When I Get the Urge to Write a Song…

field of flagsI woke this morning wanting to prepare something to teach our ward’s Primary to sing for Memorial Day.

A poem I wrote a couple of years ago, for Year-Round Read-Aloud, Read-Along Rhymes: Celebrating Holidays and Seasons, came to mind. Titled “Honor,” it is about a child’s personal decision to respect his country’s flag, and serve the country in honor of others who have served.

It Doesn’t Usually Go Like That

Usually, when I write a song, I write the words and music at the same time, and the music influences what the words have to be. This time, I was trying to set music to an already written lyric, and it didn’t fit nicely into any normal singing scheme.

With two verses of six lines each, only the third, fourth and fifth lines rhyme. But in both verses, the sixth line is an exact repeat of the second line. So, at least I had a natural place to repeat a rhythm, and decided the melody in the sixth line could answer the melody in the second line.

Skirting Danger

Danger loomed in the poem’s first line, “Whenever I see my country’s flag.” There are two familiar songs that start out, “Whenever I hear the song of a bird,” and “Whenever I think about Pioneers.” How to sing “Whenever I see?”

So I conjured patriotic sound by imagining a bugle playing the tune. I think you’ll hear some of it survived in the final version, even if the major chord that inspired the first line, ended up accompanied by an emotional progression once I started adding piano.

So with a few slow-down-here and take-a-break-here and now-hold-this-note-out type instructions, I came up with a tune I think my Primary kids will be able to learn tomorrow.

And we can always pull it out again for Flag Day and Independence Day.

See that dotted line below?  It’s a link to the sheet music!

Honor: Whenever I See my Country’s Flag by Susan Call Hutchison

This is the first sheet music I’ve shared at MuseScore.  I’ve been using the free software for almost a year, so it’s about time I started learning how to embed on my own website the music I produce with it!

Let me know:  Were you able to link to the music?  Were you able to read along with the “ah-ing” choir and sing the song?  I’ll let you know in the comments how it goes tomorrow at church!



About Susan Call Hutchison

A retired educator, a current homemaker, and a life-long musician, I have written, arranged and performed music and directed choirs for decades. I love learning almost as much as teaching. I took up my dream instrument, violin/fiddle, at the age of 65. My blog and digital sheet music store,"Good Old Tunes," grew out of my search for easy-to-play tunes and well-harmonized duets. In addition to arranging music, I am also a self-publishing author and editor. My books include the "Read-Aloud, Read-Along" series and "Mrs. Middlejoy's Church Mouse Adventures" chapter books.
This entry was posted in Children's Books, Children's Music, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Patriotism, Poem, Read-Along Books, Read-Aloud, The Writing Process and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to When I Get the Urge to Write a Song…

  1. Susan you are a talented soul I heard the song, it is wonderful and you never stop surprising me. Many schools could benefit from this song.

    • Thank you, Kath! I taught our Primary class at church this song. It was a beautiful day, and we went outside and sat on the the church lawn, and the kids gathered around as I played my guitar. They loved it!

  2. I love that, Susan. What a lot of work for a worthy topic.

  3. gpcox says:

    So good to see you back around. Does this mean you’ll begin to post again?

    • Hello, Gail! I am still caring for my dad. But he is doing much better, at home now, after a long, hard winter in hospitals and rehab centers. I’m not sure how soon I will be blogging at the old rate, but I do have time now to start enjoying some of my old favorite blogs again — like yours!

  4. gpcox says:

    Hope your Dad is much better now and we will begin to see you back around with us soon.

  5. Gail, thank you! It’s definitely a full time job being with Dad – but a tender and fulfilling one. Hope your Thanksgiving is filled with wonderful things!

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