Annie – Maybe – chords and melody
For an unknown reason, I woke up this morning with the ending of Maybe, from the Broadway musical “Annie”, stuck in my head. I’ve always liked the arpeggiated melody, and I felt compelled to transcribe it.
My first instinct was to get to get out of bed, walk into the living room and sit down at my piano. However, it was extremely early(around 5am) and I didn’t want to get up just yet. So, I thought back to my college sight reading classes, and was reminded of singing short musical passages while standing in front of my peers. This was always an embarrassing and challenging experience, but the results were highly beneficial.
I decided that I would stay in bed and try to figure this thing out without the use of an instrument, apart from my mind, and my musical training. The best tool for deciphering notes in a melody is solfege. I laid in bed, envisioning the piano under my finger tips, singing the tune in my head in solfege syllables. Note by note, measure by measure, I was able to figure out the melody, however short it is.
After I had the melody, I thought I would also challenge myself with the harmonies, or chords. This was slightly more challenging because the chords contain notes that are not in the song’s key. Nevertheless, I was still able to distinguish the notes by finding the nearest note in the key and raising or lowering half-step accordingly.
About an hour later, with the tune still repeating in my head, I got out of bed and made my morning coffee. Instead of sitting at the piano and playing through the tune, I thought I would write it out first. I sat at my computer, opened Finale and got to work. I kept the volume on mute so that I would not be using my ears, but rather I would be using only solfege and my mental picture of the piano to write out the melody and chords. I was able to complete the chart quickly and accurately.
If you’ve read this far, you may be wondering, “Why would he share this?” If you are a musician, it’s simply in the interest of reminding you to always challenge your musical mind. I know that I often tend to rely too heavily on my ear, but if you have music theory knowledge, it can really make things easier for you. I am going to make it a personal goal to complete this exercise with a new song once per week, and recommend that every musician do the same. It does not matter how simple the tune is.
Here are the chords and melody as I remembered them: