Are you suffering from Gear Acquisition Syndrome like millions of other musicians out there? Here’s ten ways to prevent yourself from making a bad purchase.
At the same time, it’s pretty easy to dismiss this idea of using old video game sound chips to cover well-known tunes as just some kind of novelty gimmick.
With great soundproofing, even a beginner acoustic guitar can sound good on your recordings. I want to talk specifically about a few things you can do to improve soundproofing in your home studio, but if you’d like a bit more information on acoustic treatment, check out this Flypaper article on acoustic diffusers.
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What better place to look for motivation and inspiration then with a group of songwriters looking for just the same? Reddit offers an incredible forum platform for people to talk about pretty much anything, but their Songwriting subreddit is where the most engaged and thorough writers go to talk shop. You can’t find a truer community anywhere else.
The music industry has once again gone through a tremendous transformation. Traditional roles in the business of creating music have been redefined and revolutionized.
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“This Is America”: We’ve found the first of this year’s modulating pop tunes: changing from a gospelly F major to what I hear as E♭ Phrygian, which happens whenever Gambino shoots someone (in the video). I hear it as Phrygian because of the shark-in-the-water E♭ and E (or “F♭” if you’re being kosher theory-wise), and then the high-pitched whistle being a solid B♭, so there you go: E♭ Phrygian. Elements from the two tonalities fuse in places, like at 1:35 where there’s what sounds like a sample of previous F major vocals that drone on the very-not-Phrygian notes A and C, creating a heavy tension. This fusion is also present in the outro. Rhythmically, watch out after the second chorus, where it sounds like they added or skipped a beat, but they didn’t. It all flattens out after a few thumps.
If we want to take this a step further and become experimenting with even more unusual sounds, we can build modes on the two other Minor scales: The Harmonic and Melodic Minor scales. The resulting modes would be the following:
What does this mean? It means I’m going with my first instinct: D♭ Lydian, mainly because it’s just, like, in my feelings. But you could also say it’s E♭ Mixolydian if you’re enamored with the strong beat chord, or go back to A♭ major too because of the melodies. Or, why not classify this one as multimodal?
Some bands (like Avenged Sevenfold, for example) use isolation boxes containing their guitar cabinet during their live performances to maintain consistency in their tone across every show on their tour, no matter the room — since the acoustics of each venue are always going to be different. Using isolation boxes live also allows guitar players to block out any venue noise that could be captured through the mic.
Are you writing for millennials? A lot of millennials went through their rebellious phases when emo music was at its peak. With their brains changing and their hormones raging, the simple chord progressions and major tonalities of emo and pop punk have most likely been stamped into their subconscious as instant bookmarks of this phase of their life. Re-orchestrating a progression like vi-IV-I-V for non-guitar instruments will surely bring this audience back in subtle, emotive ways.
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“Bad at Love”: Just like the song Halsey sang last year with the Chainsmokers, “Closer,” this song defies a concrete tonal center, camping on what I first heard as the IV and V chords, with just a flirtation to the I chord at the end of the loop. It’s subjective as to how anyone’s ear is going to hear this tonally, at least at first. It’s like that famous “Rabbit-Duck” illusion where some people see a rabbit and others see a duck.