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tunesmithth last won the day on March 25

tunesmithth had the most liked content!

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About tunesmithth

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    Active Muse

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    St. Louis, MO

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  • Lyricist, Composer or Both?
  • Musical Influences?
    Goo Goo Dolls, Bonnie Raitt, Clapton, Allman Brothers, Doors, Springsteen & many, many more

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  1. Either flat or sharp of the intended pitch, but not dead-on. For the sake of full disclosure, I've never heard the Prince version of this, so my comments were strictly based on what I heard in your version. Unfortunately, the system I'm on right now won't allow access to the link you included, so I'll have to check it out later. Tom
  2. Where Were You?

    OK, 1 more... Where Were You? - "Texas" (Chris Rea) Tom
  3. Just to be clear, when I referred to minor timing discrepancies in my earlier comment, I was talking about points at which instrument timing sounded less-than-perfect. They were not big issues, but my brain picks up those types of things, so I figured I'd mention 'em. Tom
  4. V e r y cool ! Were it not for Alistair's earlier comments I wouldn't have brought this up, but I can't help wondering how it might sound with... a slightly shorter decay rate on the snare...I'm wondering if that same wide decay is creating minor timing discrepancies in a few spots. the addition of a subtle, off-time high-hat on the "&" counts (8th note counts), 4-per-measure...really quiet, almost to the post of ghosting Other than those insignificant curiousities, The entry line of vocal sounded a tad bit pitchy When the additional instrumentation enters at the 1:45 mark, your vocals lost their dominant position in the mix. At least it sounded that way on my monitors ...perhaps other will chime & add their perspectives. Overall, really nice job ! Enjoyed it very much! Tom
  5. Where Were You?

    As you can tell, I'm a sucker for games like this 3 more that share a common theme... "Brooklyn" (Steely Dan) "Woodstock" (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) "New York, New York"
  6. Where Were You?

    2 more quick ones with a shared theme - "Hot 'Lanta" (Allman Brothers) "Doraville" (Atlanta Rhythm Section) Tom
  7. Where Were You?

    This one even contains the name of the contest - "Where Were You When I Needed You" (The Grass Roots) Tom
  8. The original version of “Middle Class Blues” was written / copyrighted back in 1998. (*Song title is a SoundCloud mp3 link. You're welcome to open it in a 2nd browser window & listen as you read.) As is sometimes the case, I liked the song, but not the arrangement. In 2001 I remedied that situation with a partial rewrite. The revised version incorporated several new elements: a 40 second introduction a 2nd guitar part (rhythm) This new arrangement was re-recorded & that’s the version you’re hearing now. The Idea The song evolved from a guitar progression, set in minor pentatonic block form. I stumbled upon the pattern while practicing scales Built a song & melody around it Chose a topic that worked well with the music Created a lyric Subject Matter In a nutshell, it’s about the plight of middle-class America. As you might expect, it’s written from my perspective & based primarily on personal observations & experiences. Completely appropriate since songwriting is a means of creative self-expression. Lyric Got those middle class blues Well when I look at my economic state With what I make I ought to be livin’ great You gotta know my heart gets to feelin’ down When tax time comes around I pay for schools that I don’t even use I fund a war on drugs that we’re bound to lose You got know that I keep-a-waitin’ for Some way to even the score Got those middle class blues! Well now I know that I need to pay my share But while suppliers get rich from Medicare I’ve got to ask myself what it’s all about I just can’t figure it out ! The wealthy don’t pay much, cause they know the game The underprivileged can’t, the end result’s the same That leaves the middle class to pay & pay Hope we get our someday! Got the middle class blues! Copyright 1998 – Tom Hoffman Over the years, the timeless nature of this lyric has been mentioned more than once. Sadly enough, it’s as relevant now as it was in 98. Purchasing power of the middle class hasn’t improved. Middle class tax burden hasn’t decreased. I still pay into a tax base for schools that I’ve never used. NO, I’m not advocating a school voucher alternative! I simply have no children. No children = no use of schools. Our “war on drugs” has been an utter failure, yet we continue funding it with tax dollars year after year. Pharmaceutical profits continue to grow, since our government is no longer allowed to negotiate the cost of Medicare drugs. Thank you G.B.! More tax loopholes exist for the wealthy today. The poor are no more able to contribute to our tax base than they were in 98. Leaving the middle class to shoulder the lions’ share of the tax burden. The end result being – “We’ve got the Middle-Class Blues!” None of those areas has shown improvement in the past 20 years. I’m sure there are conclusions to be drawn from that, but I leave those to you. I am but a humble songwriter stating the obvious. Song Structure Introduction / Verse – Verse - Refrain / Guitar Based Verse-Refrain Section / Verse – Verse - Refrain / Ends on Repeat of Musical Refrain Musical Fundamentals “Middle Class Blues” is a guitar-based arrangement…key of A# minor. If I do say so myself, some of my more creative guitar work. When I made the decision to add that 40 second musical introduction, I doomed the song to commercial failure. If you weren’t aware, long introductions are frowned upon in the world of commercial songwriting. Since the average listener tends to focus on vocal, delaying its’ entry is tempting fate. Attention spans being what they are, your listener may go elsewhere. BUT…since I’m not a professional songwriter, my focus was on creating a well written song, not a commercially viable one! When you make your living elsewhere, you can afford to base decisions on personal preference, rather than industry norms. That being said, I did build in a little something to help with damage control...“Got those Middle Class Blues”! That single line of vocal at the beginning of the song: 1. Tells the listener that there WILL BE vocals in the song. Why does that matter? Because some people, including my wife, won't listen to instrumentals. If she thinks it’s an instrumental, she will simply turn it off. 2. Re-enforces the lyrical hook…that catchy phrase you want to stick in your listeners’ head after the song has ended. BTW in this song, it’s also the last line heard. Final Production Notes This was one of the first songs I recorded after upgrading to the digital realm. My Tascam PortaStudio 788 had a total of 8 recordable tracks…6 mono & one stereo pair (tracks 7 & 8). 4 tracks were used for guitar, all done with my SG 1 track for bass guitar 1 for vocal Drums were recorded in stereo (7/8) Performance Credits Guitars, Bass, Drums & Vocal – Tom Hoffman Tom Hoffman "About Me" Muse Member pg. Tune-Smith.com Tom Hoffman YouTube
  9. Writing Lyrics: Formula or Freefall?

    I'll hazard a guess that story rings true for a number of musician/songwriters, myself included.
  10. Writing Lyrics: Formula or Freefall?

    Interesting! I guess there are any number of approaches you could take to something like this. Many of my completed lyrics were written from makeshift guide sheets. Once I had a central theme, a line or two of lyric & tentative melody, I'd create a guide-sheet based around intended song structure & syllable count. I'd fill in the lines I already had & the rest would look something like this.... Verse #1 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Verse #2...etc., with each line representing an single syllable. It would simple to create a blank guide based on the actual lyric I used for song. The task could be to create lyrical content within the given guidelines that's an appropriate fit for the musical backdrop. Anyway...just spitballin' ideas here. You folks have a much better idea of what might work than I do. Onward !
  11. Writing Lyrics: Formula or Freefall?

    Years ago, when my 8 channel deck was on it's last legs, I was concerned about retaining viable backups of material. As an extra precaution, I saved additional master-mixes of the drum track & instrumental mix...without vocal or lyric. A couple months ago, I was diggin' through my archives downstairs & came across those old premixes. The drum-only track I used as an attachment for a blog article, but the instrument-only mix is just sitting there collecting dust. God only knows if I'll ever use it for anything, but if it would serve for a project like this, you're welcome to use it. It's a finished arrangement without lyric or melody...drivin' garage-rock kind of track. I certainly won't take offense if you don't use it, but I figured I'd offer. Tom
  12. Writing Lyrics: Formula or Freefall?

    As is the case with all public blogs Mike, there are simple things individuals can do to assist those traffic numbers. When I set mine up, I added 3 external links to various pages of my tune-smith site, 1 in the form of a post on my personal Facebook profile + 6 additional placements on my YouTube channels (2-per channel). That's 10 external links right there. I'm not generating any huge numbers yet, but sometimes those things will surprise you. I never even considered a personal blog till someone suggested it me a few years back. Once I tried a few articles, I took a liking to it & continued on. Much to my amazement, some of those old articles ended up drawing 5 - 10 thousand views each. Go figure! Not exactly viral numbers, but I was surprised. Sometimes you don't know till ya' give it a shot. Tom
  13. Books?

    I've had a few over the years, dealing with a variety of subjects. Books on the business of music, basics of composition, songwriting, piano, theory & guitar. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be "The Guitar Handbook" by Ralph Denyer. Covers a lot of ground & makes a great ongoing reference! Bought my first copy as a guitar student 25 years ago & still find it useful. Tom
  14. "When Is A Song Finished?"

    Nope...no checklist for me Mike. Over the years, I've learned to trust my ears. My process of evaluation is more subconscious these days. The specific questions were intended as a learning tool...for those unfamiliar with the process. ...appreciate the comment & additional information! Tom
  15. March 2018 Song Contest

    Many seem to be making their top scores public, so I figured I'd chime in with my top 3... 9 / You Lift Me Up - Jason Kalman 8 / Your Life - Oswlek 7.5 / I Got The Satellite - ScenesFromPalacio My scores ranged from a high of 9 to a low of 3.5...many tough choices, lots of good entries. My compliments to all the contestants! Tom