Song prompt for today
Song prompt for today
Song prompt for today
Currently there is a commercial on TV that uses the chorus to this song in a rock climbing scene. I love the sound of the singer’s voice, so I search till I find a music video for it. Here is your song prompt. Enjoy the writing exercise today!
Today’s song prompt goes out to a regular reader who adores classical music. The first link is for his benefit. The second link is for those who like pop music. The second link shows the lyrics. Happy imagining! May the writing the song inspires be prodigious!
Classical version by Sissel and Josh Groban:
Television version by Christina Aguilera and Chris Mann:
This song prompt is dedicated to Lean, a regular reader and lover of all things Southern:
Song: Oh, Shenandoah Vocalist: Sissel
A hauntingly beautiful rendition by an extraordinary soprano in the classical style–enjoy!
My recent posts have included some crazy information. It’s a mad, mad world after all. In that vein, I offer you a new song prompt. It should be great fun to turn that imagination of yours loose on this theme. The song is Crazy, sung by Patsy Cline. I bet your grandmother knows this song!
Lyrics and song can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bUwPdt_ebU
Here’s your song prompt:
“Scotland the Brave”
Most of September’s posts were prepared in August. Consequently, the inspiration I got from first listening to Bizet Had His Day fizzled as time passed. I made the mistake of thinking I’d remember the storyline 4 weeks later. Wrong. So here’s the newly inspired short story from the early September song prompt. Hope you like it.
End of Day
by Fay Moore © 2012
The maestro is talking to the concert audience about the credentials of the solo pianist. The musician is about to play “Bizet Had His Day,” a popular composition with the annual subscribers.
“. . .attended Julliard. . .frequent guest soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Washington National Symphony, among others. . .guest appearances on Broadway and television. . . .”
Enthusiastic applause erupts as the performing artist walks on stage to the piano and seats himself. The house lights dim while the musician adjusts the back panels of his tuxedo jacket, ostentatiously flipping the fabric up and over the piano bench. He places his toes on the pedals, stretches his arms in front of himself to unbind the fabric of his sleeves from around his wrists and levitates his fingers over the keys. Once the audience is still as a midnight snowfall, the showman begins, playing with passion and flair.
At the conclusion, the audience explodes, the concussion of clapping reverberating through the hall as the soloist leaves the stage, after taking multiple bows. Off-stage he is patted on his back repeatedly, congratulated on another fine performance. On his way to his dressing room, he passes the make-up staff clustered around a snack table exchanging gossip, jokes and plans for the evening. He backs up several paces and calls out to the retinue.
“Hey, do you know where there’s a jazz club?”
He’s caught them off guard, and they stare at him blankly like a herd of heifers. Finally, a heavily tattooed one states there’s a club three blocks away. The pianist thanks him, gets directions, then goes and changes his clothes. When he passes the make-up staff again, on his way to the exit, the entourage doesn’t recognize him: he’s dressed in stained jeans, a long-sleeved, half-zipped hoodie and a knit cap pulled low over his hair and forehead. He looks like the maintenance man.
Once on the street, he pulls a harmonica out of his pocket and presses the instrument to his lips. He plays the blues in time with his slow strut up the urban street. When he reaches the closest intersection, it is choked with pedestrians, out enjoying the temperate fall evening. Some are walking home from work. Others seek a late dinner at one of many sidewalk cafes and pubs dotting the boulevard.
The pianist is hungry. He shoves his hand into his pocket and extracts his wallet. It’s empty. No cash.
“Damn. I’ve been picked by some stage hand again.”
He sounds more dejected than angry. He should know better. It’s for this very reason that he’s quit carrying a credit card to performance venues. He’s tired of the hassle of reporting lost cards. He’s learned to leave the card in the hotel safe and just carry a few bucks in his wallet. Most of the time, he stashes the wallet somewhere in the dressing room. Tonight he simply stuck the wallet inside one of his shoes. Big mistake.
He pivots on his heel, and starts to retrace his steps. His hotel adjoins the concert hall. He rolls his tongue in his throat, mimicking regurgitation. The thought of hotel food nauseates him.
The proximate noise of table conversation, the laughter of bar maids, the clink of glasses and flatware hook him. He rethinks his options. The well-lighted street is full of people. Most seem in good spirits: walkers are unhurried, diners are outside, those waiting in line for a table are talking animatedly with those around them. It’s a jovial vibe.
He positions himself under a street light, pulls the knit cap from his head, and places it on the ground in between himself and the sidewalk traffic. It’ll do to collect money. He plays his harmonica with eyes closed, wailing notes lilting softly over the thoroughfare. He plays from his soul, undisturbed by repetitive clinks from a mounting number of coins thrown in the cap by passersby. It takes about an hour to accumulate enough money to buy dinner. In the time he’s been playing, the dinner rush passes. Tables open up at each eatery.
Carrying his cap like a money bag of old, he finds the jazz club, goes inside and claims a table. He piles the coins in dollar stacks in front of himself before perusing the menu. He meets the waiter’s sarcastic smile with a wink. He orders an Irish beer and a bacon cheeseburger.
His plate is set in front of him during the best saxophone riff he’s ever heard. The waiter keeps silent, but asks with his eyes about another beer. The hungry street performer hands the waiter his empty glass. He bites the sandwich to find the burger is cooked perfectly. The bacon is crisp, the cheese sharp, and the sandwich hot. While he devours half of it, the jazz ensemble’s performance sizzles. Great music, good eats; it doesn’t get much better.
It’s the day’s end he’s been dreaming of.
by Fay Moore © 2012
The miners knock down the door to the manager’s office with a makeshift battering ram.
For several weeks, the miners at this South African platinum mine have been on strike about low wages, poor work conditions and other complaints. The effort is poorly organized. When the mine’s owners ignore the laborers’ concerns, the disenfranchised workers formulate a plan to hit the owners where it hurts: in their pocketbooks. They take their dispute to the next level. The workmen are done with talking.
First, all extraction of precious metals stops. Picket lines set up at entrances to the mine. Employees are warned–cross the picket lines at your own risk. Some of the idled men stand in the front of the mob with batons in hand, slapping the bats threateningly into open palms. The baton squad is ready to break bones—skulls or legs, it doesn’t matter. No one is going to work today.
Second, any equipment or infrastructure that is expensive to repair or replace is sabotaged or destroyed. The miners reason, if the owners fire the strikers and replace them with new bodies, mining cannot resume. Without the machines and mechanisms operational, miners can’t get the platinum out of the ground or out of the ore. Mined metals can’t be loaded onto trucks or railway cars to transport the valuable product to smelters or other buyers. If the metal doesn’t leave the mine, money doesn’t flow into the owners’ coffers.
Third, any cash in the manager’s office is to be expropriated to create a strike fund for the employees who participate in the work stoppage. The men with the battering ram are looking for the petty cash box.
With the expansion of automobile ownership in China and accumulation of precious metals by the world’s wealthy, the demand for platinum is up. Prices are high. The owners want to sell as much product as possible while conditions are lucrative. The mine uses day laborers to supplement the workforce during peak production. Day laborers are paid in cash. The strike organizers know the company’s currency cache is in the manager’s office.
Desperate men do reckless things. Once the cash box is located, it is broken open. Two men mount the office building’s flat roof. One has a loud speaker. Another has the cash box. The one with the loudspeaker calls the roving strikers in earshot to come. A dozen men stand below the speechmaker.
“It’s raining Rands. Catch the colorful bills and go home. Feed your families.”
The one with the cash box takes a handful of the paper currency and lets the money go. The paper pirouettes on wisps of air before parachuting to the ground. A dozen pairs of hands grab for the cash.
“Watch the money fall like autumn leaves. Tell the others to come over for their share as you depart,” is the order.
Suddenly vehicle engines roar. Shots ring out. The bull horn clatters to the ground. Men duck and scatter like buckshot as rubber bullets spray the area. The local police, aided by the military, arrive en masse and seize piles of metal rods, machetes and sticks. The cash box is captured though it’s empty, its contents evaporated. In another part of the compound, black smoke curls, an acrid combination from burning tires used as barricades by strikers and tear gas used to disperse the crowd.
A few rampaging men are captured and arrested. One protester harangues the policemen, accusing them of apartheid-era tactics. At the end of the day, legal authorities control the shuttered mine.
News reaches the dispelled strikers that five other platinum mines in addition to their own have been closed down due to protests.
“Just like autumn leaves. They’ll keep falling,” predicts one smiling man.
My e-friend T recommends the following song prompt for your writing pleasure:
“Autumn Leaves” by Louis Prima and Keely Smith
As I listened to this piece of music, composed in 1948 solely from the sounds a train makes, vivid images came to mind. It surprised me how quickly a story started forming in my head. However, it is weeks earlier than this song prompt will post as I write this. So I’ll have to wait to see what happens when I listen to this “music” again. This may be the most interesting song prompt yet, since its melody is composed from environmental sound.
Title: Etude aux Chemins de Fer
Composer: Pierre Schaeffer