Miscellaneous songs

All my poems and songs that I care to share that aren’t part of a larger work.

Zip file of everything here with MIDI, Cakewalk and PDF files (not MP3).

The Four Physicists – Oct 98

Christian is a physicist, his exam mark was HD
He sits upon the window sill to see what he can see
Or he sits at the computer playing Vegas Solitaire
He loses nearly every time but doesn’t really care

Eric is a physicist, our party’s youngest member
He hasn’t combed his hair this week or shaved since last December
He’s an expert at Minesweeper and he’s not too bad at Hearts
Instead of doing physics he’d prefer performing arts

Matthew is a physicist, his accent is a laugh
He comes from across the border and says “graff” instead of “graaph”
Matthew is a chemist, sometimes he goes to do some chem
And comes back in an hour to find we haven’t worked since then

Philip is a physicist, a famous one for this
He gave us Philip’s Postulate, and this is what it is:
“Suppose I had a lot of cash, five thousand dollars, say
Then I would buy a motorbike and ride here every day”

My spree of writing music didn’t start until a year later, but this was a precursor. I worked with Matthew, Philip and Christian for our Physics II project, in which we calculated the speed of sound by finding resonant frequencies in a pipe. There was not that much work for the four of us to do most of the time, so we spent much of the time looking out the window, playing on the computer in the lab and doing nothing. Once the four of us played a large-grid game of noughts & crosses. Our apparatus looked like something from Play School with its cardboard boxes and PVC pipe, so I set out to write a Play School style song. After writing a verse about each of us I decided it would be better left without music.

Colin is Late – May 00 - MIDI - PDF

Colin is late! We think it’s time we got here
He’s never on time, but it still is not clear
Why his whole life is ten minutes behind
The rest of the class but he doesn’t mind
It doesn’t look like he can get ahead
Late to rise and always late to bed
This is the story every day
And this allows us to come and say

Colin is late! Therefore we could
Take advantage of his absence, he should
Be here but since he isn’t, nothing prevents
Us singing a song about him at his expense
To change someone’s habits isn’t in our power
But we want him to come here at the proper hour
Although Colin’s lateness is a source of fun
In the end something must be done

Colin is late! So we’ll go creeping
Into his house tonight when he is sleeping
Change all the clocks so they’re ten minutes fast
Colin will come here on time at last
That trick is short-lived, he will turn the clocks back
When he finds what we’ve done, then again he’ll be slack
If he changes his ways then that would be great
Until he does, we can sing Colin is late!

2000 was Colin’s first year at uni, and he soon got into the habit of leaving home late and missing the beginning of the first lecture of each day. I said that if Physics I was a TV show, he would not know its theme song because he had hardly seen the beginning of any physics lectures, being at 9:10 three mornings a week. This gave me the idea, and I wrote the words. In my excitement I couldn’t wait until I had written 24 lines to write the music (SATB quartet), so there were only 22 lines, with two lines missing (filled in 21 months later). The first four lines of each section have the same tune, but the other 12 lines are different. We sang it before the physics lecture on Fri 12 May just before Colin arrived (on time that day). The song was written with no specifics to Colin’s particular situation, so his name could easily be replaced by another’s.

Sonata for Clarinet and Piano – Dec 00 – MIDI - PDF

In Dec 99, I met Kate and Jacinta Gibbs on holiday from Melbourne, who were playing the clarinet and keyboard at the shops where I worked. I spent some time (on the job!) juggling with them, adding to their takings. They didn’t have any arrangements they could play together, so I said I would write one and send it to them. It took me a year to get around to it. Two eight bar tunes are exposed, developed and recapitualted in the usual sonata style. The clarinet part is written in G major but sounds in F.

Boehm Family Farm – April 01 - MIDI

Well before five in the morning we drive to Uraidla which isn’t too far
But it’s so very dark that it’s quite hard to park without hitting a tree or a car
Our job is to toil and take from the soil of the Boehm family farm on Swamp Road
Where the big lettuce field won’t fail to yield a good crop every time it is sowed
All of the lettuce we cut doesn’t get us the profit we wish we could pull
For the price is so high for the cartons we buy, that we hardly get more when they’re full
Though Adelaide may have a very hot day on the farm it’s so cool, it’s much better
And whenever it rains on the Adelaide plains, in the hills it will always be wetter

Then when it cools down and it’s pleasant in town on the farm it’s uncomfortably cold
It’s below eight degrees and your fingers will freeze from the frost-covered lettuce you hold
The most blessed of the crew must be those of us who though we are not related by birth
Are treated as such though we don’t cut as much yet are paid a bit more than we’re worth
With pure city blood and not used to the mud when we started to work in the hills
Since we were hired we never acquired the techniques nor the methods or skills
When we’re at the Boehm family farm we’re at home and the credit for that goes to Mary
We’re the most lucky ones, Mary treats us as sons, even though it is not necessary

She’s an asset to the place
She tells us that we needn’t race
When we, not keeping with the pace
Ring to say we’ve overslept
We’re glad to have a boss like Deane
At other places we have been
The bosses could be rather mean
Deane’s patient though we are inept

Deane can always keep his calm
When one arrives late at the farm
Because he’s slept through his alarm
Dean grins and asks him “How was she?”
Oh, they pay us very well
The other veg’table they sell
Is one which we can sing to spell
C A B B A G E

We’re glad to work for H. K. Boehm and Co.
There’s nowhere else to work we’d rather go
This season we will cut whatever will grow
And if anyone offers us higher-paid jobs, we’ll say no
The work that everyone of us enjoys
Is cutting the CABBAGE, especially the savoys
We do it so quick that Deane has to tell us “Slow down boys”
Because we love to throw the cabbage around, especially the savoys
Once a month, before the end of night
We see the full moon setting, something seen by few
And when the Picadilly valley comes into light
Not many workplaces offer such a view
Mount Bonython and Mount Lofty are in sight
If anyone out of work only knew
How great this workplace is they would write
Letters to Dean saying “Let us cut lettuce we want to cut lettuce with you”

My time working at the Boehms’ farm in 00-02 was so good that it warranted this song. I liked it there for many reasons – everyone was nice to each other, we ate lots of food on the house and we were paid well, all in contrast with the flower farm where I previously worked for a fortnight. It took three weeks for me to realise that half of the workers there were related (three different surnames). That explained why it was the good place I described, and the great thing was that people outside the family working there, like myself, were treated as one of the family, even though in my case I didn’t learn the skills the others had, and did the simpler tasks. Also noteworthy is that Deane didn’t shout at us when we erred, when others in his position could have lost their temper with us, and in my case, dismissed me.

The song is in 6:8 time. The first section is in quavers, and the second is in crotchets, so the speed is such that you can pronounce all the words in the first part without getting bored in the second, in fact the second part should probably be accelerated. There are a piano and flute accompaniment (the flute had to be included as the modern flute was designed by Theobald Boehm). The two tunes, both eight lines lone and played twice for the 64 bars in each section, have the same piano part. The third section is an anaccompanied quartet. Then the first and second sections are played at the same time. CABBAGE is one of the longest words made up only of notes of the scale, so the word in its tune is heard a few times. The vocal parts were all written for myself, hence the quartet with limited range.

The influence of Gilbert & Sullivan is seen in this song (I was in the chorus for The Yeomen of the Guard when I wrote it). It’s the first song in which I have kept to a rhythmic pattern like this, with no missed syllables in the middle of a line, and with a high frequency of rhyming words. It could be the result of having in my head the double chorus from Ruddigore (“The sons of the tillage…”). I worked hard to get all the words I could to say what I had to say before realising it would be 271 bars long, coming to four and a half minutes at six syllables per second in the fast section.

 Duet from Eva’s adventure – Apr 02 – MIDIPDF

Eva:
This forest is quite picturesque, it looks
Just like the forests in my story books
Though I don’t go in for hiking, this adventure’s to my liking
There’s thousands of trees, as far as one sees!

Eric:
How nice! Hello there dear, I don’t meet many people here
What mood or inclination brought you to this great location
Far from anyone’s address?              I guess
You have heard about the stash, a hidden suitcase full of cash

Just like in your story books, you may run into some with crooks
This seldom travelled space, just seems like the perfect place
For a crook to have his hideout.        And I doubt
That if caught by one today you could ever get away!

I wrote a non-linear play for a kids holiday programme at church. Eva was the main character, who goes to Blackwood Forest in search of some hidden money. Upon reaching the middle of the forest, she sings her verse. Then my character comes out of nowhere and sings a quicker verse which fits with the same chords. Then the two verses sing on top of each other. When we performed the play, Eva didn’t want to sing to the duet so the verses were spoken at that point in the play.

Happy Birthday – Jun 03 - MIDI - PDF - MP3

I wrote a barbershop arrangement to sing at Colin’s 21st birthday party. The lower-middle part is the Mildred Hill’s standard song, and the other three parts are stacked around it. I used to take a copy of this when went to a birthday party, hoping to find a few others who could sing it with me.

Misfortune – Oct 05 – YouTube

If I buy something, then wait just one day,
The price drops under what I had to pay.
My luck continues always as if planned.
Throughout my life here nothing goes my way.

If someone who’s in charge exists up there,
If you can hear my cry and if you care,
I know there’s much that I don’t understand
But turn your ear with favour to my prayer.

Is there a Six upon the dice I’ve got?
Is there an Ace among the cards or not?
I feel that I’ve been dealt a lousy hand!
O God, work with me, please improve my lot.

It’s so unfair that all the girls I see
Have boyfriends if they want them, all but me!
To have a bloke who loves me would be grand
So heavenward I look and state my plea:

O God, O Circumstance, whoever’s there
In that great lighting booth up in the air.
Am I supposed to go through life unmanned?
There must be someone decent you can spare.

Is there a King remaining in the pack?
To tell the truth, I’d settle for a Jack.
I feel that I’ve been dealt a lousy hand.
O God, have mercy, grant me what I lack.

My arm sits in the window of my car.
In this position I have gone so far
That though my left arm is as white as sand
My right arm’s darker than most right arms are

O James, O Fortuna, whoever’s there,
Is not what I deserve, it isn’t fair
That I have one arm pale and one arm tanned.
This permanent misfortune I can’t bear.

Is there a Six upon the dice I’ve got?
I haven’t rolled one yet. O am I not
The most unfortunate in all the land?
God, work with me, give me a decent shot!

I worked at Unley Shopping Centre during in Jun-Dec 02. I had ample spare time, and used to hang around with the Coles workers (although my work was based around Bi-Lo). One of them, Lauren, used to make complaints about her misfortune, which became this song three years later. It’s written entirely in iambic pentameter, and although nearly every note in the melody is a quaver, the song avoids a repetitive rhythm by starting its lines on different beats in the bar.

This is the first song I’ve written (where I’ve done both words & music) for just one singer. Ben’s, Alice’s and Rod’s songs in Keep On Coding and the central song in Pitch Drop were written to existing arrangements (most popular music is for one voice). Bob’s song in KoC and Goliath’s song in D&G have chorus parts, while the majority of my catalogue is duets, quartets, choruses, etc. This song therefore is one I like to belt out on the piano.

The Maranatha Song – Nov 05 – words by Andrew Turner – JPEGMP3

When your hammer slips and lands on the wrong nail
When you try to catch the final bus and fail
When your washing is exported by a gale
When you do your best, but all to no avail

When it all seems too much and you just want to weep
And you don’t know whether you’re Arthur or Martha
Don’t say ‘crikey’ or ‘blimey’ or ‘bother’ or [BEEP]
There’s a better word for it- say ‘Maranatha’

In the nightly news a litany of woe
And there’s nowhere in the world that’s safe to go
When disaster lands the poor a further blow
And relief is far too distant and too slow

When it all seems too much and you just want to weep
And you don’t know whether you’re Arthur or Martha
Don’t say ‘crikey’ or ‘blimey’ or ‘bother’ or [BEEP]
There’s a better word for it- say ‘Maranatha’

When the Lord says He’s preparing us a place
And a day when we will see Him face to face
And reward for those who persevere with grace
Be assured, it’s not just talk, but it’s the case

When it all seems too much and you just want to weep
And you don’t know whether you’re Arthur or Martha
Don’t say ‘crikey’ or ‘blimey’ or ‘bother’ or [BEEP]
There’s a better word for it- say ‘Maranatha’

Andrew Turner wrote most of the words for this song to go with a sermon for the start of Advent 2005. I added a few words and wrote the music. The idea of this song is that a Christian response to frustration and disaster in the world is to cry out for Christ’s return, that ‘Maranatha’ would be our swear-word. Michael Findlay, a member of our church at that time, went on to found Maranatha Health.

Some other songs I thought of writing include a Handel-style aria about something that is too hot to handle, an anthem conveying the very warm welcome enjoyed by Pizza Haven delivery drivers and an ensemble number about hat hair (the phenomenon observed when one’s hat is removed after wearing it for a while). I even had an idea of writing a musical “Glenunga” that would include these three along with some of those already written. Characters included a punk-style singer and a teacher who sings in monotone throughout.