Measure To Measure: The “Fuzzy-To-Focused” Songwriting Method, Part 2

The following compendium of sad songs supplements the November 2017 column, which discusses sad songs in general and a method of songwriting called “fuzzy to focused.”

The first step in the fuzzy-to-focused method is to put aside the pressure to be creative and immerse yourself in research instead. Experience shows that creativity seems to take over all by itself once your intellectual muscles get tired. Really tired. Yes, a little blood, sweat, and tears are required, but the results are rewarding. The sad-song list provides plenty of material for your research.

Incidentally, the fuzzy-to-focused method works for writing essays, articles, blogs, fiction, or music columns (it has fueled over thirty columns for me). My first acquaintance with fuzzy-to-focused came in art school in conjunction with painting and drawing, and I have successfully adapted it to all kinds of creative projects, including music, in the years since. Try it and you just may outdo yourself.

Since intense immersion is the goal, no attempt has been made to limit the category of songs considered: Some are ancient, others are modern. Some are country classics, while others come from the Top-40 or rock charts. Folk songs appear. Jazz standards, too. Some songs are tragic, while others border on silly. A few cross the line into maudlin sentimentality even obsession while a small subset evoke an air... Sign In to Keep Reading

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