Haven't Got Time For The...strings?

Haven't Got Time For The ....strings?  

I write this while on a flight down to Houston to visit my mother. The airline gods have smiled upon me this morning with a first class upgrade : - )

Next week, I am playing a private event with Carly Simon in LA, so I spent the flight brushing up on her tunes.  I am returning to the 2nd keys chair, which is what I played on her tour in 2005.  So, I will be covering mainly string parts.  I thought I'd start with the heavy string tune, "Haven't Got Time For The Pain".  

This has always been one of my Carly favorites and is also so fun to play.  I remember learning the song, but that was eight years ago and this recording is known for its string arrangement.  I decided to make this blog's analysis a study of the string arrangement.  

One thing I have been pushing myself to do is to internalize my musical thoughts and to conceive ideas that come organically from my voice instead of executing simply what my fingers feel like playing.  As I was studying the various string parts, I not only noticed reoccurring motifs (which is natural in music), but discovered how the string parts echo the lyrics.  

Carly Simon - Haven't Got Time For The Pain - YouTube

Example 1:

On the second chorus (56"), the strings double Carly's rhythm on "got time" and then answer with a 16th note motif that echoes the phrasing of the lyric "haven't got".  

Example 2:

On the third chorus (2'11") , there is an 8th note figure that echoes "for the pain".  Between these three motifs, the strings are repeating what Carly's singing, almost like background vocalists would. 

So that was maybe a bit of the music nerd in me talking.  I would also like to point out how aesthetically the verses and choruses change in mood.  The strings in the verses are for the most point lush sustains.  In the verses, Carly describes her pain, and on the chorus she declares how she simply doesn't have time, room or need for the pain.  

Example 3:

"Suffering was the only thing made me feel I was alive, thought that's just how much it cost to survive in this world."  (1'47")

First of all, wow....what a powerful lyric!  Now notice the high trill towards the end of that phrase.  When I hear that, I imagine all of the weight of the world barely hanging in the balance.  

Example 4:

This musical phrase at the end almost sounds like a second melody and again (2'48"), notice how naturally the lyrics fit within.  It develops later into this contrapuntal (opposite directions) open sounding voicings (a la Copland).  Not a string part, but I love the shaker and little bell.  I hear a typewriter (what's that?) when I hear this ending.  Maybe the arranger was trying to mimic sounds of an office or the stresses of that evironment.  

There you have it.  My analysis of Haven't Got Time For The Time.  Enjoy this song and I encourage you to hear my string arrangements on her Grammy Nominated, Moonlight Serenade album.

Thanks for reading.

Alex

 

 Example 1

Example 1

 Example 2

Example 2

 Example 3

Example 3

 Example 4

Example 4