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The music industry has once again gone through a tremendous transformation. Traditional roles in the business of creating music have been redefined and revolutionized.
In summing up (ha!), phase is not just a potential problem in audio engineering. It’s actually one of the essential components of sound alteration. We’ve only touched on some of the most basic theory and techniques here. It will serve a budding engineer well to dive even deeper.
For one, the ramifications of the island-wide power outage — on the heels of power outages wrought by Hurricane Irma, some of which had yet to be dealt with — will cause inescapable problems for every single person in Puerto Rico, albeit in varying degrees.
An instrument’s strings are never perfectly in tune, and even the best violinists don’t place their fingers on the exact right place on the fingerboard. By alternating these two wonky A’s, Bach is drawing our attention to the physicality of the instrument, and to the way that the subtle microtones you get from physically playing it rub uncomfortably against each other. Guitarists use this same technique all the time, and it’s no big surprise that the chaconne sounds so great on guitar.
Your narrative could be a very big-picture look at your career as a whole, or you can create mini-narratives around much smaller events, like a particular album. And finally a narrative should be a part of how you communicate with your fans every single day. It’s not always about sharing your whole story in one breath. Instead think about how the content you’re creating every day relates to your story as an artist.
“I thought the course was really well designed and helped me get a grip on concepts I’d heard before but had never really gotten my head around. A lot of things really clicked in, and working 1:1 with Martin was great. My goal was to introduce more complex harmony and dissonance into my music so have been really pleased with the results and the new material I’ve been working on over the last few months.”
We are conditioned to think that great vocalists are just born that way — “gifted,” “blessed,” and we wonder if we were given those gifts too… Really? No. Shut up. Try to remember that this is not true. You need to put the work in if you want to be great. It starts with getting yourself a good vocal coach.
In 12-TET, you don’t define your intervals by tidy ratios of whole numbers. Instead, you divide up the octave into twelve equally-sized semitones (the interval between two adjacent piano keys or guitar frets). You then add semitones together to make all the other intervals. To go up a semitone from any note, you multiply its frequency by the 12th root of two. To go down a semitone from any note, you divide its frequency by the 12th root of two. If you go up by an octave (12 semitones), you’re multiplying your frequency by the 12th root of two 12 times, which works out to two.
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Here’s a spring chicken by comparison, but with a maturity to her practice that’s mind-blowing and brilliant. Born in 1982, Caroline Shaw is an American Pulitzer Prize winning composer, singer, and violinist. Etching her name into the annals of history forever in 2013 with her work Partita for 8 Voices, this ground-breaking piece explores some incredible vocal techniques including Inuit-inspired throat singing, or “hocketing,” and the American folk hymn “Shining Shore.” Composed and performed by Roomful of Teeth, this incredible group including Shaw is described by NPR as “gleefully dismantling the traditional definition of ensemble singing right before our ears!”
This technique is most widely used as an alternative to the “speeding buildup” technique. Here, the buildup section is supported with a marching snare-type instrument, serving the purpose of increasing the energy right before the chorus or the drop.
When it comes to visuals, nothing is unimportant, and everything helps. Don’t be afraid to try a bunch of different things until you find something that fits.
And once the mix starts to come together, make sure to play your track back on as many different speakers and listening devices as possible (the car, your laptop, your phone’s ear buds, etc.) and take notes. Listen, and trust your own ears.
A classic example is the LCD Soundsystem song “All My Friends.” The song develops extensively, without an obvious lyrical structure. There are certainly repeated melodies, various layers coming and going, and a strong lyrical narrative, but it never deviates from that repetitive piano part.