A boy without a father ... a young man in his twenties ... a soldier with a trumpet ... a twist of fate. These are some of the lyrics I've put into my newest song. I should really list my father as cowriter. It's a true story, and it happened to him. Let's let him tell it:
... "The 1st Sgt. sent me to town for some supplies, and while there I spotted a trumpet in a hock shop, for $20. Bought it and took it back to camp, where I started tooting in the barracks. The Commander came thru and heard the horn..and asked me if I could play 'Taps.' I did, and he said I would be blowing the horn at the lieutenant's funeral, since he fell out of a plane. I told him that I was scheduled to move out in the A.M. with my outfit, and he said, 'Not you.' My company left...for Normandy...and I tooted at the cemetery."
Reading this vignette in my father's 1980s journal inspired me to write a song about it. It just boggles my mind to think about the long, continuous thread, woven through time, that began when he first picked up a cornet at the age of six, in 1924, through his Army days in the 1940s, onward to his marriage to my mother, the birth of his five children, his journal, and his passing, and finally to my attempting to capture all of this in one song.
The lyrics have been written, but I'm still struggling with the melody and chords. I think I've finally settled on the key of A-minor (after several other keys just didn't work for me). It now also includes the F major 7th chord (I LOVE major 7th chords) as well as E suspended 4th (another fave). I was happy to learn last evening that one of my favorite Carole King songs (It's Too Late) also is in A-minor (actually, A-minor seventh) and includes both the F major 7th and E suspended 4th. As Chuck says, though, "there are only just so many chord progressions." But I'm happy to know that I'm on the right track.
Hopefully, the song will be finished before 2014 -- 90 years after my Grandpa Luigi brought home a cornet, handed it to my father, and told him, "Suona" ("Play") -- which he did, by ear.