Today's rehearsal was a little different. A violist named Rose sat in and jammed with us. On viola.
Every now and again I'll be writing a song and think, "This would sound better on acoustic guitar than piano." Or, "We could really ramp this part up with bass." Less frequently I'll think organ, electric guitar, maybe even cello. I do my best to come up with a decent arrangement on keyboard for live performances, and I file away the arrangements I hear in my head for when we record and bring in some session players.
Up until a couple weeks ago, I'd never thought, "I wonder how that would sound with viola."
But Rose heard us at our last gig, liked us a bunch, and asked if we'd like to play on the album she's recording. She also said that if we had any songs we thought she could contribute to, she'd be happy to do it.
So, viola. Viola? OK. I pondered everything we've written and made a list of songs that could maybe ... possibly ... be enhanced by that particular instrument. Couldn't hurt to try.
We did. Wow.
Viola, it turns out, adds a beautiful, rich texture to piano and drums. I guess I knew that already from listening to other people's stuff, but I'd never thought it could work for ours.
The jam reminded me of how, once you write a song and release it to the world, it's not entirely yours anymore. It can do things you never thought about, go in directions you hadn't imagined.