“If music be the food of love, PLAY on…” so said Shakespeare, the great bard. This next song I give you is all about playfulness. It explores the archetype of play. Play is something children do mostly naturally and adults have forgotten about. However, I think we do so at our peril. “Playing” is the zone of exploration, creative thinking, where brain synapses connect and where we can flow with the creativity and immediacy of life.
Of course adults and children play differently but I think it is important in our adult lives to allow the energy of play to have a space in our life. Psychologically we can get bogged down by jobs, to do lists, bills to pay and the responsibilities of adult life. Play can seem meaningless and a redundant activity confined to a long ago childhood.
But, as an adult who works in the field of music, I can see on a regular basis how musical play enriches the lives of both children and adults. The parents in my early years group “play” singing games with their wee ones in my class and they leave that space with a bounce in their walk, bonded more firmly with their children and with some new found friends from the class. I watch how joy and connectivity grow through play along with confidence and creativity.
Music, dance and drama are all places where adults can play- also music technology. Creating music through electronic means allows for creativity in a different way with some innovative results. Play can be found anywhere really- if we allow it. It allows us to keep wonder alive, to be open, to flex and bend alongside developing a pioneering and exploratory spirit. Perhaps it could even be said that play keeps us youthful !
This song was inspired by watching my cat play…..she does so with joy and unconscious abandon. Play and creativity can also be elusive, the moment can arrive and be gone depending on the energy of the moment. Creativity is much the same. It is like a special zone that one enters and explores and then leaves again back to the ordinariness of day to day drudgery. So, whilst this song explores the quality of play as a symbolic archetype it needs to also have a feel of elusiveness, a mercurial quality that can’t quite be pinned down.
Here are the lyrics:
Elusive as a dream
With my mind she runs
Always wild and always free.
Telling me secrets with her eyes
Her golden airy eyes
Runs like thistledown in the wind
Reading energies as patterns in the air
And with my mind she sings
Always wild and always free.
Her tales are of sunshine
Spirits flying free
And a honeyed moment
Of purring bliss,
My golden, golden, golden girl.
I wrote this song a good few years ago. It was actually the song that I dared to show my well known step mum who is a singer, Dame Emma Kirkby. We were peeling carrots and she asked about my fairly new song writing adventures and I sort of mumbled that I had a song I could show her. She demanded that I sing it right there and then….and so, not to lose my nerve I set forth and sang it to her- not paying much attention to the carrot in hand!
She really liked it and was very enthusiastic and gave me some breath techniques whilst we popped the carrots into the stir fry and nearly burnt them between breaths!
This song has a very impressionistic yet slight baroque feel to it…..kind of a weird combination. It is very much in the tradition of an art song. It has the feeling of being ephemeral – moving time signatures and keys in a playful artless way. I used to imagine a harp as accompaniment- it has a golden airy playful ephemeral quality that would directly suit this song. But, it equally could be given a more modern treatment and use sound design as a basis for creating a playful, golden, ethereal and ephemeral backdrop. It would work well as a soundscape exploration along side the lyrics.
I didn’t realise till I showed my husband- nor did my step mum, that there is a lyric in it that is used by a well known band who wrote about heroin- rather different to writing about playfulness! I didn’t know the song except I might have heard my husband humming it over the years and unconsciously picked up bits. It is not intended as plagiarism in any shape or form. I didn’t even consciously realise as I wrote it that “Golden Girl” and “with my mind she runs” was used by someone else! To me, it was just my beautiful golden playful cat who is elusive . I was trying to capture a quality through a phrase. If I ever was lucky enough to record it and release it, then maybe I would have to ask whether it counts as plagarism- even though I did not know the song concerned when I wrote it!
Music is where I play and create either as a song writer, or with my pupils- young and old. I think as Shakespeare wisely said we need to “Play On” because it brings gifts and treasures into our daily lives. So, play on……in whatever medium suits you and enjoy as it will bring you a lightness of spirit and joy and perhaps new skills as my songwriting adventures have for me.