TechTales: How music therapy can help in turbulent times

Jul 26, 2018 at 09:11 am by tchoate

Has the political season and the non-stop negative news cycle got you down?

For the musically inclined, writing songs has long been cheap therapy for times like these. Some of these songs inevitably capture the mood of the populace and are immortalized in popular music such as Buffalo SpringField's “For What It's Worth,” Marvin Gaye's “What's Going On,” Macklemore's “Same Love” or Green Day's “American Idiot.”

But what about the rest of us who aren't that musical, don't play instruments and are unlikely to drop a No. 1 hit anytime soon?

We need therapy too.

Fortunately, it's technology to the rescue and anyone than can use a web browser and carry a tune can create original music and lyrics using online tools.

One of my favorites is a website called HookTheory. This site features a composition tool called HookPad that offers an intuitive way to combine melody, chord progressions and lyrics to create your own original songs using only a web browser (you will need a browser capable of running Adobe's Flash player and a large screen doesn't hurt).

In addition, the site has basic music theory training and a searchable database with segments of popular songs that have been dictated using the HookPad tools. You can load these segments into HookPad and see how the magic happens.

Finally, the coolest thing about these tools is probably the “Magic Chord” feature that looks at your song in progress and makes recommendations about what chord structure would sound good based on analysis of its database of popular music.

Happy songwriting and please post in the comments below about any songs (with YouTube link) that help you make it through the day.

Tim Choate is President/CEO of Bondware Web Solutions, a web-based software company in Murfreesboro, TN.