Welcome

There are really only two reasons that you would be reading this. One, you know
that God is good and will always provide for those who love Him, or two, you
accidentally hit the button for the next blog. Either way, welcome! As you
have probably guessed, I am in the first category with a love and faith for the
Lord that is a source of hope and strength through this crazy world!! My family
has been blessed in so many ways that sometimes I just want to shout it from the
rooftops. I am kind of afraid of heights so blogging in the next best thing!!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Song Analysis


Happy Sunday!  I am kind of excited about this blog post since I get to take a "popular" song of today and analyze it using what we have learned so far in theory.  I normally would have chosen a Contemporary Christian song (as this is a Christian blog), but, that would be too easy as most of them follow similar chord progressions and use the same chords!  For our purposes, I have chosen to analyze "Stressed Out" by Twentyone Pilots. 
Here is a clip of the song as found on Youtube.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXRviuL6vMY

Here are the lyrics as found on Songlyrics.com:

Stressed out - Stressed Out Lyrics




I wish I found some better sounds no one's ever heard,
I wish I had a better voice that sang some better words,
I wish I found some chords in an order that is new,
I wish I didn't have to rhyme every time I sang,

I was told when I get older all my fears would shrink,
But now I'm insecure and I care what people think.

My name's 'Blurryface' and I care what you think.
My name's 'Blurryface' and I care what you think.

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol' days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed out.
Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol' days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed out.

We're stressed out.

Sometimes a certain smell will take me back to when I was young,
How come I'm never able to identify where it's coming from,
I'd make a candle out of it if I ever found it,
Try to sell it, never sell out of it, I'd probably only sell one,

It'd be to my brother, 'cause we have the same nose,
Same clothes homegrown a stone's throw from a creek we used to roam,
But it would remind us of when nothing really mattered,
Out of student loans and treehouse homes we all would take the latter.

My name's 'Blurryface' and I care what you think.
My name's 'Blurryface' and I care what you think.

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol' days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed out.

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol' days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed out.

We used to play pretend, give each other different names,
We would build a rocket ship and then we'd fly it far away,
Used to dream of outer space but now they're laughing at our face,
Saying, "Wake up, you need to make money."
Yo.

We used to play pretend, give each other different names,
We would build a rocket ship and then we'd fly it far away,
Used to dream of outer space but now they're laughing at our face,
Saying, "Wake up, you need to make money."
Yo.

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol' days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed out.
Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol' days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed out.

Used to play pretend, used to play pretend, bunny
We used to play pretend, wake up, you need the money
Used to play pretend, used to play pretend, bunny
We used to play pretend, wake up, you need the money
We used to play pretend, give each other different names,
We would build a rocket ship and then we'd fly it far away,
Used to dream of outer space but now they're laughing at our face,
Saying, "Wake up, you need to make money."
Yo.

To me, part of the popularity of this song comes from the fact that the lyrics are appealing to different generations.  I, at 35, enjoyed them because they are relatable to where I am in life.  Life is hard and many of us dream of those easier times where we could pretend, play and had our sweet moms singing us a lullaby.  Life was simple then and the gentle reminders in these lyrics fill me with beautiful memories of those times.
To the younger listeners, the lyrics can give a sense of being more mature.  I may very well be alone in that opinion, but as a youth, I felt more mature and important when I could commiserate with adults.

Musically, there are certain principles that composers follow.  The only ones we have learned about so far are the ones that Bach would have used.  Let's see if some of those can be applied here!

I found that this song is in the key of A minor.  The first thing I notice (from looking at the first page sample on musicnotes.com) is that the piece starts on A3.  That would make Bach very happy as it was good practice to start on tonic. 

The second thing I notice is that the chord progression of the first "I wish" section follows the minor mode chord progression flow chart as it should.  They start with a VI, move to the iv, and use plagal motion to finish on the i chord. 

The chord progression of the chorus (as found on Ultimate-guitar.com in the comment section of this song) goes VI-III-i-V-i-vii dim-III-V
From what we have learned about proper chord progression the only thing that would work in Bach's opinion would be the transition from the i-V-i.
Now, as this is modern popular music, those same principles do not make or break a song. 

In the second verse we can hear the piano come in with a series of minor 3rd's being arpeggiated adding another layer of texture. 

The steady drum beat and use of synthesized "space-like/robotic" sounds keep the song moving.   When combined with the catchy lyrics and rhythms, we have a recipe for a song that has gained great popularity with young and old!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Music and Worship

One look in the Psalms, or on an internet site about scripture, and you are sure to see something about music and worship...or 42 if you are looking at openbible.info!  The way I see it, the more heartfelt music I hear in worship, the closer to God I feel.  That however, is just my opinion on the matter, and coming from a music education and church music major, I would be dismayed to feel differently.  This post is not about my opinion though.  The authors and scribes of the Bible have some things to say about it, so looking there would be a great place to start!
Let's look at Psalm 95:1 for our first clue.  This verse reads "Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!"  I would say this one is pretty cut and dry.  This Psalm is often labeled "An Invitation to Praise God."  The next verse goes a bit farther in saying "Let us come before his presence..."  Now, the Psalmist could be talking about the day we meet our Creator face to face, but I don't think that is what he meant about being in His presence.  I see this as spending time at, and in worship.  For the record, Psalm 100:1-2 says the same thing with "Come into His presence with singing."
The next verse to look at is Psalm 33:3.  This one is a little different in that it mentions making music skillfully.  I am one of those people who believe that Jesus loves us whether we can sing or not and I encourage others around me who may be too shy, or told they are not good at singing, to sing out in worship.  This verse is going in to a little more detail though.  As I understand it, this means to continue finding new things to be grateful for; new ways to thank God, and do it well.  If you are a singer or musician, you had better hone that gift by practicing.  If you can do it, don't go to God with less than your best!
In 1 Corinthians 14:26 we read this sage advice,"What then, brothers?  When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation.  Let all things be done for building up." This verse is Paul talking to the church in Corinth and, in a nutshell, teaching them how to live and worship as the Kingdom of God.  I feel that he is urging them to share their gifts.  If God gives you the inspiration to write a praise song, write it and share it.  Don't keep that stuff to yourself.  If God gave you a talent for making music, do it and do it to the best of your ability. Just as he is saying that if you have the gift of tongues, you should surround yourself with someone to interperate so that all can enjoy.
If we look in the Old Testament, we can hear about God himself about music and worship.  Zephaniah 3:17 says that "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."  Singing! This is where you should be able to hear the "mic drop" but I got another one for you that puts it as plain as day.
Psalm 92:1 wraps it all up.  "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High."  This one has it all.  Singing, instrumentation, hyms, and psalms.  This Psalm is called "A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day."  Now you may be thinking, "But the sabbath day is on Saturday" and you would be correct.  However, in Acts we see numerous verses that tell us that Paul and the other followers of Christ met on the sabbath to pray and give praise, or for our purpose here, worship. 
As I stated right off the bat, I am a believer in the power of music to help facilitate worship.  I have spent my life singing praises while either leading worship, or being led to a closer encounter with God by the words or melody of a song.  I have given my best praise, and will continue to do so through music and now I can rest knowing that makes God, my Father, well pleased.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

We meet again...

It seems that some time has passed since the last time I posted on this blog.  Life has continued, my son is now six, I have a daughter and we just celebrated her third birthday.  I also have sprouted a nice little crop of grey hairs!  By order of my music theory Professor, I am now the owner of an active blog.  The format will change a little bit and include posts about music.  But as music is from our great God, I guess it won't be too different after all!  And who knows...there may be some other fun stuff like reviews and giveaways coming soon as well!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Baby Orajel

Let me start this post by saying that I am actively trying to find natural remedies for whatever ails my family.  I have been able to replace one of these chemical ridden or natural products that, even though they are natural, still contain dangerous or unregulated ingredients. Teething gel.  I was given a free product from Orajel and Smiley360 to review and offer honest feedback.  I was a little nervous about giving this a try on my daughter and was fully prepared to send it back if I thought it might be dangerous.  I did not have too.  Baby Orajel Naturals Nighttime Teething Gel is  a fast working, safe and effective product for pain associated with teething pain.  This did not contain Belladonna which was of great concern to me.  It also is free of benzocaine, and that was ankle selling point.  We love how this works on our daughter and will be recommending it to all of out parent friends.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I am in LOVE with Sleep Number beds!

I was recently given the opportunity to go to a Sleep Number store and find out my SleepIQ and I am now in love.  First of all, I need to say that this opportunity came from Sleep Number and Smiley360 for the purpose of a review.  All opinions are 100% my own and honest.  That being said, ANYONE can walk in to a Sleep Number store and find our their own SleepIQ number.  I went to my local store in Georgetown, Texas and met the most amazing and informed salesperson.  His name is Robert and I could not have asked for anyone better to show me that I was missing out on.

The service was prompt and personalized.  He knew my name and used it, which made me feel like they actually cared about my needs rather than making a sell.  He started by giving me some facts about Sleep Number mattresses and really, all mattresses in general.  He asked about the age of the mattress we are using now and pointed out some interesting facts about the life span of most mattresses.  I then got to take one of the models for a test drive!  I was able to lay down with the bed at 100.  I must say that it was not all that comfortable to me.  Robert let me know that it was akin to laying on the floor.  It was as firm as it gets.  I was kind of surprised by this as I assumed I would be at a high number. 

This is when the fun begins!  He started lowering the number and I was to tell him when I was the most comfortable I have ever been.  That took me to 40.  Then he reset it and did it again.  This time I was at a 30.  He took the average, 35, and let me know that that was my sleep number! 

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there is a way to replace the foam when it has compressed too much for optimal comfort without buying a whole new mattress.  It was also nice to know that there is a warranty on the beds. 

My next stop was to one of the adjustable beds, the M7.  I liked it when I initially lay on it but I must say that after a while, I wanted to go back to the C3 bed that I was originally on.  I can't really say why as the M7 is a memory foam and is just like laying on a cloud. 

The M7 was on an adjustable base that does a ton of tricks.  My favorite being the zero gravity position.  I will be bringing my hubby in to see if he likes it as much as I do.  If not, we will need the spit base so both sides can move independently of each other.  +

I can't wait to purchase my own Sleep Number bed...with adjustable base...in the future.  I know it won't be so far in the future as they offer incentives like cash back and interest free financing all the time. 

Overall, I would highly recommend to everyone that you go visit your local Sleep Number store and find out your own SleepIQ.  You won't be sorry!
+

Monday, October 6, 2014

ChapStick Hydration Lock Day and Night

I received a free sample of ChapStick Hydration Lock Day and Night to try out from ChapStick and Smiley360.  I must say that I have a tough time using any product on my lips as it either "feathers" or gets wiped/licked off too easily...because I am afraid it has started to look weird on my lips.  With that being said, I must now tell you that I LOVE this stuff! 

I wake up in the morning and use the "day" side.  This stuff is amazing as it works so well.  First of all, it is full of SPF 12 that is so important to me, especially here in Texas.  It has a mild smell but no taste which is great for me as I tend to lick my lips more often when a product has a yummy flavor.  If companies don't want me to lick their products than they should not have made it taste like candy! 
The second thing I noticed was how long it stayed on without feeling gunky.  That is the  hardest part for me as I am very self aware of how I am looking. 

Now, on to the other awesome part of this product!  I use the "Night" side before I go to  bed.  It leaves my lips so soft and smooth.  My husband loves the way my lips now! 

The ChapStick Hydration Lock Day and Night lives up to its claims and name.  I would recommend this product to anyone who is looking for healthier lips.