A Different Type Of Sound Generator?

At SuperBooth 2019, there was a company called: “E-RM”, showing off a new type of Sound Generator called the “Polygogo”. The company refers to this technology as a “polygonal synthesis method”.

Although the graphics generated on its small screen are nice to watch, for us Musicians, it’s all about the “Sound”. In the beginning of that video, and throughout it, the Inventor of the Polygogo plays some really different sounds. Yes, most of them can be generated with a “Complete Voice” Synthesizer or several Modules from a Modular Synth but they would take a lot of tweaking. The Polygogo, on the other hand, generates these types of sounds effortlessly.

Is it a revolutionary device? Probably not. Is this a “must have” component of your music gear setup? Maybe.

I’m simply presenting this information here, to let others know about this.

As of this writing, I could not find a price or release date for this product.

Here’s the link to some information and a 40-minute video which explains this new sound generator:

https://www.gearnews.com/superbooth-2019-e-rm-polygogo-polygonal-synthesis-module/

Here’s the link to the Polygogo product page:

https://e-rm.de/2019/05/03/polygogo/

 

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Today’s Music & Two Alternative Controllers

I recently watched a “Talk” by an “Alternative Controller” pioneer, Roger Linn. Maker of the “Linnstrument”.

Here’s the link to the “Linnstrument” product page:

http://www.rogerlinndesign.com/linnstrument.html

Here’s the link to the Talk:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2019/06/13/roger-linn-on-the-importance-of-expressive-touch-control/

Lippold Haken, another Alternative Controller pioneer, was in the audience and contributes some very helpful insights into today’s music, the world of electronic music controllers, etc.

One facet that I hadn’t notice before was something stated by Roger Linn. Basically, he’s noticed that today’s music, especially “Electronic Music”, has “ignored” or “remove” the “Instrumental” — the Soloing Instrument from those Songs.

There are two videos on the above web page and I found both to be interesting. These were held at “ContinuuCon 2019”, which took place at the end of May 2019, at Asheville, North Carolina.

The following 45-minute Talk is by Lippold Haken and is also from ContinuuCon 2019 (I haven’t watched this one yet but it promises to be very insightful):

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2019/06/12/continuucon-2019-lippold-haken-on-the-evolution-of-the-continuum-fingerboard/

Even if you’re not into “Alternative Controllers”, it can be helpful to keep your mind open to what exists within today’s music world. Then, if you’re working on a Modular System, or even a Complete Voice Synthesizer, if you can’t get the “expressiveness” out of your mind and into your Instrument, you may remember these Controllers and how they bridge the worlds of “mind” and “machine”… and this may help you approach that sound a bit differently.

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John Bonham’s “Ramble On”

Yesterday, I was practicing my Drums with some Streaming music. At one point, Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On”  started playing. Being a “child of the 70s”, I’ve been a big fan of Led Zeppelin’s music since their first album.

Although I’ve always wondered what that light “tapping” sound is, on the beginning of “Ramble On”, I never through to explore it… until yesterday.

To “me”, John Bonham was obviously playing a “Remo Practice Pad” but, when I did some research online, to verify this, I found a LOT of conflicting information. On this Forum Thread, there are comments of him playing:

  • His Drum Throne,
  • A Guitar Case,
  • A Microphone,
  • An Acoustic Guitar, etc.

Here’s that link:

https://www.drumchat.com/showthread.php/24009-What-is-Bonham-hitting-in-Ramble-on

I’ve never “owned” a Remo Practice Pad but I still remember what they sound like. Especially when they’ve aged and are a bit worn. So I searched for a video that had the same sound that is in my head. Here is the link to the closest “Remo Practice Pad” sound that I could find:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=28&v=aD8Oo1hbljs

He plays it best from the “0” to the “8-second” mark. So it’s not much… but if you listen to the actual Song (link below) and then compare that to the tapping in this video, to “me” THIS is what John Bonham is playing on “Ramble On”.

Here’s the link to the Song “Ramble On”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h9MxNn8P7w

To “me”, this also makes sense because John would have “probably” had a Remo Practice Pad with him when they recorded this Song.

If John Bonham is, instead, playing his “Drum Throne”, then he’d have to have an extra one because he quickly goes back-and-forth between “that tapping sound” and playing his entire Drumset. This would have been very awkward to do in the Studio and, especially on Stage, when playing this Song live.

So listen to the different items I’ve presented above and make-up your own mind. Remember, although I’m a “Synthesist”, “Drums” are my main instrument. I think it was my “Synthesist’s ear” that made me question this sound in the first place. So for those of you who are Synthesists (“Sound Designers”), put your own ear to the test. The downside, of course, is… it seems that no one knows “for sure” WHAT John Bonham actually played on that Song.

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Helpful Articles On Learning About Synthesizers

I just wanted to pass along a few more resources which provide helpful information on “what” Synthesizers are and “how” the various components can be used.

Before I do that, I want to mention something I haven’t heard anyone talk about… “Patch Cables” and, specifically, “how many” Patch Cables should you buy?

There is no mathematical formula to this question. However, the rule-of-thumb would be “more is better”. My very loose guideline for “how many” to buy would be:

  • 5-Cables for your first Module
  • Then 2 Cables for each Module you purchase after that.

Again, this is not a locked-in-stone way of approaching this.

Yes, you can count the “Patch Points” (Cable-connection “holes” / “sockets”) on each Module, and buy THAT MANY Cables, but that doesn’t really work. In most cases, buying that many Cables would simply give you a LOT more Cables than your Synthesizer would ever be able to use.

  • For example, Sylvia and I have the “A-143-2 Quad ADSR” by Doeper. It contains 24-Patch Points (jacks) — 8 “Input” Points and 16 “Output” Points. If you purchased 24-Patch Cables you’d have way more Cables than this Module can possibly use. (Remember, a “Patch Cable” contains 2-Jacks [connectors] — one on each end.) With 24-Patch Cables, you’d have 48-Jacks. If you only purchased “8” Cables, to cover the number of “Inputs”, there may be times when you’d want 4 or more Cables to create a more complex Patch.
  • Here’s the link for more information about this Doepfer Module:
  • www.modulargrid.net/e/doepfer-a-143-2

Right now, we have 61-Patch Cables… BUT, combined, our 3 Synthesizers (ARP 2600, Behringer Neutron and a partially completed Eurorack Synth) contain 280-Patch Points. So, of course, we still have “Patch Cables” on our “buy more Eurorack items” list.

  • We’ve been buying the “LMNTL” brand Cables.
  • Here’s the link:
  • www.perfectcircuit.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=lmntl%20cables
  • (Sylvia and I aren’t associated with “Perfect Circuit” or “LMNTL” in any way. I’ve only linked to the Perfect Circuit website because that’s the only place we’ve been able to find these Cables.)

Patch Cable Length
In a previous Post, I included a link to a “helpful tips” video by Robin Vincent.
Here’s that link:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7LFURMEs8Q

One of the things he learned, when performing Live with his Eurorack Synthesizer, is that he used short Cables whenever possible. The downside to this, he discovered, was that these Cables not only blocked the Modules they crossed (which they always do) but their tightness made it difficult for him to easily get his fingers through to the Knobs and Switches.

Instead, it may sometimes be a good idea to use longer Cables and have them droop down and away from most of the Modules you’ll be using in that Patch.

Patch Cable Colors
When I took Synthesizer Lessons in the 70s, Patch Cables were only available in “gray”. (That’s all “I” saw, anyway.) Today, there are LOTS of colors to choose from and there are 2 types of Synthesists, regarding which colors to buy:

  • Some people use only 1-color, because it looks good when you’re Patching, or
  • Use multiple colors because it’s much easier to trace the signal-flow in your Patch.

This really comes down to “personal preference”. For “us”, even though Sylvia loves “Purple”, we do our best to select as many different colors for each Patch as we can.

When using a single color for an entire Patch, it can be continually frustrating, when you have to keep following and re-finding where each Cable goes, just to tweak something “quickly”.

  • Our “partial” Eurorack Synthesizer currently contains 10-Modules. Even so, any Patch we create could easily use 10-to 20 or more Patch Cables… and if we connect that Patch to an external Synth, like our ARP 2600 or Behringer Neutron, we’ll use several MORE Cables.

It’s “sometimes” possible to use one color for “Modulation” (Envelopes, LFOs, etc.) and another color for “Audio”. Let’s say “Red” for Modulation and “Green” for Audio. However, there are 2 problems with this approach:

  • Even with “2” colors of Patch Cables, it’s still going to be VERY difficult to “quickly” locate the Module, and the “Knob” on that Module, that you’ll need to turn in order to change the sound the way you want. (For example: Should you be changing an “LFO” or the “Envelope”?)
  • Let’s say you’ve connect a Red “Modulation” Cable from an LFO to a Multiple — so it can be split to more than 1 destination. You then connect another Red Cable to an Oscillator, in order to Modulate its Frequency — giving it a moving “wow” affect. Then you change your mind and decide to use another Oscillator’s audio output to Modulate that 1st Oscillator — now giving it a distorted sound. Under your “Red-Green guidelines”, you’ll have to remove those Red Cables and replace them with Green ones, when you could have simply moved 1-end of 1-Cable to the Oscillator’s audio output.

Synthesizer Resources
Here are a few articles and videos where you can find a lot of helpful information on understanding Synthesizers (in no particular order):

​This article is titled: “What are CV, Gate and Triggers, and how do they relate to semi-modular synthesis?
www.musicradar.com/how-to/what-are-cv-gate-and-triggers-and-how-do-they-relate-to-semi-modular-synthesis

The following article is titled: “Synth Terminology And Basics for Beginners“. It covers:

  • Subtractive Synthesis
  • The “Oscillator”
  • Analog versus Digital versus Hybrids
  • Filters and Cutoff
  • Envelopes
  • Modulation
  • FM Synthesis

​Here’s the link to that article:
ask.audio/articles/synth-terminology-and-basics-for-beginners

Here’s the link to a Robin Vincent video titled: “Molten Modular 15 – Discovering oscillators with the Make Noise STO“.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUrtCf5i7ng

Here’s another good video by Robin Vincent. This one’s titled: “Molten Modular 24 – Discovering Envelopes featuring TINRS Edgecutter“.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KOP1HqNbtY

Here’s Robin Vincent’s main YouTube Channel:
www.youtube.com/user/MoltenMusicTech/videos

Modular Grid: The best place to go for “all things Eurorack related”.
www.modulargrid.net/e/modules/browser?SearchName=&SearchVendor=&SearchFunction=&SearchSecondaryfunction=&SearchTe=&SearchTemethod=max&SearchBuildtype=&SearchLifecycle=&SearchSet=&SearchMarketplace=&SearchIsmodeled=0&SearchShowothers=0&SearchShow1u=0&order=newest&direction=asc

Of course there are LOTS of other sources of information online. Even with all the information and links I’ve provided here, there are still a few facets of Synthesizers which were not mentioned in the above articles and videos, such as:

  • Granular Synthesis,
  • Wavetables,
  • Formants,
  • Karplus Strong,
  • Sequencers,
  • Logic Modules, etc.

I simply listed them, in case you’d like to explore these subjects further on your own.

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ARP Synthesizers

It looks as though Synthesizer pioneer, Alan R. Pearlman, “crossed-over” on January 5th 2019.

Although more people, especially non-Musicians, will have heard of “Moog” Synthesizers, Mr. Pearlman founded the “ARP Instruments, Inc.” in 1969 and contributed quite a bit to the Music industry. This is what his daughter Posted, regarding his crossing:

​My father passed away today after a long illness.

At 93, too weak to speak he still managed to play the piano this morning, later passing away peacefully in the afternoon. He was a great man and contributed much to the world of music you all know today.

Hopefully I can find something more eloquent to say, but I am too sad for words right now.

Here’s the link to the Synthtopia website, where I first learned of his crossing:
www.synthtopia.com/content/2019/01/06/arp-founder-alan-r-pearlman-has-died/

Here’s a link to a short, video interview with Mr. Pearlman, from 2006:
www.namm.org/library/oral-history/alan-r-pearlman?fbclid=IwAR0hsbPR2buZVzHu04T5c6evuHjCnDHFxrvQTUZ2qsJNcIH5W6Q7CEFKEF8

Electronic Synthesizers helped shape Music, in every genre, since they were first invented. According to this Wikipedia article, that would be 1876:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthesizer#Early_electric_instruments

minimoog

The minimoog Synthesizer

Most Synthesizers have a very unique or slightly different sound. The “Moog sound” is probably the most recognizable — especially for those of us who first began listening to Music in the ’60s and ’70s. During those early years, the biggest companies, still known today are:

  • Moog,
  • ARP,
  • Oberheim and
  • Sequential Circuits (Later named “Dave Smith Instruments” or simply “DSI”)

Of all the Synthesizers, up to about the 1980s, the original “minimoog Model D” was the most popular. Although I’m a “Drummer”, while I was still in High School, I bought a very basic “Korg” Synthesizer. (I don’t remember its name.) Hearing more and more about this “minimoog” thing, in the early ’70s, I saved-up and bought one from a local Music Store ($1,495). The sounds were rich and the various combinations of sonic textures were easy to pull out of it. It was an amazing experience.

arp2600

The ARP 2600 and its included Keyboard

arp2600keyboard

Then I heard about something called an “ARP 2600”. After seeing some images and reading several articles on it, I knew I had to buy one. This thing was a monster! It had features none of the Moog Synthesizers, at that time, offered (especially on their “non-Modular” Synthesizers, like the minimoog):

  • Ring Modulation,
  • Sample & Hold,
  • Spring Reverb,
  • 3 “complete” (audio / LFO) Oscillators,
  • a “Lag” circuit,
  • an “Electronic Switch”,
  • a “Multiple”,
  • Patch Points,
  • an “Envelope Follower”,
  • and more!

Many, many Musicians have used ARP Synthesizers in their Music… and, even though the ARP company hasn’t existed for decades, many Musicians continue to use those Synthesizers in their Music. Here’s a link to the song “Frankenstein” by Edgar Winter. You can see him play the ARP 2600 in this video:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1mV_5-bRPo

Here’s a page where you can see the different variations of the ARP 2600 over the years:
www.vintagesynth.com/arp/arp.php

Although ARP released several different Synthesizers over the years, my ARP 2600 could not only imitate most of their sounds but also added a bit more… that is, until I heard about the “ARP 2500”!

arp2500

The ARP 2500 Synthesizer

In its day, I really wanted an ARP 2500 but Sylvia and I could never afford one. It was a big powerhouse of its time.

Here’s the link to an “ARP 2500” web page, which explains some of its capabilities:
www.vintagesynth.com/arp/2500.php

​Jimmy Page, of Progressive Rock band “Led Zeppelin”, has (or had) an ARP 2500. Pete Townshend, of the Rock Band “The Who”, also used an ARP 2500. You can hear that instrument’s “Sequencer” Module on their song: “Baba O’Riley”. It’s right at the beginning. Here’s a link where you can hear that song:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2KRpRMSu4g

Here’s the Wikipedia page for “ARP Instruments, Inc.”:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARP_Instruments

Probably the most popular “ARP” Synthesizer was the “Odyssey”.

My notes here don’t do enough to explain the impact Mr. Pearlman and his instruments have had on me, Sylvia and this entire world. Thank you Mr. Pearlman!

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Eurorack Patch Charts

I uploaded several blank “Patch Charts” to our “Downloads” page. (You can get there from the menu at the top of this page.)

These are “blank” Patch Charts. Each contains a clear, uncolored image of one Eurorack Module. Each can be printed or used on-screen.

A “Patch Chart” is an “old school” way of remembering a configuration of Knobs, Sliders, Patch Cords and Switches, in order to recall a Sound at a later date.

Most Eurorack Modules and LOTS of Synthesizers do not have “Presets” (memory recall), where you can Save a “Patch” and instantly bring it back at a later date.

There’s no real “right or wrong” way to use these.

I first learned about “Patch Charts” during some private Synthesizer lessons at a University in the ’70s and from the Patch Charts that came with our ARP 2600 Synthesizer from the mid ’80s.

Keep in mind that our approach to “creating Sounds” with Synthesizers may be different from yours.

When my wife and I were first learning about “Synthesizers”, decades ago, the goal of any Patch was the final Sound. We’ve noticed, however, that the current approach to Electronic Music is that the “journey” of modifying the Sound is the goal.

In other words, our approach is to create the exact Sound that’s in our mind. Whether it’s recreating the Sound of a Violin or an abstract, more-electronic Sound. We will modify any parameter we need in order to achieve that final Sound. The approach, these days, is that a Synthesist will integrate the modifications into the “Music”. They are not searching for a “final Sound” as we are doing.

This is how “we” use Patch Charts…

For the “old school” Synthesists: Adjust all of the Eurorack Modules involved with your final Sound.

For the “new school” Synthesists: Adjust all of the Eurorack Modules involved with your “foundation” (or “starting”) Sound.

Then, no matter which approach you start with, select a Patch Chart that’s included with the flow of your Sound. Here, I’m showing the Bastl “Quattro Figaro” quad VCA as an example.

Notice that any Knobs, Sliders and Switches will be blank. This makes it easier for you to indicate where it should be set. Typically, if there are no marks on a moveable part of a Module, it means that particular parameter is not used. (It will have no affect on any part of the Sound.)

quattro figaro blank patch chart

Use an easy-to-read, colored Pen, Pencil or Marker. We use a Red Pen because it’s very easy to see lines and notes against the gray and black design on most of these Patch Charts.

We marked-up the following Patch Chart in the computer. If we had printed this, all of our notes would also be in Red Pen.

When drawing your lines, be sure to make them easy to understand. If someone else uses your Patch Charts, or if you look at them in the future, will all of the markings make sense?

If lines, representing your cables, need to cross each other, either keep them at right-angles or draw an “arc” (a “hump”) where they meet.

quattro figaro patch chart - stereo pan

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Eurorack Modular Tips

Music Columnist and Synthesizer explorer, Robin Vincent, has created a video titled: “25 – Top tips for performing live with Eurorack“.

A day or 2 before, he had performed with part of his Eurorack Synthesizer in a local restaurant in England, where he’s from. During that performance, he realized several things which he hadn’t planned for. So he created this video, in order to pass this valuable information on to others.

Here’s the link:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7LFURMEs8Q

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Highly Creative Drummer

Recently, I saw 2 videos of an excellent Drummer. His name is “Aric Improta”. Not only is he an accomplished Drummer but I’ve never seen anyone use more of an acoustic Drumset to produce sound.

The following web page, contains an article and 2 videos. The first video shows his showmanship. The most outstanding part is when he “back-flips” from one Drumset to another!

The second video shows him using every part of his Drum setup for various sounds.

Just thought I’d pass this along.

Here’s the link:
www.musicradar.com/news/aric-improtas-guide-to-drumming-showmanship

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Behringer Neutron Blank Patch Chart

In June, Sylvia and I traded-in our “Roland System-1m” ($600) for the “Behringer Neutron” ($300). It finally arrived last week.

  • The System-1m is a nice-sounding Synth. It also has several Patch Points. However, most of the time when I wanted to create a certain sound or Patch our Eurorack Modular into it, the System-1m just didn’t offer the flexibility we needed.
  • The Neutron, on the other hand, has 56 Patch Points, which allow for many combinations of Control Voltage signal flow and audio modification.

The digital Oscillators in the System-1m made them very stable and tracked across the keyboard very well. We were pleasantly surprised to find the Neutron’s analog Oscillators are also very stable.

There’s a very good Review of the Neutron over at SonicState. Here’s the link:
sonicstate.com/news/2018/04/05/sonic-lab-behringer-neutron-analog-desktop-semi-modular-review/

Because I learned Synthesizers the “old school” way, with “Patch Charts”, I wanted to be sure there was one available. The User’s Manual does have a handy Patch Chart on page 27 but I fine-tuned it just a bit for our purposes. I have included it below for anyone to Download.

  • A “Patch Chart” is used with Synthesizers which don’t offer a “Save” or “Store” for your sound creations. I realize that some Artists simply want the “journey” to be the “sound”. That’s fine but there may still be times when you’ll want to start with a certain “sound foundation” and, without being able to Save a Patch electronically, a “Patch Chart” will come in very handy.

If you’ve never used a Patch Chart, there are no real “rules” of how to draw-out and explain a Patch. So, for what it’s worth, these are a few things I’ve learned over the years on how to write-out a Patch so you’ll understand it years from now:

  • When drawing lines where your Patch Cables are to be connected, be sure to use a contrasting ink color. Since the Blank Patch Chart I made has “black” lines, I always use a “red” pen to draw the Cable lines.
  • Explain as much as you can and be clear as to “what goes where”. Remember, someone else may need to “interpret” your notes or YOU may be wanting to recreate that Patch in the future. You might know exactly how all the knobs, buttons and cables are set but after working with hundreds of Patches and several other Synths, you’re going to want a simple layout and instructions on every Patch Chart.
  • Be consistent. Although you may only be dealing with 1 or 2 Patch Cables in the beginning, your Neutron may later become part of a larger system, maybe a Eurorack Modular. So, even though it’s easy to draw a straight line from the “LFO Out” to the “OSC1 In”, once you start dealing with 10, 20, 50 or more Patch Cables, you’ll end-up with random lines on your Patch Chart if you don’t think-through “where” those lines are going to be drawn.
  • One way to indicate that 2 Patch Cables cross each other, is to draw a rounded “wow”. See my examples below:

CableOverCable2

CableOverCable1

Neutron Patch – example

Neutron Blank Patch Chart

 

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Give Your Music Its Own Voice

Music has been a part of the Earth / 3D experience for a VERY long time. It could be said that “Nature” itself was the first “Orchestra”… the first playing of “sounds”, which, in turn, activated various Moods, Memories and Actions within the various Beings scattered around this amazing blue ball. Water droplets creating multi-textured Rhythms… The sonic variety of the Wind moving through the Leaves, Caves and other timbre-inspiring objects… all contribute to the character we’ve all come to know as Nature’s songs.

When “Humans” began creating Music, they mostly picked-up “Acoustic” or “Synthetic” instruments. Think about it… A non-electric guitar is an “Acoustic” instrument. An electronic Synthesizer is a “Synthetic” instrument. Wind moving through the Leaves of a Tree and Water bubbling in a Brook are “Organic” instruments.

As Music evolved, Humans continued to experiment with various Styles of Music and, for “me”, these boil-down to the following groupings (generally speaking):

  • Music that’s fun to Sing or Whistle to — “Melodic Music”
  • Music which makes your body want to move — “Dance Music”
  • Music which is fun to Perform — “Participation Music”
  • Music which engages your Logical mind — Baroque, Classical and some Contemporary Music
  • Music which was created simply by the idea of “look what “I” can do” — “Clever Music”
  • Music which is relaxing, soothing. Music which fills the ambient space around us with the comforting feeling of getting into that calm, restful feeling. — “Ambient Music”

As music-gear-technology evolved, Human Society has been gifted with some very powerful, very flexible Music-creation tools. These days, the simple Piano, Flute, Xylophone, Tuba, etc. can produce any type of sound. In fact, electronic Synthesizers can be Patched (setup) so they not only create “Music” without any Human interaction but that “Music” can also evolve (change) over Time AND it can have all the subtleties as though a “Human” were really “playing” it. However, this “ease of Music-creation at our fingertips”, means ANYONE can create interesting Music. Today, even the family dog can create a musical masterpiece.

…and this is where our world is today… over-saturated with “Music”.  Some “good”. Some “not so good”. Some of it is “bad”, but it makes it to the popular Listening Posts (radio, social media, etc.) Some of it is “absolutely great” but no one ever hears it.

In the “old days”, there were “Talent Scouts” — people who would travel the country looking for talented people — Singers, Actors, Musicians, etc. If someone was exceptional, that company would bring them in for an Audition. If they “had what it takes”, they were “usually” Signed to a Movie or Record company. If they “mostly” had what it takes, they may still be Signed but would be given some additional training, where they were lacking.

Today, however, the Music Industry is being crushed by the shear number of  “new Songs” they receive every day. According to the information at the link at the bottom of this article, Music-site “Spotify” adds over 20,000 Songs to its Site each day!!! Not “20”. Not” 200″… but TWENTY THOUSAND Songs!!! For a Musician or Song-Writer, this is very depressing. As you can see, even the major Record Producers have a difficult time getting their Artist’s Songs heard by the masses.

So how does the “little guy” compete? How does ANYONE get their Music into the right places, so it will be “heard” and then, maybe, “purchased”? Although I don’t have an answer for this, it’s always a good idea to “follow your Heart” because, if you’re in the Music business for the “money”, you may want to find another career. As you can see, even if you’re the next “Elvis” or “Adele”, today’s society is currently overwhelmed with Music.

FIND YOUR OWN VOICE

Being a Drummer and Synthesist, I do my best to look into new Music-Gear announcements, instrument techniques, etc. I’ve seen a lot of articles and videos on “how to create “that sound” in your favorite Song” or “how to play like your favorite Artist”, etc. At the same time, society tells us that the Musicians and Songs, which “get noticed” or even “go viral” are the ones that “find their own style”. So which is it?… Are we expected to sound like everyone else who came before us or are we supposed to follow our own Path?

When I was growing up, hearing those (now) old Rock Classics, I never thought:

  • “When I grow-up, I want to sound just like that.”

No. Instead, I thought:

  • “I’m going to have a Number One Song some day.” or
  • “I’m going to play in a successful Band some day.” or
  • “I’m going to be a Musician who’s so different, and creates such interesting Songs, that everyone will want to buy my Music.”

…but I never imagined that “copying” another Musician or their Songs would be my “goal”… my “pinnacle”. I always wanted to create my owns Songs… to tell the world “my” message. To make a statement.

MAKE YOUR POINT AND MOVE ON

So, if you ever get the opportunity of creating a piece of Music, please GIVE IT A VOICE… make it say something. Time and again, when Sylvia and I are in Public Areas we hear Music which is “sonically” (melodically and harmonically) un-interesting AND the Lyrics will usually repeat… for EVER. In our opinion, if your Guitar Lick or Piano improvisation repeats more than 4 times, you’re not being creative and you’ve lost the very short attention span of your Listeners… AND if your Lyrics repeat more then 4 times in a row, then you’ve lost your message — if your Song ever had one.

  • Let’s say you and your friends go to a restaurant you’ve never been to. You place your order and it turns out that the entire experience was WAY over the top. You now have a new “favorite meal” and can’t wait to get back there again. You can’t stop talking about it.
  • Let’s say you get a bonus at work and decide to go back to that restaurant for your “favorite meal” every day. By the end of the 10th day, your feeling about that Dish is: “Well, it’s ok.” (It’s no long SO GREAT that you can’t live without it.)

So, repeating an element of a Song is similar. Yes, you’re trying to make a point with your Lyrics or Performance but you don’t have to beat your Listeners over the head with an idea.

There’s a Saying:

  • “Less is more”

However, this isn’t telling you to use fewer words that are “different” from each other. It means select each word carefully and allow each to contribute to the overall listening experience — your message. Think of the Notes you select for your Composition and the Words you choose for your Lyrics as the ingredients of a very tasteful meal… too few “interesting Notes” and your Words won’t be supported by the Music. Too many repeated Words will sour the taste of that great Guitar or Piano solo we just heard.

LET THE MUSIC GUIDE YOU

I’m not saying you shouldn’t play “Cover Tunes”. Sometimes it can feel good to Perform a Song which was created by someone else. It can stir some good memories inside you or help you, as a Musician, make a little more money.

So what I’m saying is… listen to the Music. As you’re sculpting your Song, listen carefully to what “IT” wants and needs… and pay attention to your own Feelings and Memories, as your Song comes to life. Allow your Song to guide you. If you want to test this, the next time you create a Song, make two of them. With the first one, listen to the Song and let it influence which Words, Notes, Rhythms and Textures you sprinkle into it… and keep your Logical Mind out of it. With the 2nd Song, let your Logical / Clever Mind loose. When both Songs are finished, play them for your family and friends. Don’t tell them how you created them. You may even tell them “someone else” created them. Just to get their honest reactions.

Here’s the link to the Spotify statistics:

https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/spotify-statistics/

 

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