Year: 2019

  • I still recall being a young aspiring musician recording my first ever album with my bandmates. We spent weeks working on perfecting our recordings, getting the takes just right. The engineer helped us along the way with mixing in amazing effects, EQ, and panning to get it sounding just how we wanted. When it was all wrapped up in the studio, we smiled and patted each other on the back and truly believed this was the finished product we had all been waiting for. A few years ago, the NYU Music Experience Design Lab launched a web application called the aQWERTYon. The name is short for “QWERTY accordion.” The idea is to make it as easy to play music on the computer keyboard as it is with the chord buttons on an accordion. The aQWERTYon maps scales to the keyboard so that there are no “wrong notes,” and so that each column of keys plays a chord.
  • Writing lyrics is a form of storytelling, and writing “good” lyrics is a lifelong pursuit. Your personal catalog of themes, styles, references, and influences will continue to develop throughout your whole life and career. Lyrics are similar to poetry, but are intended to be sung rather than spoken or read. Because of this, we can learn not just from other lyricists, but also from writers and poets. Asheville is host to the summer music fest Shindig on the Green, a weekly festival in the summer months that features primarily Bluegrass music. If that isn’t your genre, there are tons of other fests to aim for, including Moog Fest, Downtown After 5, and Mountain Dance and Folk Fest. They even have a vivid opera and experimental scene. If you still need convincing, think about the many unique things Asheville is home to, including a car dealership turned music venue (White Horse Black Mountain) or the Asheville Guitar Bar. Pretty cool, right?!
  • Tone and slap sounds are both produced by striking the drum closer to its edge where there’s more tension in the skin than in the middle. It is actually the contact area of the fingers that determines the pitch of the strike. In my 2008 piece for Greek Byzantine choir and strings, Nativity Kontakion, I discovered a beautiful harmonic structure based around the Byzantine whole step you get when you divide the octave into fourteen 72nds — a bit wider than the whole step on the piano, which is twelve 72nds of an octave wide. Invert that wide “14/72” whole step, and you get a minor seventh narrower than the usual one. It so happens that this narrower minor seventh is almost equivalent to the seventh partial — one of those pure, God-made mathematical ratios that fell out of favor when equal temperament took over.
  • December 30, 2019

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    To get around this problem, we’ll sometimes give sections names like “A” or “B” instead of “verse” or “chorus.” Let’s look at a few structures in this vein. We love her campaign title. “Be the Producer” invites her fans and friends to join the process directly and make an impact on her project with their contributions.
  • December 30, 2019

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    We also get a glimpse into the assumed social life of this band (which, if it is just a bunch of their friends partying, that’s a great way to save money on actors!). Repetitive dance forms went out of style in the Romantic era, and while they made a comeback in the 20th century, it wasn’t exactly in a predictable, listener-friendly context. Ross says, “But it’s really in jazz, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll where the lamento bass has a surprising revival.”
  • Creating a string arrangement is the most powerful way to make a piece of music soar. Whether adding an epic string part to your latest pop song or composing for a classical quartet, there’s so much you can do with these dynamic instruments. The bariolage part isn’t only exciting because of the chromaticism — all those repeated A’s are intense too, in a way that doesn’t come across fully in MIDI form or played on a piano. On violin, you’re not just hammering the same note over and over. You’re really playing two different notes that are both very close to being A — you alternate between the open A string and the D fingered at the equivalent of the seventh fret in the guitar. These two A’s are a little out of alignment with each other.
  • December 30, 2019

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    If you’re interested in becoming a content partner, please send articles and inquiries to support(at)soundfly.com! Modes and Key Signatures have a variety of different characteristics and are great for outside-the-box songwriting. Here’s a cheat sheet to remember them!
  • Lyrically, the verse “back ends” coalesce in a cool way, using similar lines and then the same lines — which you could call lazy, but I don’t think you should be smarmy about anything in pop that you don’t see too often. Good going, whichever one of you five Maroony guys crafted this cool little “words-zipper.” My money’s on the tall Gump-cut guy, he seems like he’s going places — he must be a solid dude for all these women to let him sing in their video. There is so much to digest here on XXL Mag; including interviews, news, and various spotlight features and specialty pieces. One of their latest is the best hip-hop projects of 2019. Not a bad place to start your discovery search!