What is a song?

I had one of those nights where I just picked up my guitar and found a setting on my PODHD500 and then threw out three chords and just jammed on it. The inspiration then drove me to boot up Logic and create a drummer track. One region variation led to another and all of a sudden those three chords started sounding like a song.

That started me asking, “what is a song”?

It has to be more than the three chords I was playing. All of a sudden, this simple progression had feeling. It had emotional energy. It almost seemed to develop a life of its own. A song must embody these things. It must live, breathe and feel beyond the chords and notes that are playing. That must be how it connects with people, making people feel a certain way similar to the way that interactions between people do. A song may not be a person, but it is definitely alive in its own way.

In a way, these are things that I need to remember when I am writing a song. It’s not about the notes and chords that I chose. It’s about the life that is being given to it, whether by me or by God. I often find myself judging, and often condemming, a song long before its completion based on whether I like the notes, arrangement or whatever. However, there was still a connection to the song. That is what I should be judging a song by: that connection. If I’m feeling some life in the song that I am writing, even if it is just an ember, I should not abandon writing that song. If anything, like any ember, breathing a bit more life into it, like blowing on an ember, may be just what it needs to take on a life of its own.

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