Why this tune?
This week’s tune started as a project from a songwriting program I attended in 2016. We were tasked to write music to a poem. I found a short poem by Ogden Nash, “Old Men,” a short and powerful meditation on aging and how we view the elderly. I tried a few options then, and set the poem aside for other projects.
Inspired by FAWM (February Album Writing Month), I returned to “Old Men” to complete the music for Nash’s words. This time, I added another constraint, to use only the harmonic minor scale (and related chords) for the music. That scale, I think, has a melancholy sound that matches the words and theme of the poem. In some contexts, this scale also has a distinctive sound associated with Jewish and other Eastern European and Middle Eastern music.
You can hear the results here. I also started writing a longer song based on the poem, and may return to that later on.