Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The ten step Marty Haugen song writing program



Step one:


Make sure that you write your Marty Haugen song in the right environment and setting. It will really help if you put on a Barbara Streisand or an Andrew Lloyd Webber CD; the inspiration they give will really boost your song writing ability.

Many Marty Haugen wannabes claim that they personally find Kermit the Frog singing Rainbow Connection a real inspiration in their efforts to follow in the song writing footsteps of the Master.

Step two:

Think about things like your favourite pet. If you don’t have a pet, then think of Lassie or Barney the Dinosaur.

Step three:

Choose a song structure from the following options:

1. Verse, chorus, verse
2. Chorus, verse, chorus
3. Verse, chorus, verse, bridge

Step four:

Choose and complete a song title from the following options:

1. Gather...
2. Justice is...
3. Make us...
4. Happy...
5. Lovely, lovely...
6. People of...

Step five:

Find your favourite cute furry soft toy. Give it a big cuddle and hum your favourite Blue’s Clues song to it. This will help to keep your song writing focus and inspiration going.

Step six:

Choose the appropriate time signature for your song from the following choices:

1. 4/4 Jingle timing
2. 3/4 Waltz timing

Step seven:

Pick an instrument to write your song on from the following options:

1. Folk guitar
2. Casio keyboard
3. Folk guitar and Casio keyboard

Step eight:

Write a tune. It needs to have a happy feel – think 1980’s show tune, or 1970’s elevator music.

Make sure your melody is easily sung by finding a child and trying the tune out on them, if it takes them more than two attempts to grasp the melody then the tune is too complex and needs to be reworked.

If you chose option 3 at step three then you need to make sure that your bridge has a completely different melody to the rest of the song – this helps to keep things lively.

Step nine:

Write the lyrics to your song.

For a song to be a true Haugen classic it needs to incorporate some or all of the following words and phrases:

Justice, community, gathering, eat at the table, communion of hope, peace, injustice, bread, singing people, new song, light, open our minds, you love our failures, weakness.

Do not consult the Catechism or any other official Church documents during the lyric writing process, it will just complicate your lyrics and taint them with an official hierarchical flavour which doesn't work for Haugen songs.

Step ten:

Test your song by doing the following:

1. Play your song on a Church organ, preferably in your Diocesan Cathedral. If it sounds good played on the organ then you need to start over. If this happens you might want to spend more time listening to Rainbow Connection before beginning the writing process.

2. Find a group of at least ten children and get them to sing your song. If it sounds the same with them yelling/singing it as it did when you finished writing it then you could be on to a winner.

3. Try it out at your local rest home. If the most tone deaf residents have no problems remembering your song after hearing it only once then you definitely have a hit on your hands.







An aspiring Marty Haugen song writer tests his latest composition

58 comments:

Luke said...

In step six you need to add: 6/8 for frantic (used often for a "Gloria" refrain.

It is also very important that you have someone other than yourself compose a keyboard accompaniment.
Otherwise someone might get the idea that you know something about voice-leading.

Andrew said...

Absolutely hilarious!! It almost sounds like that's what they do. Seriously...

Brian Michael Page said...

Also add the 6/8 for those "Gather us in on the Edmund Fitzgerald" type pieces.

New blog? I like it. Hilarious!

Peace,
BMP

Angela Messenger said...

Great post!!!

You could also add to the list of rules: "make the song about me, myself and I - the "other trinity."

Venerable Aussie said...

This is my kind of blog! I could read it Haugen and Haugen...

Enjoyed your other posts too!

Funky Dung said...

Great post. :) My only criticism is that you shouldn't have insulted Rainbow Connection like that. ;) That song rules (and so do the muppets)!

The Confessionator said...

hahaha, this is funny...

you forgot the part of writing the song as if you are God. as in, "I am the bread of life.."

NHS03 said...

Ha ha ha!!!

And for a REALLY good song, it should automatically force your mind to segue into a TV tune, like the Brady Bunch theme song....

Dad29 said...

If there's one thing Haugen does/
It is En-nu-iiiiii

Sad or glad, it gives to me/
Blissful En-nu-iiiii.

Ennui! Ennui!
Haugen's gift to meeeeeeee!!
Snoring rises in the beat
Of songs of Ennui!

(Tune: Aura Lee.)

No copyright. Send it to Marty.

The Jesus Freak said...

That is absolutely hilarious!!

The Jesus Freak said...

Btw, just been reading your blog - its fantastic! I cried (of laughter) when I read the post on We are Church. This is great stuff! Keep it up!!!

God bless+

TCYM Lounge said...

I'd as well, that when "composing" your "lyrics" ever time you have the urge to write "he" ERASE IT and then write in "people" or "God".

TCYM Lounge said...

D'oh-that's "I'd ADD as well..."

*sigh* it's friday.

Julie said...

Make sure that the words never begin on the downbeat. Try beginning on "1 and" for that off-the-shoulder feel.

Brian Michael Page said...

Other test factor: if it sounds like crap to the ears of a REAL musician, then your Haugen song will be on the charts WITH A BULLET!
For those who don't know: "with a bullet" means that a song is skyrocketing up the charts.

BMP

RC said...

There's a good reason Marty Haugen songs don't reflect the Catechism: from all I can find on the web, he's a member of the United Church of Christ.

CPT Tom said...

Excellent post! Haugen needs to be mocked constantly and his music banished. I wandered here on the advise of the Curt Jester. Keep up the good work. Very Funny Stuff.

Funky Dung is right, you should change the inspiration song to something from Godspell, perhaps "Thank the Lord" or maybe "Do,Re,Me" from Sound of Music.

Georgette said...

You are definitely one of "Haugen's Heroes"!

heh heh heh! funny stuff.

Todd said...

The bile! It's not as though anyone is forced to sing music they don't like. Or even attend parishes that program it.

Nobody "needs" to be mocked. Consider the people who usually engage in such a practice: bullies, the insecure, the jealous, and maybe a few Roman soldiers or Pharisees.

It's Lent; we could be careful of the company we keep. And maybe it's a time to write some better music, if a person can tear themselves away from cattiness.

Michael B. Wooden said...

I like Todd's attitude. At least somebody is "trying" to praise God with music. Maybe his popularity has plagued him. It's kind of interesting how the more popular an artist becomes, the less he is liked by the "serious musicians". I don't claim to honor the formulaic writing of Haugen although there are are some of his "tunes" I find merit enough in to include in a Sunday mass. What I object to is the taunting that this and other blogs do to a "brother-in-Christ". Haugen may not be a favorite of pre-Vatican II afficiandos who would leave music to the hands of only well-trained choristers well-versed in Latin, Greek, chant and polyphony. It's probably a good thing that there is easily digestable music for Catholics to sing at masses regardless of how mundane it may sound to professional ears. At least they have a chance to sing and to do "full, conscientous, active participation" in the liturgy, even if it does sound like TV theme music to us. Perhaps the objecting portion of us need to get off our collective high horses and start writing something better now, so that it will be in tomorrow's hymn books.

Brian Michael Page said...

"Perhaps the objecting portion of us need to get off our collective high horses and start writing something better now, so that it will be in tomorrow's hymn books."

The big problem with that, Michael, is that the publishers (at least the "big three" anyways - GIA, OCP, and WLP) will be quick to reject, basically for being "too good". Been there done that with the last two. And I'm sure other serious musicians have too.

So, unless we get the edict from Rome, we're stuck with mediocrity at best, when the Council Fathers ask for the best.

Peace,
BMP

Ephrem said...

Michael, Todd: BMP and I are both writing "something better now." The problem is that music directors aren't often enough the people blogging--and blogging people don't often enough buy liturgical music.

Elena said...

The bile! It's not as though anyone is forced to sing music they don't like. Or even attend parishes that program it.

Well Todd, if you live 25 miles from the next available Catholic church and gas is near $2.50 a gallon - it sure feels like you're being forced to sing music you don't like or attend a parish that programs it!


and Brian:
"Gather us in on the Edmund Fitzgerald" type pieces."

I laughed out loud when I read that! Gather us in sounds like a sea chanty!! It absolutely does and everytime we sing it, I hold my invisible beer mug and start swaying it back and forth - much to the embarrassment of my teenager, but my husband and other kids join in!

Brian Michael Page said...

Elena, I like the mug-swinging. I once used that scenario to describe "Sing to the Mountains". An arrogant curate at a former parish once asked me "why do you have to be so disrespectful toward sacred music?" I replied "let me answer your question with a question - what's so sacred about the music to 'Sing to the Mountains'?"

One old message-board-friend of mine once wrote "Drink to the mountains, drink to the sea!"

BWA HA HA HA HA

BMP

Christine said...

I'm sure that all of you have seen this, but just in case, you may want to go to http://www.mgilleland.com/music/moratorium.htm. It really fits with the tone and content of the post.

Brian Michael Page said...

Ah yes, the moratorium! I'm a frequent flyer in that club.

BMP

Pat Mulcahy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pat Mulcahy said...

I find it interesting that nobody has dared comment on what seems to be the poignant issue of Todd's comment:

Nobody "needs" to be mocked. Consider the people who usually engage in such a practice: bullies, the insecure, the jealous, and maybe a few Roman soldiers or Pharisees.

It's Lent; we could be careful of the company we keep.


What if all of us Catholics decided to love what Christ loved while on the cross? Most likely, there would be a lot of empty blogs. Shame on all of us if this is how we choose to build up the Church.

Norma said...

I wasn't familiar with the name, but I think I can hum the tune. At this point, I'd settle for some mellow 70s music. We've got X-alt with loud, ear spliting rock. I linked his name with Lutheran and there were too many to read.

Brian Michael Page said...

"I linked his name with Lutheran and there were too many to read.

He was Lutheran, but now he's UCC.

BMP

Kenneth Fisher, Founder & CRCOA said...

MARTY HAUGEN WILL BE A SPEAKER AT THE ARCHDOCESE OF LOS ANGELES (LOST ANGELS) RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CONGRESS!

pril 1st is April Fools Day, and it is the day that “Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.” will be picketing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Religious Education Congress (I prefer to call it the “Anti-Catholic Religious Education Congress!”.

We will be conducting our prayerful protest demonstration in front of the two main Exhibit Hall entrances from 9:00 AM until roughly 6:00 PM.

We are now in the process of preparing poster signs for this, and very much would appreciate suggestions as to what the themes of these posters should be.

Please email me at: crcoa@dslextreme.com or call me at: 714-491-2284 with any ideas on this you may have.

Remember there are just 12 days left until the annual invasion of the hetereodox, the Archdiocese of Lost Angels Religious Anti-Catholic Education Congress at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Will you be there to prayerfully demonstrate against this attack on our Faith?

God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founder & Chairman
Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.

onionboy said...

Not that long ago I resigned my job as a Protestant pastor in a seeker style church and all I can tell you is this post is not funny at all, no, it is so painfully dead on accurate that I can hardly breath.

My wife said to me the other Sunday at Mass, "Look how much teaching there is in these hymns." You know, we tried to interest our teens in the Life Teen Mass, figuring this would be a good transition for them and you know what? They begged us to let them come with us to the 9:30AM "old people's Mass." Yup, it's true.

And, honest, I did laugh and I thank you for providing some levity during Lent.

cranky said...

Funny. And True.

Vox Cantor said...

I highly recommend membership in the Society for a Moratorium on the music of Marty Haugen and David Hass.
http://www.mgilleland.com/music/moratorium.htm

David Anthony Domet
Toronto

James Keefe said...

I love this brian michael page who complained that "the publishers... will be quick to reject, basically for being 'too good'. BEEN THERE DONE THAT WITH THE LAST TWO." Mediocre talents often have the ability to delude themselves into blaming their failures on the media, the publishers, the public, their keyboard, their wife, their dog, etc., etc., anything but themselves. "Too good" to be published by the big three? LMAO. Have a little humility.

James Keefe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
st.choirlady said...

As a choir soprano I can attest screamingly. I've sung Haugan to death, mine not his. Shame on OX for suggesting that we subject poor, defenseless elderly people to a Hauganesque song. haven't they suffered enough? As for penning new works (giggle), instead of JUST DO IT. How about: JUST DON'T.

st.choirlady said...

As a choir soprano I can attest screamingly. I've sung Haugan to death, mine not his. Shame on OX for suggesting that we subject poor, defenseless elderly people to a Hauganesque song. haven't they suffered enough? As for penning new works (giggle), instead of JUST DO IT. How about: JUST DON'T.

st.choirlady said...

Just heard a Haugan tune called "All You Works of God," which I found to be quite charming. And yes, its typical Marty, but don't despair, its nice anyway. Give it a listen if you can.

Noel Jones, AAGO said...

Yes, no one should be mocked. But people should not be forced to attend Mass where the music is a distraction to their actual participation.

ALL churches should offer Sunday Masses with a variety of music...a Chant Mass...and a Mass of Silence also....

class-factotum said...

Why can't we have any of the beautiful old songs? We have 2,000 years of history. Surely there is something written before 1950 that will work.

Eric said...

When in doubt, throw in a key change

Seán Fornelli said...

Nice! You have written quite the hateful post. Kudos! This is the first post I've read but I sure hope the rest maintain this high standard of negativity!

James 3:9-12

Let us pray for each other that we can live our lives according to God's will.

Class factotum said...

Choose the appropriate time signature for your song from the following choices

You forgot "jaunty."

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Bryan Schamus said...

This blog was forward to me by a friend. My thought is that Marty is a human being contributing with his gifts. If you don't appreciate it, that's okay. Move on... All this complaining is wasted energy when we have so much to be busy with...

Ataru Atlanta said...

I'm not Catholic anymore, but when I was I never liked the music - I liked "Gather Us In", but only when compared to the inconceivably more horrible "Gather Your People" and other such musical dreck. Songs like these made me glad that Catholics don't usually sing all the verses.

Step #11: Before sending the hymn to the publisher, listen carefully to "To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King" and make sure it sounds nothing like that stirring piece of music.

The Cathoholic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Cathoholic said...

LOLOLOLOLOL!!! I agree 100%. Except that you should add that every song should have one verse with the word "dance" or "dancing" in it.

Now to see if I can find a site like this about Dan Schutte. Perhaps they are really the same person.

Mark Carlton said...

I am so glad I found this blog! For years I thought maybe I was the only one who found Haugen's music the epitome of insipidity.

It's as if he finds a Bible passage and spends a whole ten minutes whipping up an uninspiring, ill-fitting melody, with no regard for meter and rarely any concern for rhyming. Maybe he’s emphasizing quantity over quality: Crank out twenty or more of these songs every day, and see what sticks.

Still, I have to admire the guy's effort. His heart is clearly in the right place, but his music is truly God-awful, if you'll pardon the pun.

The Cathoholic said...

Does anyone still mantain this blog? It looks like almost everything was posted on a songle day and then dropped. The http://www.mgilleland.com/music/moratorium.htm website mentioned in several posts does not exist

Ross Caughell said...

I consider most of the post-Vatican II hymnals my punishment for abandoning the one true faith for 50 years. When I returned, thank you Lord Jesus, I was amazed at the dreck I heard at Mass. What happened to the centuries of great music we sung pre 1960?

Shannon said...

How sad. It must take a special kind of insecurity to write and/or affirm a post like this or dedicate an entire blog to tearing these two men down. David Haas and Marty Haugen are amazing men who are trying to their gifts for the greater glory of God. A good number of you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Cass said...

You are just plain rude. Marty Haugen has some pretty fantastic music. Good pastoral musicians should know how and when to use his music accordingly. To mockingly write about his style, lyrics musicality goes beyond criticism. Shame on you!

Fr. Paul Fagan said...

And you call yourselves Catholic and Christian...Sad!

SistersofIHM Vocations said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gerard Chiusano said...

I think it is disgraceful that so-called "Catholics" or "Christians" would behave in this way. From the posters I can see the names of wannabe composers who have been woefully unsuccessful in getting thei music accepted by any reputable publishing house. So, they make fun of those who have gained recognition and success for their God-given gifts. Whether you like or dislike Marty's music (or any of ours, for that matter; believe me, I have my detractors, including one wannabe who commented on this very blog), to so ignorantly "analyze" his compositional style (a style, I might add, that has clearly helped catechize all of you wannabes who have poked fun) is to do the very thing you claim to despise. Where in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is your behavior sanctioned, you who claim that the Catechism has not been consulted by Marty?

To the owner of the blog, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. If you wish to take scholarly issue with anyone's composing then fine, but do it in a mature, Christian, and educated manner, not like the playground bully you are exhibiting here. And all of you who joined in are those who stand around while the bully behaves as such and say nothing. You as well ought to be ashamed.

For all of you who claim to have a grasp on the Catechism, may I suggest you purchase a copy and begin reading it, for you clearly have never opened it. For those of you who claim to have a grasp on liturgy or liturgical composition, may I suggest you take a course on liturgy or even purchase a book from a reputable author, or take some composition lessons.

But this kind of behavior violates every tenet of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. May God have mercy.

Brandywine 1777 said...

This is hilarious and very creatively written!
I have a Master's in Music Ed. and am a cantor in the Church.
We use the Breaking Bread Missalette, so we do sing Haugen.
And I must tell you, I just attended a Charism Retreat lead by Marty Haugen yesterday at Neumann University.
Many of your comments are spot on, but the Franciscan sisters their gushed over him like a rock star.
But I must tell you, he is a very kind and humble man.
He is not Catholic and is no longer Lutheran.
I believe he is United Church of Christ now- hence the Catechism problem.
Thanks for the laugh.