What Are the Best Songs With a Touch of Whimsy?

Themes and variation

Themes and variation

To continue this conversation, add to our collaborative Spotify playlist (below), reach out to us on Twitter, share your thoughts on Slack (if you’re a Soundfly Subscriber), or email us at [email protected]. We would love to hear from you!

What do you think of when you hear the word “whimsy?” Does it make you think of things that are playful or silly? Or do you perhaps feel it as more of a sense of spontaneity and abandon? Does it even have to be fun at all? You may also seek whimsy in a song’s fanciful musical ornaments and quirky compositional devices.

In our newest and 20th episode of Themes and Variation, our trio of podcast panelists tries desperately to articulate what “whimsy” even means to begin with, all the while grooving out in a goofy shuffle with musical examples that simply make you feel good, no matter what state you’re in; an ’80s earworm, a musical mnemonic device, and a midcentury orchestral work that wraps up at under two minutes long.

We’re joined (yet again) by Soundfly’s Founder and CEO, Ian Temple, a pianist, composer, and producer, and lover of all things silly. Check out our 20th episode!

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If you’re enjoying this episode, and you’d like to learn more about some of the musical topics we frequently touch on, check out Soundfly’s free companion course for songwriting prompts and additional resources. From scale modes to melody-writing and even audio production tips and tricks, we’ve curated some extra resources for listeners who want to go the extra creative mile and put stuff from the episode into action.

Episode 20 Highlights

1.  As whimsical as it is, “You make My Dreams” is a little painful for Carter to hear.

Carter: “Another just a little fun fact on this track. Big hockey fan and this was the Toronto Maple Leafs goal song for a couple of seasons so, I have some pangs when I hear this song a little bit because you know, my beloved Edmonton Oilers would be playing in Toronto and they’d get scored on and this song immediately comes on…”

2.  Not only funky and whimsical, “1612” is also incredibly helpful.

Ian: “But what really makes this song so whimsical is that it is literally a mnemonic device. This is a song that was written to help remember a door code. Like the part where Carter just shut off the song, he’s singing like ‘1-6-1-2’ and then he waits a second and goes ‘star’…”

3.  If you don’t use a typewriter in “The Typewriter,” Mahea will have a bone to pick with you.

Mahea: “I think even symbolically, when you think about a typewriter as a word processor and something that was much more convenient than a printing press or something like that… Typewriters have kind of a creative urgency to them. Like you always picture the novelist who can’t quite get their book written. One thing I saw when I was looking at scores, that I don’t like is there are scores that literally say that the typewriter can be replaced by woodblocks and chimes if you need it to, and I hate that!”

Join Our Collaborative Playlist

Just like we do every time we launch a new episode, we’ve created a collaborative Spotify playlist in order to share every song mentioned in this episode and explore many others that fit this whimsical topic. We need your help, we want your help, and we can’t wait to hear the silly songs you love!

Go ahead and add your selected songs to the playlist!

We’ll see you in two weeks with a new theme, new guests, and some new songs to break down. If you have any comments, questions, or theme suggestions, drops us a line at [email protected]!

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