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  1. 6 points
    I think we can all agree that a song is meant to be a marriage between words and music. Some marriages work better than others for all kinds of reasons. There are emotional resonances between the music and the words, for example. Some songs are very strong in terms of the music and weaker lyrically and some work the other way round. I don’t plan on talking about every aspect of putting words to music (or music to words) in this post. I just want to talk about rhythm. Does meter matter? I say it does, but I want to try and say why – because I see lyricists often claim that the music can somehow cater for poor meter. I think it can sometimes appear that way if the lyricist doesn’t understand what is happening musically. This will probably be a long post and may sound over-analytical at times. However, many people do all of this intuitively. It only becomes necessary to go into this level of detail in order to explain it. However, if you don’t do it intuitively, it needs to be understood. This is especially important if you don’t write your own music (or if you have a problem writing lyrics for your music). Some of what I say may be controversial (but I hope not). Others may want to chip in and explain if I get things wrong, particularly on the music side. I wrote this fairly quickly this evening, so may need to edit it as time goes by. 1. Language has a natural rhythm When we speak, there is a natural rhythm in every sentence that comes out of our mouths. This comes about in two ways. The first is that we stress certain syllables in each word. Take the word “syllable”. We stress the “Syll”, so it becomes “SYLLable”. “There is a house in New Orleans” = “There IS a HOUSE in NEW OrLEANS”. Imagine clapping on each stressed syllable. You would have 4 hand-claps in that phrase and there would be a rhythm. The second way we provide rhythm is by varying the speed. We pause. We run words together. We draw out syllables. It’s kind of musical, isn’t it? Music has rhythm and pacing (via note lengths and pauses). 2. Songs are a form of communication and words should sound natural when sung I don’t think this is controversial. I don’t mean that every word has to be conversational (that’s a different argument). I simply mean that we shouldn’t be stressing syllables that shouldn’t be stressed - we want to pronounce words properly. Sometimes people don't do that in songs – and it normally sounds bad (and it happens because of bad meter). Let’s take “Yesterday” as an example of how to do it right - then screw it up! The second verse starts with: Suddenly, I ‘m not half the man I used to be Sing it – in your head. Now, using the same melody, sing this: Bill and me, Watched the movie Catastrophe Three Tricky, isn’t it? Without a lot of messing around, the word “catastrophe” sounds all wrong. We don’t want to put singers in that position … do we? 3. Music has a determined rhythm Any piece of music has a determined rhythm – it has a time signature. A piece of music in 4/4 (common time), for example, has 4 beats to a bar. However, these beats are not equal. The first beat is known as the down-beat and is the strongest. The third beat is not quite as strong, but is stronger than beats 2 and 4. BOM – bom – Da – bom A piece of music in 3/4 time (waltz time) will have 3 beats to a bar and will sound like “ONE two three, ONE two three” – with the heaviest beat on the “ONE”. 6/8 is like two 3/4 bars tied into one and will have the heaviest beats on the first and fourth beats. A song may contain multiple time signatures but, if they do, they change in a structured way that follows musical patterns. 4. The time signature lends itself to certain places for the stresses Think back to when we clapped hands to “There IS a HOUSE in NEW OrLEANS”. The ideal place to position our stresses is on the heaviest beats. That is what is done in the song. Here’s the sheet music: Notice where the stresses fall in relation to the bar. In this version, it is in 4/4. There are other versions of the song out there in 2/4, 3/4 and 6/8 but the same rule applies in each one. 5. A song is a series of patterns If just writing lyrics and one has no musical background, that can be hard to think about. The good news is that you probably don’t need to – as long as you maintain and replicate patterns properly. A song can be seen as a series of repeating patterns. The most obvious patterns are the patterns for a verse or a chorus. The chorus will be the same in both words and music (usually). So, the chorus should look after itself. Write it once and repeat it and the same music will work every time. The verses must also follow the same pattern as each other because they will be set to the same music as each other. When we write our first verse, we set a template for every other verse to follow. Let’s look at “Yesterday” again. V1. Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they're here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday. V2 Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be, There's a shadow hanging over me, Oh, yesterday came suddenly. Line 1 in each verse matches. Line 2 in each verse matches. Line 3 in each verse matches. How do they match? The stresses appear in the same place! That’s an important point. Counting syllables is useless. Count stresses. Yes, line 1 in each verse has 12 syllables, line 2 has 9 syllables in each verse and line 3 has 8 syllables in each verse. Often that will be the case. However … it is the stresses that matter and they need to match. 6. The stresses in a pattern must match whenever that pattern is repeated Remember the “catastrophe” version? “Bill and me watched the movie Catastrophe Three” also has 12 syllables – but it doesn’t work. The stresses have to match or the singer will have a problem. So, stress-matching is extremely helpful, musically – and can be a major problem if attention isn’t paid to it. It’s not just the verse, either. There can be patterns inside verses where rhythms are repeated and there can be pre-choruses and so on. The important thing is the matching of stresses when a pattern is repeated. This is so that the singer can sing the words as they should be pronounced naturally, without undue difficulty, every time the pattern is repeated. 7. Phrasing can alter things to a degree Ah, but what about phrasing? Throw in a pause here or there and things can be made to work, surely? Well, to a degree. For example, a lyrical line will often not be sung beginning on beat 1. If you look at the sheet music for The House of The Rising Sun, the line “There is a house in New Orleans” doesn’t start on the first beat. There is an unstressed syllable there before the first, stressed syllable (“IS”) – it’s called anacrusis and is sometimes used in poetry too. Sometimes, the first stressed syllable is sung just before the downbeat. In these cases, it usually starts in beat 4 and is a tied note leading into the next bar. It serves to emphasise that syllable even stronger. Equally, sometimes a line may start on the second (or even third) beat. That slight delay can introduce a degree of uncertainty to the delivery. Ideally, this will be deliberately designed by the lyricist because that uncertainty (or ennui or whatever) is desirable for prosody. It’s used in “Yesterday”, in fact. Note that stresses still fall in the "right" places. You could also shorten lines and let the music play without words. You’d normally do this for a specific effect, I would suggest. What you can’t do is squeeze in extra words (except for comic effect). Actually, this isn't an absolute truth, but care must be taken. In extremis, a singer may be able to introduce a slight pause, mid-line and get back on track. It’s not ideal unless, again, it is deliberate – because, for example, it follows the natural pace of what is being said (a natural hesitation). While I have focused on stresses, I did mention pacing in point 1 as well. It is also helpful to the singer to try and replicate pacing whenever patterns are repeated. 8. To summarise Meter matters! Replicating the patterns of stresses (and, to a lesser degree, pacing) is hugely helpful when putting music to words. Music is maths to a large degree and this discipline makes life much easier. I am of the opinion that it is the lyricist’s JOB to do that. The great thing is, if you don’t write music, your lyrics will contain a noticeable rhythm if you pay attention to this stuff. They will read musically and be more likely to attract collaborators, if that is what you want. Yes, some flexing is possible. However, it should only ever be deliberate and NOT because the lyricist wanted to get another word in or couldn’t think of a way around matching the pattern. It should be done knowing and designing the musical delivery and should not leave a problem to be solved during musical composition.
  2. 6 points
    Ignorance and Arrogance Ignorance and Arrogance went for a walk Both had a problem and wanted to talk Arrogance said "Here's the thing I don't get: People don't worship me like I expect" Ignorance muttered and stared at the ground "Everyone laughs like I'm some kind of clown" By the end of their stroll they had mutually agreed A partnership was the best way to proceed So they put out the word they were running for office And fired up the masses like striking up matches Arrogance proved he could sell any lie While Ignorance faithfully clung to his side And even some well-minded voters were fooled By the promise of greatness and valour and good So despite what the experts said never would happen Arrogance stood by the nuclear button Disguising the fact that he already knew He asked his dull partner "What's this thing do?" But Ignorance being not versed in such things Suggested that Arrogance press it and see... ...... .. and so the world came to a horrible end All that were living now all that were dead Humanity banished, as were Hope and Dreams And Love and Compassion: consumed in the flames The planet lay barren and blackened and soiled As clouds from the blast wrapped its surface like wool And Time patiently waited for our next attempt To crawl from the shallows and try once again.
  3. 5 points
    Author's note: Thanks to kuya, a talented writer on this forum for inspiring this piece - I hope you find it useful. So, your lyrics are almost completed. You can hear the music in your head. This song is going to be your best to date - you just know it! You need to hit the record button before your inspiration wanes. But... There is that one weak line in the verse. It ends with that word you found on Rhymezone. It rhymes nicely with its counterpart and it's a well-known word - so no issues there. It has perfect prosody, perfect assonance, nice meter. But it introduces an image or an inference that takes the listener out of the storyline, breaks the mood you've built up and just seems out of place. And you can't find another rhyming word that fits. You've tried to jam in something that doesn't rhyme, but that made the verse feel unstable, slipshod. This is now a show-stopper. All your efforts have been in vain. The English language has let you down again - crap! But wait - there is a solution. It's right in front of your eyes: Can't find a rhyme? - Repeat that line!! Think about it - we want our lyrics to be "conversational" and people often repeat lines when they are trying to make a point. ("Lock her up" sadly comes to mind). Humans like repetition - it doesn't require us to process new information - our minds can relax and bask in the familiar. It strengthens the impact of what has just been sung. Sometimes it even causes the listener to hear a different meaning in the line he/she hasn't thought of the first time around. Sure, we all know enough to repeat the hook usually in the chorus, but if you're like me, sometimes forget we can repeat a line in the verse or bridge. It's another arrow in your songwriter's quiver - don't forget to use it!
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  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. 4 points
    @Moso, I've just remembered the second 'ghosted' lyric I wrote: 'If I Never Find That Heaven'. And how on earth I forgot it temporarily is a mystery. Because it won the October 2017 lyric contest and placed second in lyric of the year 2017. It's not necessarily better than or even as good as the template. But 'ghosting' certainly helped me break through the writer's slump I was in, and freed me to express thoughts/feelings I'd wanted to put into words, but seemed unable to nail down just at that time. Apart from two verse lines & one chorus line that have the same metering as the source text, the lyric is entirely different: structure/format, length, content, rhyme scheme, genre, tempo, everything, including of course the melody I have for it.
  11. 4 points
    Unfortunately, it's easier for lyricists to get their hands on a backing track of Yesterday (and a wealth of other known originals) than it is a new and creative composition. If you know anyone who might have some lying around, please send them my way. To answer your question, of course lyricists interested in writing to music would prefer something original but those unicorns are few and far between. Most of my lyrics that eventually developed into songs, were not the result of me getting the opportunity to write them to someone else's backing track and melody. I could do more to seek them out I suppose, but I don't do what I do with the set idea of a lyric becoming a song because 1.) I simply enjoy the discipline it takes to write a good lyric and 2) I know how rarely that happens. Twenty five years into the hobby of lyric-writing (and hundreds of lyrics in various stages of completion) I have had only 30 some odd songs come out of it, none of which were a result of me shopping it around to anyone. To say I'm not motivated in that direction would be an understatement. Still, writing lyrics to backing tracks is challenging fun and I would like to do more of it, given it was dropped in my lap. If any beginning lyricist on this message board writes only in hopes of luring one of our fine musicians in, they are deluded. But, if they can learn all that can be gained by writing a lyric to existing music (original or not), they may improve, along with their chances of one day hearing one of their lyrics become a song. Not simply one forced into it through a collab contest but one that shines well enough to capture the attention of a musician. The better non-musician lyricist understands the mechanics of melody and musical composition along with the mechanics of structuring a lyric. I'm fortunate in that I can play a musical instrument (not expertly, but that's my own fault) and read music so I do understand those mechanics and can apply them. Lyricists without any musical background or ability to play an instrument will struggle unless they can find other ways of skinning that cat. Writing to familiar melodies (because they are so abundant) is one way. Going back to the suggestion for a challenge or contest where lyricists write new lyrics to a known original, then pass it on to a musician, I have to admit that the lyricist benefits most, if not entirely from this challenge. For the musician, it is just another lyric (good or bad) that isn't his/hers. That reason alone is adequate to justify a lack of interest on the musician's part, but to say the reason for not engaging lies in the fact that the lyric hasn't risen from the well of complete originality is to me, a bit odd, as there are original lyrics floating around this place continuously which attract no interest either. Maybe they suck or maybe we are members of a community that enjoys a wealth of songwriting talent from musicians who write their own great lyrics, such as yourself. Stand alone lyrics are not exactly a sought after commodity around here. Pure lyricists are the red-headed stepchildren here. Bringing them into the fold is generally a solicited venture, though we can see it sometimes works out well when we listen to the songs in the current collab contest. Would I like to see more unsolicited collabs here? Sure thing. As much as I would like to see more musicians lend some of their backing tracks and melodies to lyricists interested in writing lyrics to them. But we are all here for different reasons and cooperation for the benefit of another cannot and should not be forced. I guess what I'm saying is, whatever your reasons for feeling as you do, the feelings are your own and deserve to be respected, even if they are not entirely understood. I'm afraid I went well beyond the scope of answering your question, taking the selfish opportunity to vent a little. I hope I haven't offended.
  12. 4 points
    This is something I wrote a while ago and it appears elsewhere on the site (but it's pinned, which means it is invisible to the average human). If you are reading this I appreciate that you must be bored out of your skull and searching for something anything to fill the soulless void of your existence so I do hope that it at least entertains a little - or maybe acts as an emollient while you wait for your wife/husband to finish doing whatever the fuck they need to do when it's time to go out and do something a little more interesting than the mundane routine that we all fall into eventually... Here goes ... ... So, you’ve listened to songs for a long time now and you’ve decided to write lyrics of your own. It doesn’t look hard. Hell, it can’t be hard – just look at some of the stuff that gets recorded! What’s more, you are a damaged individual. It may be that you had a bad childhood, you were excluded at school, your marriage failed, you can’t get laid, you had problems with substance abuse, and any or all of myriad reasons that people decide to write songs - choosing that path from all the other masochistic pastimes they could choose. You see, what that dreadful former life made you was ... a keen observer. You are a walking empath. You can see the big picture and the tiny details of people’s lives. You don’t judge – oh, no! You bear witness to the fumbling, daily slapstick and you can relay truths about life and the pitiful vanities of our existence with good humour, wit and kindness, lending insight and wisdom that helps us to laugh at ourselves and love one another just a little more than we otherwise would. You are a latter-day saint and a poet and a warrior, all rolled into one (yes, women can be warriors too). But, more than that, it made you want them to understand you. Admire you. Whatever. They have to think you are pretty goddamn cool. That’s fo’ sho’. So you write. And you find that it’s not so easy to do all that. In fact, it’s hard to do all that - in 3 minutes, especially. And people aren’t quite as bowled over by your genius as you expected. And, because you are a damaged individual (hell, we all are), you don’t like that one ... little ... bit. Help is at hand. Here’s a handy list of the 10 things you do wrong when you write a lyric. I’m guilty of all of them (sometimes in the same lyric! I'm that talented). There are more, but 10 is a catchy number ! Which is why I wrote 11. I despise “catchy”. 1. You use the wrong pronoun You visualise who is talking to who in the song itself - and you also take into account the fact that, when the song is sung, there is a singer talking to an audience. Go, you! However, if you paid too much attention to the latter, you still got it wrong. “I said this and she said that” can sound like a whine or a rant (see point 7, below). It also doesn’t really help the audience to connect. If it was simply “you said that”, it would work so much better and be more immediate. Wait. You went for third person. Third person can work for stories (but the story HAS to be interesting,and yours wasn't - not really). In all other circumstances, you need a good reason to move away from 1st and/or second person. Mind you, 1st person can get you into trouble with point 7, too. But let’s talk about that later. The point is, you chose the wrong pronoun(s). 2. You use the wrong tense Past tense, in particular, is boring. Some parts of the song can be in the past tense but it needs to be made relevant to the present and, ideally, we would have a time progression that would lead at least to the present and, possibly, into the future. Stories can be past tense – but are they REALLY interesting? If not, don’t bother singing them to me. What if they were related to the present, at least in the bridge? It would be slightly less boring, at least. Or you could make the story funny. That works in whatever tense. 3. You lose rhythm by cramming words in If you don’t understand meter, maybe this thread will help (but read it later. I'm talking.). Even if you do understand it, aren’t there times when you try and cram in two syllables where only one fits? People will say it’s OK. Singers will even cram it in for you. Friends will say it sounds OK. Songwriters will say nothing, and simply be glad they weren’t that guy. Do you want to be that guy? 4. You don’t change rhythm between sections You have a great rhythm running through the song. Still running. Getting bored with it now. Where’s the chorus? Oh! We had it already and I didn't even notice! It had the same rhythm. Please give me a bridge. And change the damned rhythm! Words make rhythms. Words can force a change in rhythm. If the words don’t do it, the musician (maybe you) has to be much more innovative in changing rhythm and/or melody than he/she would otherwise need to be. Think of the musicians 5. You don’t grab attention early enough Your lyric has a killer line (or twist or idea or something). The trouble is that it’s in the third verse or the bridge. People won’t listen that long. It’s like a joke that needs over a minute to explain before it can be told. The listener turns off. You have maybe 30 seconds to grab some sort of attention – give a surprising line or an idea that draws attention. It needs to be in the first fifteen seconds of singing. You then have another short space of time before you need another – and it’s not long. 6. You forgot to write the first verse The listener doesn’t know who these people are. You do. So you wrote the meat of the song assuming they did too. You started with the second verse. We often write the second verse first. It needs a first verse to set up things and invite the listener in. It’s your introduction, if you like. And see point 5. 7. You are preaching (or venting or whining) - and you aren’t being funny about it I don’t want to be preached at, whined at, or vented at – unless you make me laugh. I bet you don't want that either, do you? No! So don’t write songs that whine, preach or vent. Simple. Unless they make us laugh. I mentioned something in the part about using the wrong pronoun about using 1st person. A lot of songs written in the first person can be whiny, venting or preachy if we aren’t careful. So are a lot of songs about “them”, “They did this, they did that ... they are bad”. It’s a delicate line to tread. A confessional song can work but it has to show the singer as insightful and sensitive – not as a bad person, or a whiner. A song has to make the singer look good. See point 11, below. So, be careful. 8. You included details – but you included the wrong details So, you know you need details (it said so in a book) and so you put them into your song. What colour is the sun? What about the grass? Let’s say “golden” and “emerald” because “yellow” and “green” sounds boring, right? Wrong. The colour is boring, period. It adds nothing to how I feel about what’s happening. In fact, adjectives should be used sparingly. Just find better words, damn you. English has so many of them - for a reason. Mind you, only use words when you know what they mean. Dictionaries help. Details are what bring a picture to life or, better still, an emotion to life. They aren’t what’s in the picture. They are the parts that show how we feel about the picture. They are metaphors for feelings – or they are nothing. They can be sounds, smells or objects or textures. Or they can be one of those that prompt others. “Car wheels on a gravel road”. I can hear them. Now, what do they make me feel? 9. You use too many words What it says above. Trim them. ‘Nuff said. 10. Your rhymes lack reason You paint yourself into a corner with a rhyme scheme and now you have to find a rhyme for “Drove me in his truck”. You don’t want to use the obvious rhyme so you decide to rhyme with “luck” instead. And you contort things a bit and get a line that kind of half-works and then you convince yourself that it’s fine. There is always that one line you aren’t satisfied with in a song, isn’t there? Maybe more than one? Why not just change the word "truck"? Or the whole verse? Or the whole song? You made the corner you are painted into. You can un-paint it. And never (never!) start turning sentences around into "yoda-speak" to get a rhyme. It's just crap. 11. You don’t write for women All songs are written for women. Even songs that are written for male singers are written for women. They are written so that the singer can look good to women. Don’t believe me? Fair enough. But don’t say I never told you. The only exception is that small demographic of teenagers (of all ages) who wear black T-shirts and listen to doom-laden heavy metal genres in their bedrooms at full volume. Guess what? You can’t write songs for them anyway. They are either writing their own or they can’t hear you over the screaming of Megablood Death Spasm (or whoever they are listening too). If they do show any interest it is only because they want you to give some attention to their own written-down angst stuff (i.e. lyrics, but not as we know them, Jim). So, leaving them aside (it’s for the best, trust me) – all songs are written for women. So write songs for women. If you don’t know how to do that, ask one (preferably not your mother). If you are one, ask yourself what you want to hear when you are stressed out. If you don't know any women, buy a black T-shirt. I hate rules. Are these rules? Not at all. Songs can work perfectly well without them – but they are less likely to do so outside of a particular setting. That setting might be a late evening after a few drinks. It might be in front of a group of friends or family. Whatever the setting, it will be in a situation where the song fits the environment or suits the mood the listener is in – but only at that moment, in that place. Only there. But ... but ... don’t the songs you love have the power to change the environment? Don’t they change your mood when you hear them? Yes, they do. But they don’t do that by accident, and most listeners aren’t too forgiving. Give them an excuse not to listen and they will take it. A flighty, fickle fiend is what an average listener is. Including us. This list could also be headed “10 excuses a listener can use to stop listening”. Except there are 11 of them! Sue me.
  13. 4 points
    I couldn't agree with this more... I've played guitar for a long time (25 years or so off & on). I knew some scales... but it wasn't until I started learning piano a couple years ago that I really started getting into music theory, chord composition & songwriting and transferring that back into guitar. Piano lets you get straight to the music with less of a technical hump as well.
  14. 4 points
    I have certainly received allot of help from some very skillful writers. I’m more than a little thankful, and have incorporated your ideas. I hope we're getting closer. Now a few additional tweaks to consider please scroll down for last version Montana Love Story ...... .....or Hold On Honey??? Copyright 2018 ~ J.W. McMichael On a night when the stars hung in their Heaven A restless wind rustling thru the pines He closed his eyes and heard hear the river beckon Felt the glowing embers in the fire PC1 With a full moon rising from the canyon Lonesome cry of a coyote in the night He caressed the soft skin of his companion Saw the firelight flicker in her eyes Ch1 She said hold on Honey, let’s take our time tonight Nowhere to be, the moment’s right Hold me tight and move real slow, tenderly and don't let go.......thanks Donna! We'll be soaring where the Eagles fly V2 When the crocuses carpeted the tundra... ...alpine tundra is anything above tree line (in Montana, above 8,000 ft.). Chiming Bells and lupine lined the hills They camped where the waterfall thundered And rode their appaloosas down the trail Bridge The years passed and Spring turned into Winter The icy paths grew steep and hard to climb In their cabin while the snows blew through December She grew ill and died there in his arms PC2 He saw the full moon sink into the canyon Heard the cry of a coyote in the vast...... ...... From dictionary.com: "noun. 3. (mainly poetic) the vast, immense or boundless space." Kissed the silent lips of his companion And whispered, Girl I'll meet you in the pass Ch2 He said hold on Honey, it's gonna be alright I'll lie beside you here tonight The one I can't live without, so I'll just let the fire burn out And we'll be on that final pony ride Tag Today as the sun rose in its Heaven A restless wind rustling thru the pines He closed his eyes, could hear the angels beckon Two souls met in the blue Montana sky ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Previous version: V1 On a night when the stars hung in their Heaven A restless wind rustling thru the pines He closed his eyes and could hear the river beckon Feel the warm embers glowing in the fire PC1 With a full moon rising from the canyon Lonesome cry of a coyote in the night He caressed the soft skin of his companion Saw the firelight flicker in her eyes Ch1 She said hold on Honey, let’s take our time tonight Nowhere to be, the moment’s right Spoon me close and move real slow, tenderly and don't let go There's no rush up here where the Eagles fly V2 When the crocuses carpeted the tundra Columbine and lupine lined the hills They camped where the waterfall thundered And rode their appaloosas down the trail Bridge The years passed and Spring turned into Winter The icy paths grew steep and hard to climb In their cabin while the snows blew through December She grew ill and died there in his arms PC2 He saw the full moon settle in the canyon Heard the cry of a coyote in the vast His lips pressed to the lips of his companion He whispered, Girl I'll meet you in the pass Ch2 He said hold on Honey, it's gonna be alright I'll lay beside you here tonight I know it’s cold but please be strong, Doctor said it won’t be long Until I take that final pony ride Tag Today as the sun rose in its Heaven A restless wind rustling thru the pines When folks say all his sins will be forgiven Two souls met in the azure Winter sky
  15. 4 points
    Just a bit of fun. Not too serious. My car might not start. V I can’t come out to your house ‘cos my car might not start I took it to a guy and he ordered a part He'll send me a text on the Tuesday after next But I cant come out to your house as my car may not start V I’d love to have a picnic but I’m busy that week My workload is a monster and my boss is a freak I’m up against a cutoff And I’ll have to turn my phone off A picnic sounds intriguing but I’m busy that week C I’m sure you’re nice and a wonderful person I hope your life is as good as can be I hope you find just the perfect companion But I’m pretty sure it’s not me. V I can’t go to the movies ‘cos my Doctor said so It’s a serious condition that I’m sure you don’t know I’m screaming like an air horn When I get close to popcorn A movie wouldn’t work because my Doctor said so. V I’m sure I can’t go dancing with my knee as it is There are bubbles in my tendons and they all tend to fizz It puts me in such pain I might never walk again So there will be no dancing with my knee like it is C I’m sure you’re nice and a wonderful person I hope your life is as nice as can be I hope you find just the perfect companion But I’m pretty sure it’s not me. I’m pretty sure it’s not me
  16. 4 points
    Hello everybody and happy New Year. I have not been here in quite a while. Changed out computers and actually forgot about this place, passwords, etc. Until I got some notices on my email about discussions going on. So glad to see all of you. My name is MARC-ALAN BARNETTE and I teach the craft of songwriting and performance, networking and the business of music based in Nashville, Tn. This is one of those questions that come up a lot in songwriting discussions and a lot of things have to be looked at. First of all, sharing songwriting credit is a pretty standard thing in our world and the "real world" of commercial songwriting. If you look at most charting songs, you will find three, four or five names on them. Look in rock and pop, you will find up to thirteen or fourteen names. The reason is that now, everyone involved along the way seem to want credit, because in many cases, they are all responsible in a little way for a song's pathway. You find people now that write "beats", so they are included. Production people that just add sounds, they are included. Managers. attorney's, etc. are all included, and of course, the artists themselves. And often, not many of those actually participated in them. The irony, of course, is that there is NOT more money involved. The cold hard reality is that in STREAMING and other avenues of music, songs with HUNDREDS Of MILLIONS of streams are making in the thousands of dollars, not they hundreds of thousands. But people are being involved in an artist's "branding", so that is becoming part of a team. Just like you see those endless movie credits that go on at the end of a movie that last almost as long as the movie itself, there are a LOT of people involved in everything, and less overall money involved. It comes down to more "street cred" than anything. Your reputation on a major product, might lead to other products, padding a resume, and further jobs down the road. And in a converse, sort of strange way, now you WANT someone to be involved in a song because that could add to the ability of the song to make it's way up the ladder. Having an artist make a simple suggestion on the song's direction, contribute a word or a line, might increase that artist's desire to be involved and record the song. And you can understand this if you look at it logically. All artists are now writers. And some are pretty good writers. When you look at Taylor Swift, Kacee Musgraves, Christ Stapelton, all top earners in the country field, they all had cuts and success as writers BEFORE they were signed as artists. And looking for ARTIST/WRITERS, as opposed to WRITER/ARTISTS, has been the norm for about 20 years now. So having an artist be actively INVOLVED in the writing process or the life of the song is actually the incentive you use to get and keep their interest. It used to be PUBLISHING that would be shared. That is until PUBLISHING no longer meant much. Getting half of a song earning almost nothing due to being downloaded or streamed out of existence, is not really a whole lot of incentive. So like everything in the music business, that has shifted. Now in the subject of getting a critique, or someone making a suggestion and being added as a co-writer, that is going to be a case by case situation and would be talked out among participants long before anything happened on a song. Again, you have to remember the "time frame" from where a song is begun, developed, recorded, produced, advertised, released, etc. can be months or sometimes years. The music industry is like a big, lumbering battleship and nothing happens in any quick manner. So that would be discussed long before. From the point of view of someone who does critiques as part of his living, it would be VERY seldom that they would ask for any credit. In 25 years of doing this, I don't think I've ever heard ONE song I would want to be involved with. Not that they were bad songs (although most are simply mediocre), but that is not the reason for doing critiques. It is simply a different process, more of one of a mentor or teacher. Most songs from the outside world are very very average. They are very very similar to other songs. Writers write what is around them, so they come up with the same subject matter, done the same way, same rhymes, titles, chord structures, etc. Or they just don't really do much to motivate any. The reason is that people who don't do this all the time, or are not in a music center, simply don't hear enough music to realize how average most ideas and songs are. Just not enough input. This is one of the interesting aspects of coming to a town like Nashville with thousands upon thousands of writers and hundreds of thousands or millions of songs. Or going to YOU TUBE or FACEBOOK and seeing the thousands of camera phone videos uploaded a day, of new writers, artists, kids,older people, that are trying to show off their latest creations. When people come here and they hear those songs that they thought they had written and NEVER PLAYED for anyone suddenly being done by ten, fifteen or twenty people in the course of a night, it is quite the eye opener. hearing the same lines, the same attitude and perspective, is a pretty amazing thing. Gives a reality check very quickly. Anyone can write a song. Writing a song that has commercial value, says the ":same thing, yet in a different way" finding the different angle on it, is very different. And as anyone who has listened to the radio lately knows, MOST ALL OF IT SOUNDS THE SAME. So if you are a newbie, trying to get yourself out there, you better be BETTER than what is already out there. Harder to do than most people realize. Usually, as a critiquer, if you find that SPECIAL person, you are going to contact them, ask to hear other songs, get to know them. And this is the key. This is a PEOPLE business, and songs are a by product of that. Like dating and marraige, you are not going to just jump into business with anyone. Dealing with egos, out of control bad habits, complete idiots, or just plain difficult to get along with people, is something nobody has time for. So there is going to be an involved process of getting to know someone before you start getting involved with their music. The co-writing credit issue is something that should be discussed with the participants. Most credible people in the industry will not ask for anything they didn't earn. If they are, then they generally are not credible, or they might think it is so important they want to be involved in it. And having a well known entity put their "stamp of approval" on something might make the difference in a song rising through the pile of contenders to the top of the heap. Not always, but sometimes. Again, has to be taken on a case by case basis. And of course, their are sharks out there, but most of those really just want to get the most money for the least effort. So actually being involved with something to them, might be a liability. Being a part owner of a really mediocre song does no one any good. I hope this helps shine some light on the situation. Good luck to all of you and I'm around if you need. MAB
  17. 4 points
    Hello again Mike, Although I believe this piece is totally unrealistic I like the sentiment. Not too long ago we were inching toward hell at 3 mph, but in the past 20 years we have been siding down an icy mountain at 100 mph. Who's going to hit the brakes? The corporations which own this country would never allow a revolution. Besides, we have been intentionally divided into small groups so that the proletariat can argue and fight amongst themselves as a diversion tactic by the assholes that own this country. Even when we vote, we are only exchanging one crook for another. I don't mean to rain on your parade as I do enjoy your writing. I'm sure that you will find many people out there who belive that it is still possible to salvage what is left of our once great country, so it will appeal to them. I suppose it doesn't hurt to be optimistic. A few suggestions. Please feel free to use or discard any or all of them. Cheers, jim Passengers (version 2.1) V1 Every day another revolution - Everyday we threaten revolution Men in charge not seeking solutions - Men in charge have their own solution Only thinking of themselves Meanwhile the common man sweats Doing his best, no chance to rest Completely overwhelmed Ch Are we passengers - Watching the world go by Only passengers Until the day we die V2 Greedy men driven by ambition - Wicked men driven by greed No concern for the human condition - With no concern for human need It’s not what they care about We must awaken before the fall Listen to the warnings, heed the call Remove every doubt Chorus Br Let’s make a resolution Start a cultural resolution - Start a cultural revolution Correct the past errors - Make them pay for the past - It is impossible to correct the sins of the past. "errors" is far too weak of a word to use here. Make this world better - Maybe then the world can last V3 This world’s gone absurd - Everything has turned absurd - absurd doesn't work in this context. Perhaps, berserk. But we still need to be heard Can’t be afraid Don’t just go along for the ride Have to give it a try Before it’s too late Chorus
  18. 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
  19. 3 points
    Some songwriters advise us to give a song room to breathe, give it space, and make it less busy. While I agree this good advice, I also like to think - give things a chance to "sink in". Often listening to lyrics is like drinking from a fire hose. You can't do it, so plenty of water doesn't make it down your throat To avoid this, we need to meter out the lyric so it gets absorbed by the listener's brain, not discarded because the listener isn't ready for more information. A repeating chorus, a musical interlude or even a stop or breakdown in the song can give the listener a break. Is there a poignant line in the lyric of your song? Is there a climax in the storyline? Is new information flowing too fast for a typical listener to keep up? If so, add some room to allow things to sink in. You'll make a better connection to your listeners if you do
  20. 3 points
    Many thanks for the help on this one folks - now recorded so I'm locking the thread Here's the link if you're interested in hearing how it turned out: https://soundcloud.com/paulcanuck/the-trouble-is The Trouble Is.. Copyright 2018 Tennyson Road Music Alzheimer's is a coward and a thief He runs off with the ones you love, steals their memory When I visit Dad, I see his distant eyes And I know I'm just another face he doesn't recognize He talks to Mom as though she's still around But it's almost 20 years now since we laid her in the ground He wouldn't be as safe, if he were living on his own But the trouble is.. he thinks he'll soon be home ch And he talks of how she's waiting for him there With her Mona Lisa smile, And her Judy Garland hair Says she's busy in the kitchen, makin' supper on the stove And the trouble is: he thinks he'll soon be home I'll spare you all the grief of when he died Suffice to say I kissed his cheek goodbye, then I cried I knew that soon I'd lose him, but if the truth were known The trouble is.. The trouble is.. I lost him years ago Though it goes against what common sense says happens to our souls The trouble is.. I know he made it home And he held her in his arms when he got there Kissed her Mona Lisa smile, Touched her Judy Garland hair They had supper in the kitchen, got caught up around the stove Oh, it goes against my common sense, I know The trouble is.. The trouble is.. The trouble is.. I know he made it home.
  21. 3 points
    One of the posts that started this discussion included a music video that was banned by Youtube for pornographic content. I closed that thread and I would do it again with no hesitation. I'm not against pornography, I just don't think it has a place here.
  22. 3 points
    The style of this screams punk to me, not rap. For rap, you'd need more sophisticated rhyme scheme unless you're trying for old school. Punk is also more amenable to the heavy handedness (or directness, if you prefer) of the lyrics. As far as the message... though of the liberal persuasion personally, I too think the accusation of racism is often tossed out too casually. Problem is, it's also dismissed just as casually... if not moreso. This reticence of self reflection demarcates what could be a bit of a Rosetta Stone to bridge the seemingly binary ideological standoff from merely the same tired knee-jerk reactionary straw man arguments the p.o.v. wants to bury his head in. Eg. That "so you think that all lives should matter" is so obtuse to the actual argument, and this fact pointed out so many times it can only be reasonably interpreted that those who share this talking point are willfully trying to obscure or deny the message of the mantra from which it derives. Point being, it's easy pointing out the other's hypocrisies (especially when you straw man their positions) but much more difficult (and yet fruitful) to find your own. This song will work fine, in a generic way, for rallying those who agree with you and for annoying those that don't - but if you want to achieve art, dig deeper.
  23. 3 points
    A little dark humour to lift your festive spirits.. Christmas Will Be the Death of Us Copyright © 2017 Tennyson Road Music Racing through malls buying presents and stuff Breaking the bank for the ones that we love We'll never repay all the debt we ring up Christmas will be the death of us Turkey, potatoes and gravy and booze Gain all this weight we're expected to lose I'm not complaining, just singing the truth: Christmas will be the death of us [ch] Christmas will be the death of us It's bound to take down the best of us But not before making a mess of us Christmas will be.. The death of us! Drag the tree in, needles pepper the floor Can't find the trimmings, quick - back to the store! We might not be ready, but one thing's for sure: Christmas will be the death of us Christmas will be the death of us It's bound to take down the best of us But not before making a mess of us Christmas will be.. The death of us! bridge There's only one way to prevent our demise If we could just re-invent it, perhaps we'll survive 'Cause Christmas was meant to bring LOVE to our lives So this craziness better let up, Otherwise... Christmas will be the death of us It's bound to take down the best of us And it's certain to be curtains for the rest of us Christmas will be.. Just you wait and see.. Christmas will be.. "So long" you and me Christmas will be.. And Rudolf makes three Yes, Christmas will mean our exodus And Christmas will be.. The death of us!!
  24. 3 points
    Revised based on comments. John: I took your point about the Dream Him Home line and made it part of the Chorus. Spanishbuddha and Kuya: I appreciate all the thought you put into the discussion about Pretend, but I've decided she's just not a pretender. She's a striver, and I'm hoping this comes off stronger. JWallace: Continent is GONE. I think the revision is better. Thank you. In the Bridge, she's reconciled to the fact that he's always going to be a soldier, so she has to man up herself. In the out chorus, he's still gone--because that's what the song is about--and she reinforces her need to have him home. Original post below: My American Hero Patty Lakamp © Copyright 2017 V1 My love’s an American hero He’s trained to be the best He knows how to handle trouble He’s never quite at rest V2 Sometimes he’s home for a weekend From Ron99: He might be home for a weekend And then he’s away for months And then be gone for months. He can’t say where he’s going Or the danger he confronts Chorus: I love my American hero I cheer for the red, white and blue I try to be brave for our family He needs me to soldier through Yes, I stand with my American hero But our battles we fight alone His job’s to serve the USA And mine’s to dream him home V3 I wish I could be a hero But he leaves and the nightmares start My private battle rages My head’s at war with my heart Chorus: I love my American hero I cheer for the red, white and blue I try to be brave for our family He needs me to soldier through Yes, I stand with my American hero But our battles we fight alone His job’s to serve the USA And mine’s to dream him home Bridge We both know what we signed up for Aware of the dangers ahead I have to let go of this daydream Where he works at home instead Chorus: I love my American hero I cheer for the red, white and blue I try to be brave for our family He needs me to soldier through Yes, I stand with my American hero But our battles we fight alone His job’s to serve the USA And mine’s to dream him home Out: Yeah, the truth is I’m no hero I can’t really breathe when he’s gone I need to hold my American hero And know he’s safely home I need to hold my American hero And know he’s safely home Original post: My American Hero Patty Lakamp © Copyright 2017 V1 My love’s an American hero He fights for us overseas He’s trained to be the very best He’s never quite at ease V2 Sometimes he’s home for a weekend And then he’s away for months He only tells me the continent Not the danger he confronts Chorus: I love my American hero I’m all for the red, white and blue I pretend to be brave for our family I think I prefer: I try to be brave for our family (in all choruses) I try to soldier through But truth is, I’m (just) no hero He leaves and the nightmares start My private battle rages My head at war with my heart V3 We both have to be superhuman In struggles we fight alone His job’s to serve the USA And mine’s to dream him home Chorus: I love my American hero I’m all for the red, white and blue I pretend to be brave for our family I try to soldier through But truth is, I’m (just) no hero He leaves and the nightmares start My private battle rages My head at war with my heart Bridge We both volunteered for this duty Aware of the dangers ahead But I can’t let go of this daydream Where he works at home instead Chorus: I love my American hero I’m all for the red, white and blue I pretend to be brave for our family I try to soldier through But truth is, I’m (just) no hero He leaves and the nightmares start My private battle rages My head at war with my heart Out: Yeah, truth is I’m (just) no hero I can’t really breathe when he’s gone I need to hold him in my arms And know he’s safely home I need to hold him in my arms And know he's safely home
  25. 3 points
    Don't cave to the patriarchy. I don't see every straight male here footnoting their gender perspective.
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