This week, I have a new problem. Forget parallel universes and trying to juggle characters’ motivations and points of view. I’ve encountered a serious problem, one that literally makes my head spin: The beat of “A New Dream” is, well, misaligned. That is to say, the stresses, the natural stresses or accents in the melody and lyrics don’t line up with the beat as measured by the metronome. Or rather, some of them do, but some are off.
It seems like all I have to do is shorten and lengthen certain notes till the beat falls right, but it’s not as simple as that. First of all, there’s a two measure intro. That’s off. But, if I tinker with that before the main body of the song, it could throw off the timing of the main body. More worryingly, the first note of the song is, so to speak, on the wrong side of the first bar line. That is, the first note falls before the first accented beat. So, as that first phrase repeats, where does the first accented beat of the phrase fall relative to the bar line and the first beat of the measure?
I never really thought about all this before, because it sounds fine. But, how everything’s laid out and where everything falls becomes important now that I want to print the song out. Hell, I’m not even sure of the time signature. Is it 4/4 or 3/4? It doesn’t have the feel of a waltz, but at the same time four beats per measure doesn’t seem right somehow.
The conclusion I draw from all this is not that something’s wrong with “A New Dream,” but rather that something’s wrong with my mind. I should be able to hear the right way. I should have written it the right way to begin with. But though I can hear the wrongness, it muddles me so that I can’t work out how to fix it. Eventually I’ll get it sorted out, but right now I’m very confused.