Music has been a part of the Earth / 3D experience for a VERY long time. It could be said that "Nature" itself was the first "Orchestra"… the first playing of "sounds", which, in turn, activated various Moods, Memories and Actions within the various Beings scattered around this amazing blue ball. Water droplets creating multi-textured Rhythms… The sonic variety of the Wind moving through the Leaves, Caves and other timbre-inspiring objects… all contribute to the character we've all come to know as Nature's songs.
When "Humans" began creating Music, they mostly picked-up "Acoustic" or "Synthetic" instruments. Think about it… A non-electric guitar is an "Acoustic" instrument. An electronic Synthesizer is a "Synthetic" instrument. Wind moving through the Leaves of a Tree and Water bubbling in a Brook are "Organic" instruments.
As Music evolved, Humans continued to experiment with various Styles of Music and, for "me", these boil-down to the following groupings (generally speaking):
As music-gear-technology evolved, Human Society has been gifted with some very powerful, very flexible Music-creation tools. These days, the simple Piano, Flute, Xylophone, Tuba, etc. can produce any type of sound. In fact, electronic Synthesizers can be Patched (setup) so they not only create "Music" without any Human interaction but that "Music" can also evolve (change) over Time AND it can have all the subtleties as though a "Human" were really "playing" it. However, this "ease of Music-creation at our fingertips", means ANYONE can create interesting Music. Today, even the family dog can create a musical masterpiece.
…and this is where our world is today… over-saturated with "Music". Some "good". Some "not so good". Some of it is "bad", but it makes it to the popular Listening Posts (radio, social media, etc.) Some of it is "absolutely great" but no one ever hears it.
In the "old days", there were "Talent Scouts" — people who would travel the country looking for talented people — Singers, Actors, Musicians, etc. If someone was exceptional, that company would bring them in for an Audition. If they "had what it takes", they were "usually" Signed to a Movie or Record company. If they "mostly" had what it takes, they may still be Signed but would be given some additional training, where they were lacking.
Today, however, the Music Industry is being crushed by the shear number of "new Songs" they receive every day. According to the information at the link at the bottom of this article, Music-site "Spotify" adds over 20,000 Songs to its Site each day!!! Not "20". Not" 200"… but TWENTY THOUSAND Songs!!! For a Musician or Song-Writer, this is very depressing. As you can see, even the major Record Producers have a difficult time getting their Artist's Songs heard by the masses.
So how does the "little guy" compete? How does ANYONE get their Music into the right places, so it will be "heard" and then, maybe, "purchased"? Although I don't have an answer for this, it's always a good idea to "follow your Heart" because, if you're in the Music business for the "money", you may want to find another career. As you can see, even if you're the next "Elvis" or "Adele", today's society is currently overwhelmed with Music.
FIND YOUR OWN VOICE
Being a Drummer and Synthesist, I do my best to look into new Music-Gear announcements, instrument techniques, etc. I've seen a lot of articles and videos on "how to create "that sound" in your favorite Song" or "how to play like your favorite Artist", etc. At the same time, society tells us that the Musicians and Songs, which "get noticed" or even "go viral" are the ones that "find their own style". So which is it?… Are we expected to sound like everyone else who came before us or are we supposed to follow our own Path?
When I was growing up, hearing those (now) old Rock Classics, I never thought:
No. Instead, I thought:
…but I never imagined that "copying" another Musician or their Songs would be my "goal"… my "pinnacle". I always wanted to create my owns Songs… to tell the world "my" message. To make a statement.
MAKE YOUR POINT AND MOVE ON
So, if you ever get the opportunity of creating a piece of Music, please GIVE IT A VOICE… make it say something. Time and again, when Sylvia and I are in Public Areas we hear Music which is "sonically" (melodically and harmonically) un-interesting AND the Lyrics will usually repeat… for EVER. In our opinion, if your Guitar Lick or Piano improvisation repeats more than 4 times, you're not being creative and you've lost the very short attention span of your Listeners… AND if your Lyrics repeat more then 4 times in a row, then you've lost your message — if your Song ever had one.
So, repeating an element of a Song is similar. Yes, you're trying to make a point with your Lyrics or Performance but you don't have to beat your Listeners over the head with an idea.
There's a Saying:
However, this isn't telling you to use fewer words that are "different" from each other. It means select each word carefully and allow each to contribute to the overall listening experience — your message. Think of the Notes you select for your Composition and the Words you choose for your Lyrics as the ingredients of a very tasteful meal… too few "interesting Notes" and your Words won't be supported by the Music. Too many repeated Words will sour the taste of that great Guitar or Piano solo we just heard.
LET THE MUSIC GUIDE YOU
I'm not saying you shouldn't play "Cover Tunes". Sometimes it can feel good to Perform a Song which was created by someone else. It can stir some good memories inside you or help you, as a Musician, make a little more money.
So what I'm saying is… listen to the Music. As you're sculpting your Song, listen carefully to what "IT" wants and needs… and pay attention to your own Feelings and Memories, as your Song comes to life. Allow your Song to guide you. If you want to test this, the next time you create a Song, make two of them. With the first one, listen to the Song and let it influence which Words, Notes, Rhythms and Textures you sprinkle into it… and keep your Logical Mind out of it. With the 2nd Song, let your Logical / Clever Mind loose. When both Songs are finished, play them for your family and friends. Don't tell them how you created them. You may even tell them "someone else" created them. Just to get their honest reactions.
Here's the link to the Spotify statistics:
Sylvia and I worked on our latest song today. We spent several hours on it and ran into a couple of glitches with Apple's GarageBand program. At one point, it changed 1 of our "audio" Regions (recorded Violin notes from our Korg Krome) into a "MIDI" Region (digital notes), which it cannot normally accomplish. We could see the converted Region and the notes but GarageBand wouldn't play them. (I tried to play them only because I was curious as to what that program did.)
It even added frequency modulation (a "wobble") to the Bassoon part I recorded a few days ago.
Since we have the latest version of GarageBand, I have a feeling the problem is in our 2009 Mac Mini computer… I'm thinking it's just not 100-percent compatible with Apple's latest Operating System — Mac OS X 10.11, "El Capitan".
I did a quick, troubleshooting search on the Internet but found nothing similar.
The song itself is almost finished. Besides doing the final Mix, I have to reinforce my recorded Vocals. I really don't want to re-record them. So I'm hoping I can simply bring-up the volume in the syllables that sound faint. I also need to search through the sounds in my electronic drums, in order to find a better Cymbal sound for 1 spot. The sound I used, from the Krome, is a typical, drumset Cymbal "crash" but the sound I'm hearing in my head is a Symphonic Cymbal "crash and choke" or, even better, a Cymbal being scraped with another Cymbal or a metal stick. (I only searched within the Krome today but I think there's a Cymbal "scape" sound in GarageBand.)
After digging into our latest song, "N.O.A.T.Y.", yesterday, it finally started coming-together and is now able to maintain its own identity.
Since I knew Sylvia wanted this to be an "Orchestral" piece, there were a few guidelines I needed to stick to:
Anyway, this song is not quite done yet but it's a LOT further along than it was 2-days ago. Right now, unless something else changes, this song:
Although this song calls for "me" to sing it, I had a very difficult Time "figuring-out" and then "learning" the Vocal part. Typically, modern music stays within a 1-to 2-note jump, especially in Vocal melodies. This song has a 5-note jump in it! When I 1st Streamed it, there was a 6-note jump in the Vocal line but Sylvia changed that part of the melody but still left a 5-note jump.
This song is a bit haunting and the melody will stay with you for a while… or maybe it's just because we've been working on it for about 2-weeks now… and listening to "parts" or "all" of it MANY, many times.
As I mentioned before, I really wish we could share the songs on this album, as we finish them, with at least a few of you. It's so boring, exciting and frustrating to not be able to share the "music" part of this journey as Sylvia and I travel through the sonic landscape of this upcoming album.
Today, I was finally able to gather enough energy together, within myself, to work with Sylvia on the 1st song in our upcoming album.
I had forgotten that we already recorded some starting-thoughts for this song. So I turned on our "Korg Krome" keyboard, set it to Sylvia's favorite "Piano with Strings" sound and placed my fingers on the keys.
I immediately found myself (with Sylvia's help, of course) playing a simple but nice-sounding chord-progression. Just before turning on the built-in Recorder, I used the "Tap Tempo" feature to indicate the speed of this song. When I did this, the keyboard showed a Tempo of "81 bpm" (Beats Per Minute).
After recording this, I decided to quickly Save it, before I started modifying it. When I did, I thought: "I better save it as "Chaos 2", in case we already Saved a "Chaos 1"." Once it was safely Saved, I checked and, yes, there was a "Chaos 1" already Saved. So I Loaded it in and listened to it. Not only were the chords fairly close to what I had already played but the Tempo was… exactly "81" bpm!
That was the "melodic", "sane" part. About a week or 2 ago, I had created a Patch (instrument sound) on our ARP 2600 for the "chaos" part. I listened to it but it never sounded right. So I cleared it and started from scratch. While creating that sound, I realized (or Sylvia made the suggestion) of just what that sound should be. So I cleared that Patch and started over… again.
Needing yet 1 more modifying source, I also used 1 of the "Gate" Outs, on the BeatStep Pro, to trigger an extra rhythm, which is slightly random
We also did a brief test with the vocal software, "Cyber Diva". Its "strangeness" may work along with a mirrored voice, in order to give that 1st song a cold, sad, empty, chaotic feel. We'll see.
We still have to work-out a Drum part.
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