Miss Flappy Bat

I’d like to tell you a bit about a bat.

A flappy bat.

Yes, I know that “flappy” is not a word, but I want it to be, and that’s one reason I love writing music and lyrics … NO RULES. Of course there are “rules” in music composition and English grammar, but sometimes rules need to be broken … intelligently … to wrangle one’s art as one’s vision guides.

So … “Flappy Bat” … it’s just fun to say out loud. Try it! Flappy bat. Flappy bat.

My Halloween Carol, “Flappy Bat,” is an interesting creature. As I’ve said on a recent podcast (linescratchers.com), she is a Type B personality – a wise woman who knows her worth. She’s confident and patient enough to wait for people to listen to the domineering, Type A songs of mine, and then come and explore her world.

I will say, however, that she was not pleased when a careless, lazy, ho-hum newspaper reporter referred to her as “Flabby Bat” last week. Indeed, she was rather miffed. I would be, too! Calling a woman flabby … sheesh.

I scored the strings in “Flappy Bat” to sound like bats’ wings fluttering wildly. This is mostly seen in the inner voices as they move in and out in patterns – sometimes parallel, other times contrary. The vocal duet (my voice on two different recording tracks) represents the two wings of a bat. I had their volumes mixed to sound exactly equal to one another, almost indistinguishable, so to make a perfectly balanced harmonic blend.

The history of this song covers the bat’s association with Halloween. In pre-medieval Celtic lands, pagans celebrated Samhain on November 1 (the Celtic New Year). Samhain means “Summer’s End,” and the eve of Samhain was the night they believed the dead visited the earth. Bonfires, which were always a part of this celebration, attracted insects, which in turn attracted … bats.

As the traditions weaved and twisted through the centuries, bonfires were used cruelly to end the lives of those accused of witchcraft. Bats were attracted to these bonfires for the same reason. And this time, the superstitious people believed that the witches were shape-shifting into these bats to escape.

As I was writing the lyrics, it hit me that the face of a bat looks a little demonic. And isn’t that a truth of life? Appearances do not always represent the heart. (On the other hand, bat faces are kind of cute in their own way.)

I hope you enjoy delving deeper into this Halloween Carol and let her fluttering wings take your thoughts across the centuries.

Flappy bat flapping at

Halloween bonfires great,

Have you caught any moth

Fluttering to its fate?

Witches’ stakes – grave mistakes –

Summon your swooping grace.

Might your shape be escape,

Masked by a devil’s face?

Pointy wings, echoings

Guide your nocturnal flight

Past the hills, sweeping chills

With your form by moonlight.