Original Song: Letting Go

In these kinds of blog post I would like to write about my own songs, the idea behind them and the lyrics. I’d like to start with an old song of mine, written over 10 years ago and rearranged about a year ago with the piano as the central element: Letting Go.

About the lyrics

I will keep my dream
And hide it far away
If I ever see that I just cannot find my way
So you stand right there
Behind your wall of thoughts
What will you do when you realize that all roses are made of thorns?
Well, I know all that’s good to me won’t set me free
But, you know I just can’t see the liberty of finally letting go
As the feelings fade
As my eyes seem to open up
I lay my hands on that golden seal and realize it’s just a lock

Lyrics of Letting Go

When I wrote the lyrics, I remember that I was in a situation where a clear cut was objectively the best option to take. But a clear cut also meant to cut something off. I remember being in limbo for a few weeks where I just knew I needed to let go of several things but I was not ready to do so and I could not see the advantage of letting go yet – this is what the line I just can’t see the liberty of finally letting go in the chorus is supposed to emphasize.

The first two verses are some kind of dialogue between the heart (first verse) and reason (second verse). While the heart states that it wants to stay in limbo for a while, hiding and keeping its dreams for the time being because it is unsure of which way to take, reason argues that no matter what way you finally choose, it will not work out without some cuts (all roses are made of thorns).

The third verse is about the necessary change of perspective to finally get out of limbo: The one fundamental truth that must not be touched under all circumstances (the golden seal) turns out to be an obstacle (it’s just a lock). This realization paves the way for the final decision to take action after the last chorus: But I finally let go.

About the music

Musically, letting go wrote itself for the most part. Originally, I composed it on acoustic guitar while I was playing around with a chord progression revolving around the D major chord with different bass tones. I have always liked progressions like D/Dsus2 – D/A – G. This time, however I ended up with Dsus2 – D/A – C which sounded intriguing. I suppose the reason why is that the first two chords establish a D major feeling that is destroyed by the C chord. After two repetitions, the progression goes on to resolve to G.

This leaves us with two home bases for the composition: While D and D/A hint at the piece being written in D major, C and G hint at a composition in G major. And actually, that’s all there is to it. The conflict conjured up by the lyrics is simply reflected by the composition. Indeed, while we know that D major is a more natural key for this piece (we end up with an Asus4 / A chord at the end of each verse), the C major chord plays a prominent part the entire time.

In fact, the final repetition of the chorus ends on a C major chord before we finally let go of it and end the piece on D major.

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