Dance with the Devil

I happened to be thinking about a song from a Disney movie that I think is very inspiring and energizing. I started wondering what about it made it an uplifting song. The lyrics are always helpful, but I know that there is emotion expressed through the music as well. I am not incredibly musically inclined, regardless of the talent of my mother, but I think I remember that minor keys are more sad or spooky, so there are other ways to use music to express feelings.

I thought that maybe what I liked so much about the Disney song was the rhythm, like a fox trot rhythm. The quick, quick, and slow notes seem to build excitement and then have a hopeful feeling with the slow. I realized that wasn’t the only thing, because if the slow note is lower than the quick ones, then the feeling is more depressing.

So, I came up with this wild idea to write a song with the same rhythm but having both an ascending note sequence and a descending note sequence. It would be like a story with a hero and villain throughout the song. The descending notes would dominate at some point in the middle-ish and everything would escalate with a big finale where the ascending notes finish strong.

Then I remembered that I can’t even pluck out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” without at least a half hour of trying to figure it out. Writing songs isn’t my thing, I really struggle with reading music, so that’s a no. Obviously I like writing stories, because I made up a storyline for the song I won’t ever write, but that’s a side note.

What I did realize, though, is that there are tactics and methods to create certain moods and emotions in music. It’s like there’s already a science to it, you just have to learn the rules. That’s the way life is as well. I know the patterns and formulas of things that are good for me, and those that aren’t. Exercise is something I know is good for me, and it will make me feel good. Staying up late into the night, I know, makes me feel like crap the next day.

We know the consequences are inevitable, but we still mess around with it, thinking maybe, “this time I’ll win”. It’s an interesting concept to be sure. It makes me question the sanity of humanity. But we do it anyway. Maybe, take a minute and think about how you’re trying to dance with the devil and win.

What if a character was literally dancing with the devil in a story. Or, what would it look like for a character to be dancing with the devil figuratively? Something to think about. All this was just a thought so take it as you will. It may be useful or it might not.

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