17.12.06

Diamond in the Rough

It's messy, writing a song. You'll get an idea for a couple of lines and write them down, then go back and revise it, switch a couple of words, or change the lines completely. This is good. You don't want to settle for second best if you don't have to. Remember, you are the word smith. You can do whatever you need to do to make your song the best that it can be.

When you get a song that you are sure is from God, it's tempting to just keep it as it is, but don't give in to the temptation--don't be afraid to revise. You may find it helpful to get another songwriter to help you, but it can be uncomfortable giving your song to someone else. It may be better to tweak your own methods of sharpening a song.

But now, back to the mess. when I write a song, I will cover a page or sometimes pages with lines, notes and rhyme ideas. It's never neat. There are lines and words scratched out all over the place with repacements written above, below, or in the margins. I have found recently that it helps me break a mental block when I just start writing down ideas for lines, whether they rhyme or have the right syllables, or not. Then I can just go back and edit what I have to make it work. In fact, I'm looking at a page right now where I wrote one of my better-known songs, and I can't help thinking "What a mess! How did could a good song come out of that?" But that's the whole idea--it's a diamond in the rough that has to be worked to get something worthwhile out of it.

To show you how the editing process can go, I'll give you an example using the song that I just mentioned:

Who You Are
(c) 2005 Tim Heider

You're my Light and my Glory
And ev'ry good thing comes from You
Endless grace flows from the Father
I worship You in spirit and in truth

Your truth endures through generations
Your majesty outshines the brightest star

You reign above all others
Kingdoms tremble; nations bow to who You are
You are Lord; there is no other
The Lord of Heaven has been crowned the King of hearts
You are Lord, and I bow to who You are.

It took me a long time to write this song. I just couldn't find the right lyrics. Even when I did find them, it took me a while to actually decide that I liked them. I would work on an idea, scratch it out, and rewrite it. Here is roughly what my edited page looked like (the italicized sections are what I crossed out and the boldened sections are what replaced it):

You're my Light and my Glory
And all good ev'ry good thing come comes from You
Endless grace flows from the Father
I worship You in spirit and in truth

Deep inside, my soul so longs to see you
Your truth endures through generations
Your majesty outshines the sun and brightest star

You reign above all others
Kings will Kingdoms tremble; nations bow to who you are
You alone; there is no other
You are God; there is no other
You are Lord; there is no other
Earth and Heaven both declare that You are God
The Risen King is now living in my heart
The King of Heaven has been crowned the king of hearts.
You are Lord and I bow to who You are

Quite a bit different from the finished product. In addition to what was crossed out in this example, there where also some other ideas and phrases to start the next lines. That's how it's done. It takes some work and some hard thinking to get a song to sound the way you want it to, but it's worth it.

By the way, if you want to hear an audio clip of this song, click the Beta Records advertisement or the "Tim's Song Page" link to the right.

Tim Heider

1 Comments:

Blogger Christa Heider said...

Yes, the critique of another songwriter is vety helpful - as you well know that I know. (=

5:23 PM  

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