Student’s Lesson

Stories and Paul Kelly

Student activity

Refer to the film at 28:00.

The film producer and good friend talk about Paul Kelly’s songs and how they have become reflections of his life.  The quote ‘the songs are not about himself, they are stories’ is an interesting way to view his catalogue of songs over the years.

  1. Choose one of the remaining songs in the documentary of your own liking and select a portion of the lyrics used.
  2. Consider how this extract may be representative of Paul Kelly’s own journey.
What the extract is about Ways it reflects Paul Kelly’s journey Ways it is different
  1. Listen closely to the music used to accompany the song. Describe the music and the instruments used.
  2. Paul Kelly has the ability to use well-crafted repetitive chord patterns as the basis of the harmony and structure of many of the great songs he has written.
    1. Select several related chords from a key such as A minor, E minor, C, D, G etc and try to create a simple but well-structured pattern of music.
    2. If you have access to computer composition software or an instrument, compose a chord pattern as the basis of the song. Think in 4 bar phrases of 4/4 time, perhaps changing chords once or twice a bar.
    3. Write down the chord progression.
  1. Now you have written this, try to create a stanza of lyrics that tell a brief tale of something you have done or experienced in your own life. Think about how this story can become a melody and then work with the accompaniment you have created. Think back to the anthem like melodies of ‘To Her Door’, whereby the catch of the song or ‘hook’ is what makes it work. If possible share your work in class, and then record different versions of the song to make it work as a composition.
Teacher’s Notes