriting. When I write a song, I don’t really write music. That is to say, I come up with a melody in my head but do not notate the music. Instead, I record what I have and hope my wife and arranger can hear the chords and write them down.

To perhaps remedy that or at least to help me communicate what I think I hear when I write a song, I began taking guitar lessons from an accomplished local guitarist. I tried lessons when I first bought my guitar more than 20 years ago. The instructor, though, seemed to have a one-size-fits-all approach that did not work for me. That, plus the fact that I was not writing much at the time, led me to stop lessons not long after starting.

I hope and believe this time will be different. For one, I’m older (and maybe a tad wiser, but who can tell?). Second, I know my instructor, and we have a number of friends and acquaintances in common, which I hope will help to make me more diligent and accountable. Third, I am writing more frequently and, I believe, better than in the past, and I want to get as many of these songs out there as I can.

I’ve had a couple of instances in the last week where I was a bit nervous and apprehensive heading into something I had scheduled. Last week, it was a songwriters workshop. Yesterday, it was my first guitar lesson. In each case, I got the beginnings of a song out of that nervousness and anxiety.

This song uses music as a metaphor for a failed relationship. It is, perhaps, a bit too clever; I don’t know. I’ll let others be the judge. I simply present it here for your consideration.

Measure By Measure

I haven’t always found the notes or known the tune
Sometimes, I feel I’m living out of time
Seems I’ve always been too late or come too soon
Always grasping for the rhyme

Our rhythms never seemed to coincide
One of us always fast or slow
Measure by measure we lost the melody
Until one of us had to go

We always seemed to move at different speeds
And never quite in harmony
I thought that love played best as a simple song
You wanted a symphony

Major and minor scales that always clashed
Falling in and out of key
Measure by measure we fell out of time
Your song had no part for me


Sometimes I wonder how we fell out of tune
No longer singing with a single voice
I always thought that our duet would last
But I’m soloing again; I guess I’ve got no choice

Maybe one day I’ll finally learn the chords
And learn to play love’s melody
Don’t know if I can learn the third or fifth
Living in a minor key

I guess our opus will stay incomplete
A movement now that is unplayed
Measure by measure we strayed from the score
Until our song began to fade
Until our song began to fade

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.


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