Magic music

I would consider the Roland RE-201, also known as the Space Echo, to be a marvel of engineering and musical acumen alike. It’s a perfect example of what I would call a “holy grail piece of equipment;” a piece of equipment that is universally respected and its sound is often cited as the very definition of what it’s trying to achieve.

Whether you consider yourself an electronic producer, songwriter, amateur musician, or synthesist, if you plan to be creating musical work on your own, it’s vital to understand how to turn raw ideas into songs, organize and construct various song sections and integrate them together fluidly, and make your track listenable to a wide audience range.

The music business in 2019 has obviously changed immensely from what it was in 1919, but one thing about music hasn’t really changed all that much: It’s still inspirational, motivational, and capable of producing emotional power and beauty. Music itself brings people together, crosses boundaries, and inspires us to be better human beings, and the artists who make it often share their perspectives in the form of statements to the same result.

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To once again refer back to Mr. Bowie, here’s an interesting fact. Surprisingly, young Bowie wasn’t considered an exceptional singer by his teachers. “David Bowie’s teachers called his idiosyncratic style “vividly artistic,” but only rated his voice as “adequate.” As voice coach Lisa Popeil writes, “though vocally agile as an adult, Bowie was never known for great pitch accuracy.”

As a new songwriter, the many varieties of songform might come naturally to you, or it might be a goal that you’re shooting to improve on. But luckily, while there are a ton of models out there for how songs are made to function, there are no hard and fast rules — which means you’re free to learn what tools you need, and then bend them to suit your songwriting practice.

At the beginning of your four-week session, you and your mentor will lay out your goals and aspirations, what you’d like to accomplish, and/or what you’d like to improve upon. It’s our job to get you to that place, and give you the tools you need to move even further than that.

From an artist’s perspective, countless hours go into creating music, perfecting a set, and bringing it to the stage — and that should speak for itself, right? It might be nice to fantasize about a world where musicians just show up to play and crowds miraculously appear, but that obviously isn’t how things work. Venues need bands to do much more than just show up and play great music, and all that starts with getting your foot in the door in the first place!

Datsounds’ OBXD is an emulation of the famous Oberheim OB-X, OB-Xa, and OB-8 synthesizers. It features a continuously blended multi-mode filter that allows you to shape the EQ of your sounds easily, as well as a random micro-detuning feature that emulates oscillator drift, which was common in the original analog synthesizers. This plugin comes with three different color themes that you can choose from, depending on your own mood drift. While this synth does not come with any internal effects, it can be paired with delays, reverbs, and choruses in the DAW to enhance its sound.

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By now, your vocal should be sounding great — nice and punchy with just the right frequency balance and the perfect amount of space. But people have short attention spans these days, so you’ve got to shake things up if you want to keep them interested for three whole minutes.

This progression very eloquently illustrates one of the most basic functionalities of western tonal music — the subdominant (IV chord – G), moving to the dominant (V chord – A), and resolving to the tonic (I chord – D). This is a sound that transcends all genre barriers and ties tons of music together. We can find a very rich body of work in this sound throughout history, from classical music, to much folk music, to contemporary pop hits of each generation.

Music sure has changed since I was a youth. The way we find new music, the way we listen, and the way we share what we’re listening to has all changed; and the political and social climate of today’s culture is reflected in today’s music in a way that has changed massively since 20 years ago*. But I don’t look back and think, “now that was good music!”

“Fat Lip” is an example of what used to be a mainstream genre: pop/punk. It is, unfortunately, no longer mainstream. I freakin’ loved Sum 41. I had a huge crush on their bass player. Anyway, there’s not much in here now that gives me the same angry catharsis.

Alex is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer from Sydney, Australia. He founded the post-rock band sleepmakeswaves, with which he has toured Asia, America, Europe and Australia. In his spare time he writes music for short films, produces bands and subsists on altogether too much coffee. Alex is the instructor of the free Soundfly course, Live Clicks and Backing Tracks.