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Songwriting Sketches – The Exorcism of Marjorie Grace

For the 50/90 challenge I’d thought I’d try something different and write a set of lyrics before I composed any music. Usually, I write lyrics and music at the same time, starting of with melody ideas and a mixture of possible lyrics, nonsense verse and random ‘la’ and ‘doo’ sounds. This time I forced myself to write lyrics to ‘The Exorcism of Marjorie Grace’ before I sang a note.

I haven’t finished yet, I’m about halfway. However, I’ve recorded some sketches, so I thought I’d share the process with you.

Sketch one – The chorus melody

Something interesting happened as I was writing the lyrics. The music started to come to me anyway, even though it was just me, the pen and the paper. It became clear that the rhythm of the words fit with a 6/8 time signature, and would sound something like the first section off the video.

Sketch two – Verses, choruses and some instrumental ideas

I haven’t quite defined them yet, but there are going to be some twiddley guitar parts centred on arpeggios of the root minor chord and the second diminished chord.

The verses also use those chords, but with an extra major sixth in the minor chord to contrast with the minor sixth of the scale in chord 2. This allows me to emphasise those notes in the melody, moving from the B to a Bb and then A, G, D. A couple of chromatic notes give’s the music a dark feel, which matches the mood nicely.

Sketch 3 – Middle eight and final chorus

The middle 8 is longer than 8 bars, and takes a simple idea through three different keys. This matches the rising tension as they try to Exorcise Marjorie.

The final chorus is in the major key instead of the minor. That’s a simple idea but not one I often use. Marjorie is now free of her demons so the music reflects her new hope.

Hopefully the song will be finished some time soon. When it is, I’ll share it with you.

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