Portfolio of Original Compositions: Second Post

For the next five songs in my portfolio, I moved away from songs in the vein of American Standards and instead focused on works that are more contemporary in sound and lyrics. The five original songs I notated this week are Teardrop, Change My Mind, I Already Know, Diesel, and Teenage Soul. While these songs are easier to play and notate harmonically, the new challenge of translating parts I play on the guitar and bass guitar arose. Rearranging was not without its benefits; transcribing songs in different instruments than they were originally written allowed me to take an important critical look at the first round of writing I had done in the past. With this extra step of translation, I was able to revise chord progressions and even lyrics to create ultimately a stronger song.

The other challenge with these five songs will come when I finally post the complete portfolio. As these five songs are more contemporary pieces and find influence from music I have been listening to my whole life, they are also the songs that spoke most to me when they were originally written. These songs are deeply personal, and they deal with issues that I have been struggling to accept as I’ve grown up. There were multiple times during their transcription process when I wanted to stop and instead add another to my portfolio, but as I wrote these songs for catharsis and self-expression, I ultimately feel that keeping them hidden would be detrimental. I chose these ten songs for my portfolio not because I necessarily believe they are my musical best, but because I feel that they have the most to say.

I plan to spend some extra time compiling them into a portfolio and recording a few samples to go along with the piano-vocal sheets.


  1. idbartels says:

    This is such a cool idea for a project! I’m incredibly impressed with anyone who can write both music and lyrics – two totally different skills. I also think it’s interesting that you’re looking at several different instruments. Songs can sound so different on each one – the same set of chords played on the piano and on the guitar will sound unique on each instrument. Plus, it’s awesome that you’re using this research time as something so personal. I completely agree with what you said about this writing process being a catharsis and a form of self-expression. I’m not a songwriter (I have zero musical talent) but I am very interested in writing. I write mainly journal-type things, but I use it in a similar way to your songwriting – as self-expression and as a kind of therapy. I hope your portfolio turns out well!

  2. I also did a creative project this summer, but I wrote poetry instead of music. Like Isabella was saying, it’s very impressive that you wrote both lyrics and music to go with it. I often found that I didn’t like to keep regular rhythms in writing my poetry, but you probably had to for your music. I definitely connect with what you were saying about writing as a method of catharsis. I found that to be very true for myself as well. Sometimes art is for other people, to express what needs to be expressed to them in new ways. But sometimes art is just for ourselves, because we need to express something instead of holding it in. Art is so important, and I think it’s cool that we both did projects exploring that concept!