Harmony and The Unexpected

Post written and copyright 2014 by Doris McCraw







The summer vacation season is almost over, and while I love the visitors, and the paycheck, I also miss my research and sharing new information. I also miss having the time to read and write. I will be sharing my love of history soon, but I want to talk a bit about music, harmony, writing and the unexpected. A current video hit making the rounds on You Tube brought home how harmony, writing and the unexpected are a big part in keeping life, music and writing fun. Here is the link :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l3dsHCScxU&list=TLCTv2gqQYyxU1ruheyvEFki-hEcdIGJMK


As a child, music was always a big part of life. My father, grandfather and uncle all had lovely voices, but were afraid to sing in public. That did not prevent them from sharing their love of music which included Hogey Charmichael, Benny Goodman, Eddie Arnold and many others. Somehow in all of this a love of harmony, probably from playing piano from an early age and singing, became important to me. Despite being a soprano, the harmony parts were intriguing and I worked to add that to my repertoire. I still remember Roy and Dale’s harmony on “Happy Trails”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcYsO890YJY

Life can be enjoyable when things run smoothly, but they can also get boring. Add the unexpected will help us enjoy the normal.  Think O’Henry stories.

William Sydney Porter by doubleday.jpg
Portrait of O. Henry, by W. M. Vanderweyde, 1909


With writing, the formulas work well, but to make the story your own, add the unexpected elements or turn the story on its head. Whether is works or not, it mixes things up, gives a new perspective and perhaps new joy to something that has gotten a bit stale. Many are trying to genre’s, new experiences in our lives.  The one thing all the research has taught is those who were the explorers, the inventors and pioneers learned to understand the rules and how to do the unexpected. Here is to living with great harmony and doing the unexpected with the normal.

Just for fun, a country take on a current popular tune: The original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PCkvCPvDXk

The unexpected version:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuyGVhQFLbs&list=RDBuyGVhQFLbs#t=0


Product Details

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22 thoughts on “Harmony and The Unexpected

  1. Music is pretty much continuous here, but I can’t write with vocals in the background. So, much as I might like my old rock albums, it’s jazz for me. In the past ten years I’ve really found a groove…so to speak!


    1. Richard,
      As I’ve gotten older I’ve found I can’t write with words in the background, unless college where it didn’t matter. Classical is my to choice.
      Gotta love those groves.



  2. Doris,

    Music is so important to me, even though my musical talents are limited to singing only to children (lol), and playing the harmonica. When I’m in ‘deep writing mode’, I turn on my favorite movie soundtracks for inspiration. Generally speaking, classical music plays in the background almost 24/7 at my house. I didn’t grow up in a musically talented household, but the radio played country music, and my grandfather sang to me and taught me to play the harmonica.

    Elton John says it well (once you get past the darn advertisement – grrr): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X23v5_K7cXk


    1. Kaye,
      Elton John does it so well. It is amazing how music informs so much of our lives. Like you classical is the music of choice when writing, but otherwise my choice is whatever the mood calls for.
      I never quite mastered the harmonica, but there is still some time. Doris


    1. Neva, thank you for the encouragement. On a side note, I’ve always said everyone can sing, but everyone cannot sing everything. (Grin) Doris


  3. My brothers play guitar, and when I was younger, we’d all gather in the living room or on the back porch and play and sing. It was so much fun! i miss that. Thanks for sharing the video links too, Doris! I loved “Ring of Fire”!


    1. Stephanie, Wasn’t that a great version of ‘Ring of Fire’ and pretty unexpected.
      I used to play piano all hours of the day and night. I can still remember my father enjoying it, but had to say something when I was playing at midnight. (Sigh) Doris


  4. Doris, this was such a lovely blog. I always wanted to learn to play the piano. For all that I can play other instruments, I could never get my left and right hands to coordinate on the piano. What a bummer.
    I agree that the unexpected is a necessary element in a story to keep the spark alive. No one wants to read the same old-same old dry story line. I certainly wouldn’t want to read a predictable story. Where’s the fun and adventure in that?
    I wish you the very best in your work and happiness.


    1. Sarah,

      Thank you so much for stopping by. I think one of the reasons I’m so ambidextrous is playing piano from about the age five forward.

      I think my favorite thing, to read the first two pages of the book and the last two pages and if I can’t figure out what happens inbetween then I’m a happy camper. (Grin) Doris


  5. Doris, a fun blog post! You are so talented — thank you for sharing your gifts of music, history, writing, love of nature, and so much more with so many people! I look forward to your future blog posts!!


    1. Gayle,
      You have been such a wonderful friend and supporter. Thank you. I am lucky to be given the chance to follow my meanderings and seeing where they lead me. I’ve followed up with the story in the next post. Doris


    1. And the unexpected seem to be the ‘greatest treasures’. Many a time, something comes along that defies explanation but is so special. Thanks S. J. Doris


  6. Sad that your relatives didn’t share their voices out in public… I’m sure plenty of people would have enjoyed the songs. I had a pretty good voice before puberty, but the cracking came and what I ended up with wasn’t very good. My cousin Pat, who teaches singing, says he can teach anyone to sing proficiently. That was in response to my sister saying she is a losing cause.


  7. Mike,
    I had to smile at your sisters comment. I truly do believe that everyone can sing, they just can’t sing everything. (Of course there are those who say rap is not singing, ) I would have loved to have heard your young voice, and you probably do have a decent one now, I would bet.
    The best things my relatives did was give me a love to music and singing, for that I will always be thankful. Doris


  8. I grew up with family members, including my dad, who had lovely voices but also never sang in public. I really like your mingling of the towing the line and doing the unexpected. A little red herring or ‘wobbly’ inserted into a story really can make it much more exciting!


    1. Nancy,
      So true. Red Herrings are such a joy to use and make for some fun stories.

      I will say, my family did instill a love of music into my life and I am forever grateful. Doris


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