Knackerman

Short story: I wrote a song to Pat Rothfuss‘s lyrics for the super-fun charity event Wordbuilders.

Long story: I’ve got two favourite charity events. The Project for Awesome is a whirlwind crazy fun two days of the YouTube community banding together to decrease world-suck. Worldbuilders, by contrast, is a long-haul event with fun-crazy spread over an entire two months.

I started following Worldbuilders four years ago, because I was following Pat’s blog, because Pat wrote The Name of the Wind, which I’d already read twice at that point.

Some people get warm fuzzies from knowing their donation will help bring families out of poverty. Some people get warm fuzzies from imagining all the awesome stuff they might win. Personally, I get my biggest warmest fuzzies just from the atmosphere of books, books, more books, blog posts about new books, old books, books I might like, books other people like, special books, series of books, piles and piles of books. Oh, and their authors, too. So. It’s fun to follow.

This year Pat ramped up the fun by adding “acts of whimsy,” where when certain goals are met a person (such as other authors I am a fan of) will do a whimsical thing (FANTASY AUTHORS ARE ALL INSANE). Needless to say, having been a fan of Pat’s for years, I was super excited when he contacted me about doing something and now we are bestest friends. You can read his side of the story in his blog post about the song.

About the song: As soon as I heard the name, I knew it was The One. The sound, the rhythm, the creepy undertones, all wrapped up in a single word destined for music. Pat told me it was a duet for two female voices, and that it was sung in a circle. Perfect!

I could imagine that the first time through it was simple, a folk song everyone knew and could sing, but with each repetition a given pair of singers might make it increasingly complex, showing off their individual skill and creativity. I wanted it to have the unsettling changes in meter appropriate for a song called Knackerman. I wanted it to be interesting to listen to, despite being for just two a cappella voices. What I ended up with was fairly difficult to sing, especially when trying to record one voice with all its weird timings and no second voice to listen to and work from. The stomps and claps not only add a bit of percussion, but are essential for keeping time through the meter changes. Note the heart-beat stomps during “give me your heart” :D

I know what fans of TNotW who have already read Pat’s blog post are wondering: How could I possibly give up the chance to have Tinker Tanner? I don’t know! The heart wants what the heart wants.

Anyway, while I actually did this for fun, the story is that I’m doing it for charity, so if you like it, maybe buy someone a goat or something.

Edit: it is now on SoundCloud, where you can download it.