More and more musicians are choosing to build their own home studios and go it alone these days, as opposed to spending their money on only a few days in a professional studio per year or even less. And that’s great! More agency and self-sufficiency means more time spent honing one’s craft and exploring musical boundaries.
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It’s called Modern Pop Vocal Production, and it’s designed to help you home-recording vocalists and producers get a richer, more dynamic, and harder-hitting sound on your vocal mixes. In other words: Want to sound like the hits on the radio sound without buying a $10K vintage microphone? Then take this course.
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So I wanted to pluck out a bunch of very famous songs from between the ’60s and ’80s where these stalwart rhythm-section warriors were able to eek out a few moments of their own in the limelight — those fleeting moments where any listener can catch the bass filling an iota of space very cleverly, or otherwise blending particularly well with the vocal, lead guitar, or other instrument. We’ll also examine the melodic techniques used in each case.
Like any piece of machine-learning tech, you’re bound to run into some bugs and kinks. What problems have appeared in beta versions of the tech that have needed to be worked out in further iterations?
But that being said, inspiration isn’t always easy to find, and when you get stuck in your journey to find it, sometimes it’s not clear where to turn to hunt for more. Yet one of the most overlooked places to find fresh new ideas is actually right in front of your face, like right now: blogs!
Sure, it may not be a fully produced radio-ready single, but you will end up with a great-sounding demo that could save you a lot of time and money if or when you eventually bring your tracks to a professional studio. And the best part is, you don’t even really need a keyboard. Of course, it helps to have one, but a MIDI controller or even your laptop keyboard can work just fine.
From this basis, I arrived at an elegant system of harmonic possibility that allowed me to compose music in an entirely new tuning system. I discovered rather than created this system, through a Bach-inspired process of “imaginative research,” infused with musical-theological connections in the spirit of Baroque metaphysics. For example, my use of the seventh partial mirrors and supports the subject matter of the Christmas/Nativity-themed text of the piece — according to Andreas Werckmeister, an organist and one of the main Baroque-era theorists of this system:
“Perhaps the more important feedback was something that he did himself. He paid close attention to which aspects of a string of digits caused him problems. If he’d gotten the string wrong, he usually knew exactly why and which digits he had messed up on. Even if he got the string correct, he could report to me afterward which digits had given him trouble and which had been no problem. By recognizing where his weaknesses were, he could switch his focus appropriately and come up with new memorization techniques that would address those weaknesses.”
Chorus impact accentuators, often abbreviated to “CIAs,” is a term that’s still fairly new in this category — whether people know about it at all yet — but it keeps popping up more and more nowadays. Simply put, chorus impact accentuators are any element in a production that makes the chorus more impactful and powerful. That can be a reversed crash cymbal sample that flares up and preps our ears for a drop, or even a half a measure of complete silence leading up to the chorus, making its arrival all the more epic.
I typically send a follow up email about a week after the initial proposition and then I’ll call their office to follow up a week after that. This is why it’s good to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Organizing events even months in advance is easier than cramming a ton of planning into just a few weeks.
One other interesting thing about the I-IV-V progression is that, within the chord tones of this progression, it collectively outlines the entire major scale. Remember, the I chord is D, made up of the notes D, F♯, and A; the V chord is A, made up of the notes A, C♯, and E; and the IV chord is G, made up of the notes G, B, and D.
But here’s what’s even more exciting: When you sign up for Modern Pop Vocal Production, you’ll get 1:1 coaching and feedback from one of three expert Soundfly Mentors: The course instructor herself, Sırma; South African producer, touring multi-instrumentalist, and composer, Sulene; or podcast composer, remixer, and touring multi-instrumentalist, Martin D. Fowler.