“Call Out My Name”: Hey-hey, look, it’s another compound meter, with an ultra-slow 45 BPM tempo. By comparison, the slowest tempo we reached in last year’s Chartmania was 57 BPM — also a compound meter. The form here is why they made up the word “formulaic.” Though perhaps the absence of any tricks lays a foundation for Abel Tesfaye to take more liberties with his phrasing, starting his melodies first where you’d expect them, later well before the bar lines dictate, and then after the bar lines for a stumbling, dizzying effect. Watch out in the outro for the strong G♭ in the bass making a good argument for a G♭6 chord. Then again, it may be a first inversion E♭.
We here at Soundfly always recommend that you read as much as you can about your craft. There’s no reason to stop learning, stop improving, or stop seeking better, more efficient, and more creative ways to make musical work. So without further ado, here are five essential recommendations for the mixing engineer’s bookshelf.
Cardioid polar patterns are typically best for recording single voices as they offer the most noise rejection. Bi-polar, or bi-directional, pickup patterns are great for recording interviews as they capture sound from the front and back of the microphone. Omnidirectional pickup patterns capture sound from all directions, which is great for recording a large group of people, but it often captures a lot of ambient noise.
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We look at Ligeti’s famous composition in order to decide how much, or how little, the use of music’s foundational parameters really matter in composing.
The second of two articles on time management, we switch gears today to focus on workflow tips and strategies, based on the writer’s years of experience.
A more recent experiment with the same harmonic structure was my 2015 piece Territories, commissioned by What a Neighborhood! and premiered by the viola da gamba quartet Parthenia. The piece undertakes a spiritual journey from “our” world of the everyday, symbolized by conventional piano-like tuning in the first movement, through a murky in-between harmonic world in the second movement, and finally to a place of “otherness” in the third movement, which undertakes three modulations up through one of those wide whole steps to arrive at the interval of a fifth above, rather than the tritone that would occur in conventional tuning.
Whether that means using “children’s instruments” like toy pianos, ukuleles, tambourines, etc., or instruments that look and sound retro, like jangly Rickenbacker guitars, these elements help paint a delicate picture of the sound world you’re trying to create. As another example, my parents played a lot of country when I was growing up. So whenever I hear pedal steel guitars and tight harmonies, the combination always brings me back to my childhood living room.
There’s something magical about a director or composer’s ability to create that poignant sense of looking back or the joy of feeling like a kid again, and the cascade of emotions that come with it, with image and sound. Depending on the project, it might be as simple as a well-arranged descending chord progression, or adding sound design to paint an expressive picture of a particular moment in time shared by many of us in our youth, like a swing set or a wind chime, for example. But there really is no one magical trick that works for all audiences all the time.
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“Thank you, I really loved this course and am so impressed with Soundfly! I want to keep taking courses with you indefinitely. I came to this course to learn about chords, and I learned about chords but also so much about music production — which I was not expecting! It was a nice surprise.”
Some examples of past programs include adding production magic to your tracks, arranging and finishing musical ideas, producing an EP, working on your branding, and getting help building an audience for your music. Whatever your project or goal may be, we’ll pair you up with a Soundfly Mentor specifically suited to your needs and experience, who will work with you to figure out what it takes to get it done.
One such example is here in “Let’s Go,” where bassist Benjamin Orr does a double chromatic run in the interlude at the end of the chorus and leading into the “She’s laughing inside” verse. It’s a simple, basic riff, starting at the major third, walking up three notes to the fifth, and continuing with another four-note chromatic run up to the octave. It comes at an opportune moment, building up the suspense leading into the last set of verses, in an already high-tempo, high-energy song.
The first two lines are matched with the same repeated musical phrase and end rhyme, and the second two lines have a new rhyme and a new melodic phrase.
A mode is like a scale: It is a collection of pitches which have a certain relationship between each other. Just like any major or minor scale, a mode has a Tonic (a point of rest) and a “Dominant” (a point of tension which needs resolution). I have put the word Dominant in quotations because in the case of modes, the dominant is not always found on the 5th degree — like in any major scale for example — but it is the degree(s) which contain the characteristic note (the note that gives a certain mode its peculiar sound) that functions as a dominant.