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  1. 7 points
    Do you have any concept of what a victim of sexual assault goes through? Andrea and the other victims of creepy crosby will never completely "heal" and will deal with his crimes for the rest of their lives, no matter how much money they receive.
  2. 4 points
    After @Moso 's kind words on Donna and my song "Coyote" I simply have to respond to his request to talk about how the vocals and bridge were done. I don't pretend to be an expert in production (there are many with more knowledge than I on the Muse) but maybe others will get some ideas from my process and add them to their own. First off you need to make a track with your background music, or at least enough of it to sing along to. The arrangement should be decided before you track vox IMO. I find you need instruments in the backing track that are close in frequency to your vocals - such as a piano or guitar. The surest way to sing out of tune is to sing to a bass track Use a decent mic that suits your voice. I use an old Shure 545 dynamic cartridge mic. My vocal is naturally "tinny" and needs some bottom end which this mic provides. Use a screen pop filter Gets rid of explosives caused by puffs of air. I find a screen filter works better than a "foam" one which I find changes the EQ of the mic. Distance from mic I sing about 4-6 in from the pop screen which is about 2 in from the mic. Mic pre-amp Use a mic preamp so that the input level is high enough that it doesn't clip, but has a high s/n (signal to noise) ratio so you don't get any hiss. Rather than spend $300, I use the mic preamp in my stereo audio system which is pretty clean. Don't over-sing! This is a mistake I kept making in the past - I'm trying to rid myself of it. I worried about every phrase, pronouncing every word, making each note pitch-perfect. Don't think about "impressing" anyone with your singing - serve the song - that's the only one you need to impress. Do multiple takes You can then pick and choose best tuning/phrasing etc. from each track. Copy/paste together to get a final raw track. I use Audacity for recording and editing mainly because I'm familiar with it. Effects/plug-ins are done in my DAW - either Acid Pro or Reaper currently. Amplify/reduce words/phrases that seem too low or too high in the mix This is a pre-compressor process for the really low/high stuff. I also amplify soft consonants like an "s" or "f" at the ending of words as these are sometimes lost at the compression stage. Silence regions where there are no vocals. Apply compression on the raw track. I use Isotope's 3-band vocal compression plug-in. This levels out the vocal so everything is heard clearly. Create a new track for wet only reverb and create it by applying a decent reverb plug-in to the compressed track. I like to bring reverb up or down depending on parts of the song. For parts where there is less instrumentation, the vox need less reverb and vise versa. Edit the reverb track to change these levels where needed. I don't typically double-track a lead vocal. I have done this in the past, but it makes the vox seem unnatural to me. I sometimes sing a track an octave down or up, or both to strengthen the lead vox if I feel it needs it. Harmony Vocals The main thing I try to remember with harmonies is: Don't compete with the lead vox! Sing these a bit further from mic sing harmonies like a background singer would - don't compete! EQ away from lead vox - sometimes I pull down low/mid freqs compress 1st harm only - this keeps the level below lead vox consistent space harms across stereo field - don't center them! lower in mix than lead vox avoid too many harmonies - you'll sound like a barbershop quartet! use them to build the song - typically leave them out in the early stages. don't put harms on every lead line - stay out of the barbershop! give them more reverb than lead vox - makes them less distinct - less competitive line up timing with lead vox Greek chorus This is what I call any oooo's/aaahhh's or falsetto bg vox mix them extreme left/right in the stereo field give them the most reverb of all vox - almost like the audience is singing them lower level in mix than harm I usually end up with six mixed-down stereo vocal tracks: - compressed lead vox - lead vox reverb (based on compressed lead vox) - harm bus (all harms that are not greek chorus) - harm bus reverb - greek chorus - greek chorus reverb Then I mix the song down to a stereo unmastered track. Remember: "Lead vocal rules!" "He is King for all to serve!" - every other vocal and instrument is there to support him. And of course, mastering the track will help the sound of your vocals - I use Isotope again for this. Their "Country" preset was used on Coyote. I'll add another entry for the bridge development. Hope I haven't bored you! cheers Paul
  3. 4 points
    - Understanding the Thought Process Behind Drum-Part Creation - Whether you compose through electronic means or utilize an actual drum kit, it’s helpful to know what works best, what doesn’t & why. Regardless of method, the thought process behind creation is the same. Brief audio snippets (green text) are scattered throughout this article. Opening the links as “new tabs” allows you to hear the example while you’re reading the corresponding description. As a starting point, I’ve put together a short-list of variables. These are things I take into consideration when structuring drum parts for a new song. What’s the genre of the song? For a multitude of reasons, I don't begin structuring a final drum part until song-basics are pretty well set. By basics, I mean: Melody A rough idea of lyrical content & subject matter Backing chord patterns (basics of the song's musical movement) Tentative song structure (intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc.) Those basic components tell me what type of song I'm dealing with. Regardless of personal preference, the drum part you craft should be an appropriate match for song & genre. For example, a typical metal drum line probably won't fit well in a country/pop song. By itself, the part may sound cool & impressive. More-so, if you happen to be a fan of metal. The thing is, no one will ever hear it by itself! It’ll only be heard within the context of the song. Bottom line - writing new parts is always about how they affect the song as a whole, NOT about the part itself. As a drummer, I was slow to learn that lesson. As a songwriter, it was immediately obvious. Perspective is an amazing thing! Genre is a vague concept. Because of that, it's not unusual for a song to straddle several. Proper arrangement choices (including drum parts) can help push that song in one direction or another. Let’s look at a specific example (audio snippet #1) …say your song straddles country & pop. You could push it in the direction of country by employing twangy guitars and a country sounding drum part. How is the movement of the melody structured (meter, flow, rhythm)? Remember…melody is the single most important part of any song! Whether it's sung or played instrumentally, that melody & its appeal have a huge effect on the song's likability. If you're the songwriter, this is your money-maker. Protect it at all costs! If you're the drummer, you need to recognize & accept a harsh reality. Your drum part will NOT be the reason that listeners like the song! It can certainly be a contributing factor, but it will NOT the big reason. I was a drummer long before I became a songwriter, so I've stood on both sides of this argument. Drummers prefer challenging parts…songwriters want parts appropriate for the song. And while I do empathize, it all boils down to this…“arrangements are created as support for songs”, not the other way around. What matters most is how your part effects the song as a whole. Moving right along, try to craft something that compliments the melodic movement of the song. Once you have a specific part in mind, try playing it along with the melody. If others are involved in the project, ask for their input. If you’re working alone, songwriter/musician forums can be useful for obtaining outside perspectives. What type of arrangement do you have in mind? I'm not suggesting the whole arrangement be set-in-stone before starting the drum part, but it’s helpful to have at least a rough idea. Do you plan to use piano? Are you thinking of multiple guitar tracks? Might additional percussion be a good fit (congas, tambourine, shaker, etc.)? What I’m getting at is this…whatever ideas you do have for the arrangement, factor those into the creation of your drum part. I’ll list a few more in-depth examples: A) If you plan a busy arrangement…with lots of instrumental movement, a simpler drum part may be better. A song isn't a contest for dominance! If you have cool ideas for intricate piano parts & a tasteful signature guitar track, your drum part should allow those parts to shine through. No, the drums don’t have to be boring! Just build the complexities into simpler song sections. Those piano & guitar parts I referred to…let's say they’re intended for the verses & bridge. That means your chorus sections can employ a more sophisticated drum part. Varying the dominant instrument from section to section adds variety to an arrangement. It also makes the dominant instrument more noticeable. When that chorus section rolls around & the drums start kicking butt, that change immediately grabs the listeners’ attention. B Sometimes arrangements are sparse. It’s not unheard of to strip instrumentation down, utilizing only bass & drums for the verse sections. This type of arrangement presents the perfect opportunity for creative drum parts. You can experiment with intricate syncopation, polyrhythms…really flex those creative muscles. Limited, simple instrumentation = fewer potential conflicts. C) If some parts of your arrangement are already fixed (final), do those parts heavily accent specific counts? Do several parts accent the same counts? I ask these questions because it is possible to over-do accents. Too much duplication can make an arrangement sound stiff. D) What impact, if any, would you like drums to have on the songs’ development.... beginning-to-end? I’ll clarify that question a bit by breaking it into smaller parts: a) Would you like the song to build as it progresses? If you do, drums are an easy way to achieve that end. It's not uncommon to bring them in gradually, layering in additional complexity & momentum as the song progresses. b Would you like a specific section of the song to jump out & grab the listener’s attention? (snippet #2) One way to achieve that is to hold back much of the instrumentation (including all the drums). The song you hear playing in the background does exactly that. "The Real World" begins with a verse comprised of a single guitar & vocal, adds an organ around the half-way point, then smacks you all at once with the entry of drums, bass, piano, a second guitar & doubled vocal. c) Would you prefer drums to play a minimal part in the songs’ development? One way to achieve that is with a consistent sounding drum track. Something with the same feel start-to-finish. "Rain King" by Counting Crows is a great example of consistency. d) Would a change in drum tempo, from half time - to full time be useful? (snippet #3) It’s a common method for varying the feel of a song. Say your song is set at 120 BPM. The beat used for your verse sections can be made to feel as if it's being played at 60 BPM, while the choruses are played full-time (120 BPM). Selecting Beat Patterns Have you ever heard a song on the radio & been instantly being drawn to it? For years I accepted that experience at face value, never bothering to ask myself why. Then I began writing songs. As a writer, I discovered it was in my best interest to explore those whys. Why am I attracted to some songs more than others? For me, the answer has a lot to do with the feel & flow of a song. Both of which depend upon beat & rhythmic choices. You may have noticed that the subtitle for this section is plural - ”patterns”. Ideally, you will select MORE THAN ONE. It's not uncommon to use 2 or 3 variations of a basic pattern for the verses of a song, then select something entirely different for the choruses. Bridge sections are often assigned unique patterns, to help set them apart from the rest of the song. Before leaving this section, I’ll share a few commonly used methods for building in variation. (*All examples assume a right-handed drummer.) 1) You can vary the specific part of the drum set being played by the right hand from section-to-section. (snippet #4) For example - hi-hat for the verses, ride cymbal for the chorus sections. It's a small change, but the impact on the overall texture of the song can be quite dramatic. For additional variety, you can sprinkle in a few hi-hat openings, as this example does in the verse sections. 2) You can vary hi-hat technique within a given song section. Playing it tightly-closed produces a very crisp, structured sound. Playing it semi-opened gives you a looser, free-floating feel. It's common for harder-driving songs to use the 2nd option. Pop rock & country tend to employ the tightly closed version, but often combine the 2 techniques. For example - tightly closed most of the verse, then semi-opened for the final measure or two. That small change produces a shift in texture just prior to entry of the chorus. The variance also serves to announce the coming of a change. It often precedes a cymbal crash, which punctuates the actual change in sections. 3) You can employ a basic right-hand rhythm, then utilize misc. percussion to embellish the feel of the pattern. For example - a quiet 1/4 note right-hand hi-hat (1-2-3 & 4 counts), then on a separate track record a tambourine or soft-shake to fill-in the straight 1/8 note feel. That gives it a busier, more constant overall texture. It also adds variety & depth to the rhythmic feel. 4) It’s common in metal & hard rock genres for the right hand to play a straight pattern on the edge of a crash-ride cymbal. This technique produces an effect comparable to a prolonged crash. When it’s combined with the heavy rates of compression that are commonly used in those genres, it adds a blurred, heavy edge to the song. I have one final piece of beat-pattern advice to pass on to non-drummer songwriters. Please…when you put together a song demo, DON’T select a single mechanical beat & use it beginning-to-end. IMHO nothing makes a demo sound more amateurish! It doesn’t have to sound like Neil Peart, but it does need some variation. Remember…every part of an arrangement impacts the listener’s impression. That includes your drum track! The Story on Rolls (Fills) You’ll find that opinions vary on…. · when to use a roll · what type is most appropriate · how complex they should be For drummers, many of those decisions are determined by personal style. Since most non-drummer songwriters lack percussive expertise, they tend to be guided by listening experience. For this tutorial, I’m going to stick to basics & allow plenty of room for personal discretion. Beats serve primarily to establish rhythmic feel, but rolls are used for a variety of functions: 1) Prevent monotony - In other words, to break up the consistent flow established by your beats, making the overall rhythm track more interesting. 2) Serve as fills… much as lead licks, keyboard or bass riffs do. Rolls are frequently placed between lyric/melody lines to help fill gaps & maintain the momentum. 3) Indicate (announce) a coming change, as demonstrated by the next audio clip. (snippet #5) Some examples being…. the start of a new vocal sequence a change from verse to chorus a shift in dynamics…quiet to loud, or visa-versa Rolls are also used in combination with lead licks, or other fill elements. (snippet #6) When they’re employed in this way, caution should be exercised. You want to avoid timing conflicts between fill instruments. Bottom line – it’s harder to pull-off, but very cool when it’s done cleanly! It’s common to alternate fill instruments. You can use a drum roll this time, a guitar lick next time, keyboard run, and so on. This will get you even more variety, with the added benefit of making each fill instrument more prominent. Listeners notice them more because they’re the only instrument presenting variation at that particular moment. To Crash or Not-To Crash Cymbal crashes are useful tools when employed tastefully. Here are a few examples of common applications: - to accent, or call attention to a specific count within a measure - to add dynamics to a section of music by boosting the high-end frequencies & overall volume of that specific section - to mark a change in the structure of the song (for example, moving from the verse to chorus) - in combination with rolls, particularly longer, more elaborate ones…to break them up, reinforce accents and add color, as shown in the brief demonstration below Tom Hoffman "Arrangement 101" resource pg. Tune-Smith.com Tom Hoffman YouTube
  4. 4 points
    I agree with everything Paul has said. It is always interesting to hear about other's processes. I have a few comments, and a couple of different ways of doing things . With vocals and other acoustically recorded tracks such as acoustic guitar, unless you have a treated room at home it is nearly impossible to get a professional sound. The room reflections just give too many EQ issues. So I say do your practice vocals at home then pack up your lap top interface mic stand and pop shield and go to a studio and dry hire a sound booth, track the vocals there. In the production process I only do one process in solo mode all other processing I do in context with the whole track. The solo button is the enemy of a good vocal mix. You can not get the vocal to sit in the track forwards backwards left right or up and down if your processing in solo mode. How would you know? What might sound great in solo, in context be too far back. In solo mode I will do the following. Subtractive EQ: Create a boost EQ of say 15 to 18 db with a narrow Q, say eight. I will then looking at the frequency analysis, sweep up and down the range listening for any unpleasant noises. If I find one I will expand the Q until I hear some good stuff coming back in. I will then back it of slightly narrow it. Then zero the db, switch off solo mode, and in context with the track pull down that frequency until I feel it sounds right. I will then in context AB the EQ to see if I have improved the sound. I will check for any low end noise that may be there, and roll it off if necessary. There may be more that one frequency that needs subtractive EQ. Track prep: I will remove any paper rustle or incidental noise from the track. Label everything, colour code everything. Boring but it helps with speed, speed is everything. I always colour the same track types the sane colour for every mix I do so I can find things instantly. The following processes are all in context that is the solo button is not used, I always have the track playing. I will decide if the lead vocal can be on one track. And if it can not I split it. An example of this could be, if in the verse the singer is whispering and screaming in the chorus you have no chance of EQ-ing or compressing the track with the same settings. So in that case I will have a Lead Vox verse track and a chorus track. Gain staging: I will insert a gain plug in, and adjust the gain to that the vocal is peaking most of the time at around -14db. I will then clip gain the odd parts of the vocal that are exceeding this or way below this. This is not precise amplitude editing, it is just getting rid of the major variations. I will then insert my vocal correction plug in ahead of the gain plug in as the first in the chain. print the vocal take to the plug in. Check that the plug in analysis of the take is correct and fix any issues. I will then seperate the consonants from the words. Then with the whole track playing I will hand tune, and time the vocal track and do finer amplitude adjustments. Compression: Then I will add first compression to even out the amplitude further from the gain staging, and hand amplitude adjustments I have done. I am only doing 2 db here. Genre dependant. Then I will add second compression, here I am setting the attack and decay times so I can hear the lyric clearly in the mix, hear all the low level detail I feel the song needs. This is genre dependant. I will then add colour to the vocal compression if I think it needs it. Note I switch briefly to solo mode when I am compressing to do one thing, and one thing only. Set the out put volume to the same as the input volume. Louder always sounds better, so to tell if your compression has actually improved the vocal it needs to be the same volume in by pass as it is when the compressor is active. I go back to context and A B the compressor in and out and ask myself, have I made it sound clearer more distinct. If I have then all well and good and I can press on. I will then with a note pad listen to the whole song listening for problems and jotting them down all in one listen. This is important because to retain my objectivity I need to listen to the track as little as possible. Otherwise if you listen long enough, loud enough bad stuff starts to sound good. At this stage I may have to go back to the vocal editor plug in and make finer adjustments, say the compression has created the odd plosive issue and I need to physically turn that consonant down or, I can't get a particular word to pop while still keeping the compression at a seamless level and I need to physically turn it up in volume. Now I need to refer to my reference track. Before I do, because this has already been mixed and mastered, I have to level the playing field, just like with the compression volume issue. I will insert a spectrum analyser on the mix bus, and the match EQ my whole track to that, so that the overall track has a similar frequency profile. I will add a limiter to the mix bus to simulate the mastering sound, and make sure that the reference track and my track are the same volume. I will AB the tracks insert an EQ on the vocal and do additive EQ in context which my whole track and the reference track. This is usually a high shelf boost up above where harshness happens. I will go back to the second compressor and fine tune the settings so the distance the vocal is back in the mix is the same as the reference I am aiming for. I will then D ess. I do not use a D-esser I go back into the first plug in in my chain the vocal correction plug in and turn down any s or consonant plosive that I had separated in the prep stage to remove any issues. I will now set up two to four Aux tracks depending on genre. Reverb Delay Chorus Effects for example throw delay or filtering I will create a production chain for each of those Aux tracks which will include Gain to make sure the input signal to the effect is optimal for the plug in. The plug in, delay reverb or whatever EQ perhaps compression I may on the delay Aux add reverb to the delay for example as well. I will set these effects channels to what is suitable for the sound I'm after. For example the length of the reverb tail so that it is in time with the vocal delivery, ie the tail fades before the next word. I will set the early reflections, the pre delay on the reverb to get the vocal to sit sweetly in the mix with out muddying it up too much. I am doing this with the send cranked up so there will be a bit of mud and the vocal will be too far back. The point is I am removing as much unwanted frequencies in the verb and pulling the vocal as far forward as I can with the verb exaggerated. I will then turn the send down to 0 db and slowly increase it until I can hear the reverb, then back it off 1db. Then I will listen too it critically and make automation notes. Automation. Before automation if I have conflicts with the vocal I may apply some ducking to the instrument that is causing the issue. Say a couple of db. compression on the piano side chained to the vocal track. This is about glueing the mix together more tightly. I will the ride the vocal fader with my mouse and create an approximate automation track for volume. I will then go in and fine edit the automation track. I will do the same if required for any of the say four effects aux channels. Like there might be a word where its appropriate to the prosody of the song to crank up the echo or whatever. Say the singer sings "I'm lonely" so I want him to seem like he's in a big empty room for that section. So I may increase the reverb and echo for just that word, by automation. If I am doing harmonies and back up vocals I copy the plug in chains and their settings directly across to the harmony tracks. This is a starting point I then alter the compression EQ etc to what is appropriate to backing vocals and harmonies. For example the attack and decay times on the compression are totally different for harmonies because it's support you don't want the low level detail you have created for the lead vocal. I usually tighten the harmonies up in the vocal editing plug in, by turning the consonants right down, our by just muting them. I will then follow the automation procedure for the harmonies. Thats about it. The thing is is to work fast from as few listens as you can to keep your ears fresh. To do broad bold adjustments to start and refine them through out the process. Cheers Gary
  5. 4 points
    With regard to SpanishBuddha's comments, I have followed the second trial only on the internet, so my information may be lacking. Having said that, i have three main comments. I wasn't aware that any of Cosby's four dozen plus victims ever said they found him sexually attractive. His appeal to these women and to most people was his carefully cultivated image as America's Dad, -in other words as a safe father figure. Beyond that scripted image was his commentary over the years telling young men in general, and young black men in particular, to stand up and take personal responsibility for their actions. I admired him at the time for these controversial comments. I didn't watch his Cosby show more than briefly. I certainly think those young women felt safe with Cosby, and had reason to. Celebrities of his calibre need to keep attorneys on retainer just to deal with frivolous lawsuits. I read somewhere that Michael Jackson was sued more than 500 times, and that was before he died. It may be a thousand times by now. A fraction of those 50 women may be makng it all up, but I doubt it. Certainly most of them were probably victimized. My last comment is that any victim of rape or abuse of the Cosby kind will probably never completely get over it. A handful of money will end up on years of therapy. I assume you're more sympathetic than your comment on the one survivor would indicate. I now call his former victims survivors because they abandoned their victim status when they finally spoke out and went after Cosby. I personally am very proud of these women. The jury did good. I hope he gets handcuffed and perp-walked in an orange jumpsuit at the sentencing and I hope he serves some serious time while appealing. Otherwise he'll just run out the clock. Yes Barney the verdict is a mild surprise.
  6. 4 points
    As I mentioned in my comments on the contest page, this was the most collaborative collaboration I’ve ever had. Once Peter and I were entered in the contest as a team (I’d originally volunteered to sit the contest out), we connected via email. In one of our first exchanges, I sent him the lyric. Being a rebel and the highly original writer that I am, I basically followed the contest instructions verbatim. AABA form and footwear in the lyric (as a refrain, actually). Since the first song by Peter that I heard, I’ve loved his music and felt it had a timeless quality to it. I wrote a lyric that wasn’t timeless but clearly went back to yesteryear, which I hoped would help him come up with some good rootsy music. Which he did. It wasn’t hard for me to come up with the lyric and I thought we’d end up tweaking it a lot but that didn’t happen. We briefly discussed him coming up with music first and me trying to write lyrics to it. I told him I’d done that before and it took me weeks and weeks (the only time I wrote lyrics for existing music and it was quick and easy was for a punk song and the lyrics were just pure, silly fun and pretty easy to come up with because the music was fairly basic). When he sent me his first rough draft of the first two verses, I gave him some feedback, which he took with equanimity even though I’m a musical fool. I sent him a second lyric in case the first didn’t work out, but I’m not sure he ever looked at it. We had some back and forth about pronunciation (Peter’s English is WAY better than my Swedish) and about which words to stress in the refrain. We discussed what he thought he would do musically and I made one or two suggestions, which I’m positive he rightfully ignored. We also discussed music that we loved and that inspired us. All via email. As I look back over how it developed, I’m amazed at how little we ultimately changed. Even though Peter spent a lot of time refining the music and trying all sorts of options for drums, for example, in the end it was a simple one plus one not that different from the original version he came up with. (He can address the music better than I, of course). I had written a four-line bridge and as the music came along and he developed that beautiful bridge of his, he needed one more line. So I wrote three different versions of that line and he picked one and that was the end of my involvement other than to say, “Yay! Sounds great!” In the two FAWMS and one 50/90 that I’ve done, my collaborations have consisted mostly of me posting a lyric and a musician saying, I’ll take it and the next thing I know, they’re sending me a song to okay before they post it. (And they know I’m fine with them tweaking the lyrics to meet their musical needs). There have been rare exceptions, but my input is typically non-existent once they grab the lyric. So this collaboration with Peter felt a lot more like a partnership than those types of collaborations. And I’d love to do something like this again. --Doug
  7. 4 points
  8. 4 points
    I've never written a clunker. Pathetic pieces of shit that I hope never again see the light of day, yes. But no clunkers.
  9. 4 points
    Years later I met a professional transcriber (met him in the 80's) He worked for major publishing companies. The goals he said were convenience and speed. Many songbooks are geared to beginner/novice pianists or guitarists. Preferred keys for beginner piano books are G,C,F "It's easier" they say. As for Easy Guitar blues, country and rock licks were always transcribed to the "easy" keys of E and A. Songbooks always transcribed to "Comfort Keys" E-A-D-G. Never were references made to capo usage or altered tunings. So the first thing that happens past the melody transcribing is that it is transposed. The next thing that happens is "massaging" key embelishments. If a song is in the key of C for example there is no place for a Bb it is massaged into either a B natural or an A natural. Chords are added later. Many times chord progressions are rubber stamped on to a song rather than the transcriber listening to the song, figuring out the chords and transposing into the "Easy Key" as it were. Starts on a I and ends on a V lets just make it the fifties progression (I-vi-IV-V). Forget chord inversions or slash chords the idea is to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) A funny mocumentary about "massaging" music As a jazz player and listener I've heard many renditions of standards some so far from the original it's hard to believe it's the same song. Changing the key is just the beginning. Many an artist will put their own stamp on the arrangement and labor endlessly on different approaches. Yet when heard it sounds completely natural. A small portion of the time I'll re-arrange songs for guitar while mostly seeking credible finger-style / chord melody arrangements. I'll often notice parts missing or obscured that I want to bring back into the song and.... It just doesn't happen. Sometimes the original into cannot be forced into a different key and sound natural again. Often times I like others will omit the solo section simply because when you are a one man band it becomes overkill.
  10. 3 points
    Got another one for y'all - again, these songs are in the middle of the demo stage, far from the finished product. This is a rough mix with scratch lead vocals, like the previous one I posted. There may be some other instrumentation added, along with some backing vocals in certain spots. Mostly looking for general observations about style/genre, songwriting and arrangement stuff - looking to get some of that kind of feedback early in the process. Not so much worried about production/audio issues at this stage, though if you have feedback there I'll gladly take it as well. (These are demos for a second Trembles of Fortune album; you can go to tremblesoffortune.bandcamp.com to hear songs from the first album, and they're also on YouTube and Soundcloud.) Thanks in advance for any good insights you may have.... Lyrics: Downtown's burnin', I see the reflection on the water line And everybody tells me it's all in my mind Enemy jets on my radar screen I think I need a benzodiazepine Cuz the wrong train keeps on runnin' right on time Church bells ringin', I hear the devil on my radio The nice man in the white coat tells me it's time to go, let's go Cuz all the little drummer boys and girls They don't see what I see in the world Well I guess that every coalmine needs its canary... (Chorus) So you don't have to tell me twice I think I'll call it an early night Would the last one to leave the party Turn out the lights Turn out the lights Turn out the lights (Instrumental/chorus repeat)
  11. 3 points
    It’s so scary to read what your collab partner thinks about working with you! (What if Justin had hated the whole process?) I remember us getting along really well from the start, and being truly collaborative about a lot of the decisions. So I felt like a had a great partner. I’m so glad Oswlek enjoyed the collab as much as I did. I told him early on that it looked to me like he was carrying 80% to 90% of the load. Once the lyrics were done, which happened pretty quickly, I sat back and let him spin through about 1000 remixes while he got everything just the way he wanted it. I think I said each version sounded great to me! (Which is REALLY helpful, I know!) I think for both of us, it was all about the SONG, not which one of us had the better idea. To me, that’s the perfect way to work. I love it. Justin helped me see that Less is More in lyric writing, and he was spot-on about taking out words that I originally thought were necessary. They weren’t. He was right. So now when I write, I ask myself: What can I delete from this? As much as I enjoyed this Collab, I’m not sure I would volunteer for a BLIND collab again. (I would definitely work with Justin again.) So much depends on your connection with the musician, and whether you think along the same lines, and have the same intentions for the song and the same desire to make it as good as it can be. And it helps if you are comfortable talking back and forth about what works for you and what doesn’t. I don’t think those are things you can take for granted with partnerships. It’s sort of like an arranged marriage. Sometimes they work, but what a risk! This one worked. Thanks, too, to Alistair who was brilliant in assembling (and naming) the teams, and keeping us all on track. It was a very pleasant experience.
  12. 3 points
    C'mon Dave! You know better than that! Men's sexual cravings are animalistic and uncontrollable! How can we be expected to tame our evolutionarily instilled drive for conquest? Clearly the responsibility falls on the shoulders of women to not provoke our lustful appetite. And if they do, what can I say? The outcome was inevitable.
  13. 3 points
    In the entertainment industry, much business is done in semi-social situations. Talking and walking, talking and eating, talking and drinking. That is the job interview. A big shot is at a party and you are an actor who wants that big shot to think of you for something that big shot is putting together. You will not make any connections or go anywhere if you don't meet and talk to the right people. One good word about you from person A to person B will get your an audition you will never get otherwise. It's part of the process, just as other people have to send out resumes, submit references, put on a suit, and go in for interviews to get a more typical job. If you, spanishbuddha, went in for a job interview, you wouldn't expect the company owner to instead drug and rape you, even if it was at a dinner or party, right? And if it ever did happen to you, you sure as hell would expect him to do time for it. You wouldn't expect other people to say you're just in it for the fame and money.
  14. 3 points
    Just stepping in here now. My computer has been in the hospital, and it is SO hard to type on an ipad or phone. Glad to have a real keyboard back! So, picking up on some earlier posts: Donna asked if we had a target audience in mind when we write. I really don't. When I'm writing a lyric (without music) I have ME in mind: what I want to say, some feeling I want to get across. Sort of like Paul and his thoughts about the piano. He realized he was THINKING about things when he sat down at the piano. That's how I am, only without the blessing of the piano. I know "the books" say you should definitely have an audience in mind. I think you should definitely have a MESSAGE in mind. And the audience will connect with it or not. Another point mentioned here is that you should write about what you know. I agree, but I don't think this means you have to actually have experienced the emotion/situation personally. Empathy can take you all kinds of places you've never been. I can IMAGINE a lot of different emotions/situations that I have not been in myself. And I talk with my friends a lot about what they're going through, and that expands the well of ideas. And just observing things around me gives me ideas for lyrics. Which brings up another biggie. You all are talking about writing to music tracks and coming up with your own melodies. One thing I CAN'T IMAGINE is a melody! Totally nothing there! I am in awe of people here who say they read lyrics and a melody comes to mind. Lucky you! I hear NOTHING. Don't have that gene. So I'm envious of those of you who can do that so naturally. What I CAN do, and I've just discovered this, is I can write to a MELODY. Recently, a composer asked me to listen to some of his music and see if anything occurred to me lyric-wise. Oh, boy, did it! I think I wrote the best lyrics I've ever written because they were inspired by the melodies. They go together with the music so well, they feel like they were born to be together. Yet, when I read them on the page, without music, they're "just fine." So, I think, for ME, writing to a melody is a real plus. When I write Lyrics-first, it usually takes me 10-15 versions to get something presentable. When I write to melodies, it takes 1-3 versions, and it's done. So it's faster, too! I think we came up with 5 songs in about 3 weeks, and we love them all. So that was an eye-opener. Interestingly, writing to a melody blurred all the lines for me between chorus, PC, verse, etc. I just wrote to what I heard, and the composer labeled everything for me after the fact. I would have never come up with that structure without the melody. So this is a revelation for me. I still can't help myself from writing lyrics on my own, and I am amazed when musicians can read them and come up with music that works. I love that. So many fascinating aspects to this endeavor, and so much more to learn!
  15. 3 points
    I had that book. Mostly I had songbooks. Terrible songbooks that were often written in the wrong key and even when they did get the chord name right they choose the wrong chord diagram. Nonetheless I did what every aspiring guitarist who couldn't afford a teacher would do. I'd fake my way through covers and got myself a spiral bound notebook. Jot down chord progressions without song titles and try out different rhythms and tempos. Then I'd try to write lyrics via stream of consciousness. Blah Blah Blah would become phrases. I usually did better when someone would hand me lyrics. Still they filled me with a lot of ideas but not the knowledge of terminology to express them properly. I had a few jazz guitar books as well. Mostly relegated to playing through common chord progressions. This was a great book for me..... https://books.google.com/books/about/Blues_Guitar_Inside_Out.html?id=hrIEAAAACAAJ&hl=en This was a book I would look at, wonder how and why. Tried to work through the examples and it would drive me crazy. My jazz guitar teacher was in love with it. I honestly thought the guy who wrote it couldn't play any of the stuff inside. It wasn't until youtube that I actually got a glimpse of Ted Greene's playing. This is how I really learned to sight read notation(not tab) on guitar. I picked up a very little book (pamphlet actually) learning the fundamentals and then try to apply what I learned using this book. http://berkleepress.com/guitar/melodic-rhythms-for-guitar/ I wouldn't be caught dead performing the songs written. This is an amazing book for learning arrangement. https://www.amazon.com/Arranging-Techniques-Synthesists-Eric-Turkel/dp/082561130X
  16. 2 points
    Hi guys, I just made this new video. It's a completely different style visually and musically to the last one - but still comedy. It was a lot of fun to make so I hope you like it!
  17. 2 points
    I'm not a lyricist, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night so I'll offer some thoughts on Peek's process. First, a confession: I'm a stubborn, opinionated prick. Veteran Musers have surely already come to that conclusion, the rest of you will in due time. I'm also the type of musician who seems inexorably drawn to writing pieces that require a lot of lyric reshuffling. In fairness, I take pains to ensure the integrity of the original is maintained, but this inability to use the words as is has ruffled a few feathers in the past. The early phase was ordinary enough, Patty sent me a few lyrics and I chose the one that appealed to me the most. Surprisingly, I didn't completely mangle her structure, though there were the requisite lines dropped and parts shifted from here to there. A quick demo to illustrate the musical concept later and Patty had already signed off on the idea and was working hard to fill in the cracks opened up by my amendments. I didn't know her heading into the project, but it was already clear that she was capable, prompt and genial. Any concerns I might have had about our partnership were vanishing in the rearview mirror. From there it was about as pleasant a working relationship as can be had. We respected each other's boundaries, but we weren't afraid to comment on the other responsibilities as well. I made a few lyric suggestions, none of which made the final but all of which led to Patty writing even better replacements. Once we came up with the final lyric, a 1+1 demo was recorded and Patty had some feedback that was very useful when recording the studio version. One particular teamwork moment stands out for me. Patty had decided that one of the lines needed something more and sent over a bunch of alternatives. I was of the mind that the line was fine and that the replacements, while perhaps "better" by general rule, added nothing to the song. She relented.... on the condition that the vocal delivery be changed to stress other words, which was a reasonable (and correct) compromise. We were each able to put our foot down about the other's responsibilities and never once did it feel encroaching or combative. Barely a week in, we were way ahead of the game, but the process ground to a halt when ideas for arranging the song became frustratingly elusive. This is a lyric blog, so I'll spare you the details. That said, I want to give Patty a tip of the cap for a couple suggestions. The original open was a dull percussive tapping on the guitar, it was her idea to go with the current spoken intro. The ending was also longer, with another full 30 second pass through the chord progression. I originally had other ideas for layering that ended up being dropped, and I was still "hearing" that when listening. It was her feedback that finally broke the spell and allowed me to acknowledge what was really there. Amusingly, I was thinking I'd have to completely redo the ending, but once I cut out the extraneous parts, what remained fit perfectly. Double win! All told, I would do this again in a heartbeat and I am hopeful that Patty and I will continue to work together on our own time. Much gratitude to her, Alistair for running the contest and everyone else for making it such an enriching experience.
  18. 2 points
    Thank you for sharing your experience, Doug. Interesting to learn how others proceeded. And I agree, this kind of collaboration is in general a lot more fulfilling than in the FAWM or the 50/90, where there's simply no time for any discussion about the song. The result is that what you see is what you get, and there's no sense of partnership (unless it's decided to re-visit the piece later). I'd also like to take part in another collaboration here. This was my first, although I'm an old-timer on the site. It's clear that email works well. So does the simple PM function, as I learned in my collaboration with Paul on 'Coyote'. At first I was doubtful (as I'm more used to co-writing via email and Skype), thinking it wouldn't be possible to share the various first-draft tracks, or thoughts about the piece as it progressed. But I was wrong. It worked just fine. We each gave feedback on the other's contribution: namely, Paul suggested a couple of adjustments to the lyric, which I realised made good sense (though I'd initially thought the lyric & format were 'written in stone'. ), and Paul implemented my suggestions on the music/instrumentation. The result - which I really like, and I hope Paul does as well - was truly a joint effort. (I should mention too that, as a lyricist (which Paul is as well), I very much appreciated that rather than making any lyrical adjustments himself (which some musicians do, and often get it badly wrong), Paul simply indicated to me where the structure along with a word or phrase might benefit by being changed in order to accommodate the music, and left it to me to make the change. That way, I could ensure that the integrity of the lyric's mood & message remained intact.)
  19. 2 points
    I recently discovered this technique (though I've only used a drastic mid range filter so far, I'll have to try it with some distortion) and it really works wonders. No problematic artifacts on good speakers and a nice, present track on lower quality speakers. It has definitely been put into my every-mix-tricks protocol.
  20. 2 points
    Not necessarily, it will add a bit of mid or high freq info, but because it's in sync with the bass / kick tracks, on speakers that have good bass response, the original tracks will be louder, just with a bit of added sparkle. The key here is to be subtle with the aux track level, it's usually a lot lower than the original track. Anyway, try it and see, it isn't always needed, but a good tool to have handy when you do.
  21. 2 points
    Peter is a lovely man, Doug. He likely never told you but he rarely collaborates any more (preferring to develop his own stuff). He agreed on condition he was paired with you - because he didn't want you to miss out and admired you for offering to step down. And I think you made a great pairing!
  22. 2 points
    Hi kuya I'm reading a limerick in the verses - careful there or it might get a comedic vibe For me the chorus needs work: Tell me to jump in the lake if you want to Paul
  23. 2 points
    Personal life experiences/stories are the best ones - good idea and start here Paul! If you could weave your son or grandson into the verse (and bridge) more then this would work a treat. For me the songs potential charm is in the very surprising adult viewpoint your son took when he couldn't hold himself back and said "Use your words, boy". I wanted more of that brought out in the story. Tough to do but potentially a killer song idea you have here. Good luck with it Paul Andy
  24. 2 points
    @PaulCanuck, Nice concept. I don't think it's too preachy. The words that are used in the first two lines of verse three are somewhat awkward. I can't think of anything different right now, but I think it's worth brainstorming something different that maintains the same message. I like the idea of the opening verse speaking to a child, but the example that is used is about babbling (I picture a baby in a high chair). In this case "use your words" seems to be about teaching a baby to speak. The song, however, is founded on the expression "use your words" which is to say that people should talk things through rather than harboring resentment or resorting to violence. Could the opening example be set about a parent or grandparent speaking to two siblings on the verge of fighting due to a misunderstanding or something like that?
  25. 2 points
    I think the topic of the song is a strong one, but I want to pull out a couple of your verses which i think just "sing" very well in my mind (and could be the seed of an entirely new song!) I'm drowning on dryland I'm stuck in the quicksand I'm caught in a whirlwind Swept up in a dustpan My heart is an eggshell Dropped down in a deep well The gravity's pulling Me downward to hell i think overall these sing no cleanly (with the exception of the last line with is a bit off) - but the first line is the killer, and its a concept you could carry to the other verses. Drowning on dryland? So brilliantly impossible. but then the other lines are actually possible, whereas they would be really exceptional if you kept the impossible thing going I'm drowning in dryland Sleeping in quicksand Inside the whirlwind Swept up in a dustpan