Songwriting Challenge Megathread

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    Capital ISLAND it is lol.
    Was the Goanna song called solid rock?
    I looked up the washtub bass.. Looks rad but tricky! Did you have try?


    It was Solid Rock. Jim sent a couple links where they’re playing it live with the didgeridoo, and the official recorded version. I want to check out more of their songs now. I talked to my parents about the washtub bass last night. Apparently it was my dad’s friend’s, and he just held onto it for a long time. My dad’s friend took it back, but it doesn’t seem too hard to make. In Japanese those tubs are called Tarai, so that’s what my mom called it. I think I might have tried playing it a couple times, but I was too young at the time and didn’t understand music, so I didn’t get to try it out seriously. My mom told me a story last night where they were having a potluck, and people were playing music with the Tarai. Someone else was playing spoons, but one of the spoons was my grandmas serving spoon. So they had to ask for it back when they were leaving the party. Another lady took different spoons and gave it to the guy, so my mom and her family could leave.


    That is gold.


    Great song Kathy. Love hearing about all the cool stuff you have in Australia that we just don’t have here in the states. If you record again adding the gum leaf playing would be awesome, although you have such a pretty singing voice, maybe you don’t need the gum leaf ? Didn’t know that was a thing. The link you sent was awesome. We can only whistle with hay grass, bottle caps or you can always find an acorn cap to play ?

    Btw Nice Mya Moe!
    Chris and Sue


    Haha, maybe we should make part of the next challenge, “Incorporate a homemade or improvised instrument.”


    That is so cool!! It reminds me of your cute squirrels
    And I am also jealous you have racoons! Adorable.

    And thank you so much.
    I love the new Mya moe so much but still getting used to the extra strings so there’s the occasional twang hahahah. Nothing a bit of practice won’t fix.

    When I went to the states I really liked how you could get root beer on tap everywhere… It is very similar to our ‘sarsparilla’ which is my favourite but you can’t get it everywhere let alone free refills!
    I also loved Sedona. I got cowgirl boots there and it was sooo pretty❤️

    That would be pretty interesting Kahai!
    Things are getting pretty creative?


    Very nice Kathy. Enjoyed listening to it just now before starting my work for the day!

    And that acorn whistle is LOUD! Reminds me of my childhood days when the balloon seller on the streets (a rare breed these days) would also offer these cheap, plastic things that would test the limits of our ear drums! Some of my friends in school also used to make loud whistling sounds using rose petals as a membrane; I never managed to get anything beyond a whisper though!

    Anyway, here is Hamsini’s piece, in collaboration with Harini – they did not fight with each other over some trivia and instead worked together after quite a while! For some reason, probably motivated by Harini learning some Schumann pieces on the piano, they wanted to name their song in German!



    When I was listening a magpie came to listen too hahah. He left when the song was over I think he liked it
    Well done


    We love Hamsini’s collaboration with Harini. You both did a great job. After listening to the open mic, we were hoping you would play something together for the song challenge. We loved it!


    Here’s our latest song challenge tune, “On the Dance Floor, We Do it Swing Style.”

    Since we can’t play very fast, this is a VERY SLOW swing song. Maybe best for “work station chair-dancing.” We recorded several tracks using Garage Band: Baritone bass line picking; baritone strum; high-G and low-G tenor strum: high-G and low-G tenor melodies … plus our favorite “apple” maraca keeping time.

    You can listen to the song on this Google Drive link. Enjoy. Chris and Sue


    So funky guys!!


    Thank you. We’ve been practicing improvising with the blues. Great fun! Aldrine and the guys have taught us so much. Thanks guys!


    Harmsini’s piece…



    How soft is this soft deadline?
    Thanks for asking my question about the emotional impact of certain chords… Mike made a good point about the use of minor chords in some uplifting traditional songs, but that’s more a product of the tempo, which he also pointed out.

    Me, I think it’s both cultural and inherent. Can a new parent who’s never had infants around just listen to a baby’s cry and react neutrally?, “Well there’s an interesting combination of out of phase harmonics.”.. Cats are the minor chords specialists of the animal world. A kitten’s mewl con hit the back of the spine of a person almost as much as a babies can. Mammals make distress sounds that are hard-wired in our heads. Minor chords are perhaps echoing the resonance of these “I’m in trouble” noises… Just a thought.

    In my first two challenges, I wrote about orange fruits and veggies, a dog having its day, and in homage of the UU itself, I pay tribute to my black, UU baseball cap which I lost on a bus back in 2013.

    I hope it’s okay if I replaced the I __ V with a i ___v, feeling the minr chords matched my sadness over the hat. I think this is i-vii-v… Dm-Cm-Am

    My UU Hat:


    I wrote this on “old forum” tonight…

    In early April, as I was looking ahead towards a couple of months of not a lot of employment whilst living in a country on the verge of civil war, I thought I’d take the time to do something I’d never done: get professional ukulele lessons. Where to turn? Where I’ve been since 2009 – where we are right now.

    What have I learned? In no particular order of importance:
    1. the worm and the ukulele dexterity challenge
    2. the importance of warming up
    3. The major scale, HHhHHHh
    3.5 The minor scale HhHHhHH
    4. a new way to play the E chord on a GCEA uke
    5. Inside-out plucking technique
    6. A song is in the key of whatever scale we find its major chords
    7. The II V I chord progression

    There’s lots of other little trivial things as well like Jake Shimabukuro got known for the flat top headstock on his uke accidentally. And important stuff about myself as a player came from self-reflection as opposed to direct tutelage. It’s self-reflection I wouldn’t have been doing had I not been a student. I also learned the Aldrine Guerrero is the nice guy he seems to be, but a no-nonsense teacher. The one time I tried mildly disagreeing with him on something, with a “well, what about…”, he give me a look and made a noise that made things perfectly clear who was the teacher and who was the student.

    They have a monthly song-writing challenge there for students, and on the very night of the deadline, I felt compelled to get SOMETHING submitted, even if it was schlock because the winner is chosen at random. The post above this one was my previous entry into the challenge incorporating the theme of “My dog has _____” and an optional II V ! chord progression. This next hack job had a Mad Libs theme again with “On the _____, we do it _____ style, and a Mad Libs chord progression of I ___ V. (the IV just belongs there!_) and tried the ii in the middle position, and you’ll hear the results the (I ii V)(I ii V) redefines its measures and becomes: I)(ii V I)(ii V I) – the same II V ! that sounded cool in the Every DOg has its Day
    They accepted my last minute submission, and due to the luck of the wheel, guess what? This stream-of-conscious improv won the contest – and I’m getting some of Aldrine’s signature strings sent to me here in Myanmar. Cool.

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