Author: music

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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.

We want to connect with a performer, and that’s maybe what James Brown does best on this album; he connects with his audience in a way that over 50 years later we can’t deny feels absolutely great to listen in on.

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One particularly interesting thing to point out here is that very last green bar — “One Loopers.” That’s not actually a reference to the form, but it’s related to it. It means that more than half of the 40 songs we looked at that topped the Billboard charts in 2018 were based off of just a single loop that continued for the entire track. In those cases, the different sections were delineated less by harmonic changes or big structural differences but instead by the melody, the instrumentation, or both.

Why do some songs tug on our heartstrings while others fall flat? Conveying moods and emotions is a key element of making great music, and doing it well requires a deep understanding of chords and harmony. It’s what allows modern music producers and songwriters to convey a sense of danger, triumph, or melancholy.

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While many artists we’ve come to know and love first broke out through the channel in the ’80s and ’90s, I attribute parts of my own musical discovery to MTV. If it weren’t for Total Request Live taking an interest in independent (and alternative) music, I never would have heard a band like My Chemical Romance before they were huge or their predecessors, like Blink-182 and New Found Glory.

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For a tone, most of the area of the fingers and the edge of the palm will contact the drum. Move your hands towards you until your knuckles are just off the edge of the drum. Your fingers themselves should be over the drumhead. You strike the drumhead with all your fingers flat at the same time.

This scene, where Marissa shoots Trey (I never watched The OC but I’m getting this all from the YouTube description), was where a lot of people were introduced to the artistry of Imogen Heap. Her song “Hide and Seek” stands alone for the British singer, and in this clip, where one character is killing another by choking him, the gunshot by Marissa is justified to the viewers by Heap’s line, “It’s all for the best.”

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It’s worth investing time developing a melody that allows your lyrical idea to fully register with the audience. So how do you write a tune that folks can remember irrespective of the lyrics? One that you can play as well as sing, one that is immediately recognizable covered by any one of a glockenspiel band, a choir, a bagpipe, or a thumb piano?

This holiday season, consider giving the gift of positive support in the form of a donation to one of these ten important music-related community charities.

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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.

Here’s a bit more off-kilter, dreamy, new-wave pop from Japan. This is singer and poet Yoshiko Sai’s debut album, which was reissued by P-Vine Records on CD in 2008. She recorded four albums in four years, which showed an incredible commitment to her work, but then decided to completely retire from music-making until her appearance on harsh-noise artist Jojo Hiroshige’s 2001 album Crimson Voyage. 

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Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.

With overwhelmingly positive results, we’re happy to share a few testimonials of Soundfly’s Orchestration For Strings course directly from our students.

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Tim Maryon is an Soundfly Mentor, an award-winning composer, and film scorer. He has an MA in film scoring from the Royal College of Music, and has written music for documentaries for the BBC, scored animations for BFI, and worked with major brands. His original works have been performed all over Europe. You can read more about him and hear his music here. Want to work with Tim on your project? Fill out this form to tell us about your musical goals and be sure to mention his name in your response!

It’s still Home Recording Week here on Soundfly and beyond, so for those of you who have made a commitment to yourselves to produce better music in the comfort of your own home, we’ve got a ton of helpful resources to help you improve your knowledge, skills, and strategies.

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Touring is great. But it can very quickly turn into exhaustive, monotonous work. Here are 10 great tips to keep things interesting and fun on the road.

Unlocking the Emotional Power of Chords is a course that aims to demystify the world of harmony. Students explore concepts like tonality, mode mixture, functional harmony, and constant structure. In addition to working with borrowed chords, Patricia brought her own musicality to the table here, experimenting with ways to voice her harmonies and finding an excellent balance of tension and release. On top of that, she added a vocal line that does a perfect job of tying the piece together.