One of my mentors said this to me years ago. I didn't really believe him then. At that point in time, I had not written very many songs and I had not had anything published as yet. I had supposed what he meant was that the music publishing business was not very lucrative. Whereas, that statement is probably true, I think he had a different meaning in mind. He wanted to warn me that sometimes a song will take on a life of its own.
Composers tend to think that what they write down is how a piece of music will be used and performed forevermore. (After all, they take great care to include all the intended notes, AND also performance directions using dynamic, tempo, and expression marks.) That, it turns out, is a very naive notion.
First of all, composers tend to write for a certain occasion and set of performers. They imagine in their minds the product as they are writing. Well, in reality, the end product will always be subject to the talent and proficiencies of the performers. They may execute the notes according to the score, but the performers will also add their own interpretations. They may have a completely different idea about how it should be performed!
For example, TEMPO makes a big difference! A song the composer intended to be performed upbeat, will have a completely different flavor if performed at a slower tempo. The mood may go from "charged with excitement" to "peaceful and quiet" like a lullaby.
INSTRUMENTATION can also change the entire song. The composer who wrote for a large choir with orchestra may be shocked to hear his song performed by just a soloist and guitar. He may also be delighted.
As a COMPOSER, I have been surprised and mostly delighted when I hear how my songs are being used. Surprised at how widespread across the world they have been performed. Delighted to hear of and sometimes get to visit a school or Church when my music is being performed or watch a cover on a YouTube video..
There have been times, though, when I scratch my head and wonder how the performers came up with their unique interpretations. That's when I remember what my mentor told me that "publishing your music means giving it away."
It is TRUE! Sometimes a song will take on a life of its own.
NEW - Unison and 2-Part Version A simplified version of "Building on a Legacy of Faith" is available FREE for solo, duet, or small choir or family group, or other Missions to use as their Mission Song.