018 Making My Own Music – Follow The Advice Of Your Heart

Making My Own Music

In this episode, I talked about and played a new age song that features my saxophone called Follow The Advice Of Your Heart that was inspired by a fortune cookie as per Composer Quest #6. I also played 8-Bit Frenzy, my submission for Disquiet Junto #99.

I started with 8-Bit Frenzy. I talked about the instructions. The new Xbox One has a 3-note sound when you start it up, which you can here in this blog post. We were to record a song with 8-bit flavor that started by playing and repeating those three notes.

I downloaded two Commodore 64 emulators from de la Mancha plugins, basic 64 and mini SID. I started with the pattern, and then went into a section on a C chord. I briefly go to A minor, and then back to C. I added some white noise drum sounds, and some sound effects to the end. I then played 8-Bit Frenzy.

Follow the advice of your heart - fortune cookie November 2013

Follow the advice of your heart – fortune cookie November 2013

I then talked about Composer Quest #6. Composer Quest is a great composition podcast hosted by Charlie McCarron, a composer from Minneapolis. His quest #6 was to have people compose songs based on the fortune they got from a fortune cookie. My fortune was “Follow the advice of your heart.”

I heard about a website called FocusAtWill.com that has you stream relaxing music while you work to get you keep your focus. It gave me the idea to write a relaxing chill-out type of song. This is my first song using the Omnisphere synthesizer. It has amazing patches. I demonstrated three that I particularly like (from the beginning of the alphabet!): Anaheim Fun Live, Choral Menagerie and Aerophonica. I have three different kinds of parts for Anaheim Fun Live, and simultaneously rock back and forth with sustained chords on the other two patches. These three patches make what I am calling my “first layer.”

I was originally thinking of composing a song with two versions, one with just one layer and a second with a second layer on top of it. This is similar to what Ben Prunty did on his FTL soundtrack. But, I changed my mind and decided to have all the layers in the same song. My second layer has a synthetic bass and acoustic drums. The third layer adds more bass and more drums but uses the same sounds.

I talked through the form of the song. The 8-measure sections are four measures of F maj7 and four measures of D min9.The first two times through is just the first layer. The next two times adds layer 2. The fifth time adds my sax solo. The seventh time adds layer 3.

On the ninth time, I changed the chords to Bb maj11#9 and D min9 as a change of pace. I also add a shaker and woodblock. On the eleventh time, the aux percussion stops and I go back to the original chords. I then fade out layer 3, then layer 2, then the saxophone (leaving just layer 1), then the whole song.

I then talked about mastering and how I mastered this song. I learned how to master from Joe Gilder and Graham Cochrane. The chain is gain, EQ, Compressor, Limiter, Metering. I needed a gain plugin and downloaded Blue Cat Audio’s Blue Cat’s Gain Suite. I am also using TT Dynamic Range Meter to see what my dynamic range is to make sure it is right for a master.

I then played Follow The Advice Of Your Heart.

I was able to write and complete this song in just one day last Friday. I want to complete more songs, and I made a personal goal to complete one song every week. If I can do that, I may try to release a podcast every week, but I will really try to release one at least every two weeks.

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

If you use LinkedIn, connect to me and endorse my skills (saxophone, songwriting, recording, mixing, and podcasting). You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

 

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8-Bit Frenzy (Disquiet0099-EthenGthenD) – by Tom Snively

This is my project for Disquiet Junto #99, video-game-inspired music starting with the notes E-G-D. I recorded this in November 2013.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer. The podcast episode about this song is episode 18.

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Follow The Advice Of Your Heart – by Tom Snively

Follow the advice of your heart - fortune cookie November 2013

Follow the advice of your heart – fortune cookie November 2013

This is a song inspired by a fortune cookie that said “Follow The Advice Of Your Heart.” It was composed for Charlie McCarron’s Composer Quest #6, Fortune Cookie Songwriting. I recorded this on November 29th, 2013.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer. The podcast episode about this song is episode 18.
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017 Making My Own Music – Disquiet Junto #97 and 98

Making My Own Music

In this episode, I talked about and played two projects that I completed for Marc Weidenbaum’s Disquiet Junto project. I completed #97, Page 99 Remix, and #98, Woven Audio Bio.

I’ve been listening to interviews and podcasts with composers, and I really like Composer Quest with Charlie McCarron. In episode 54 he interviewed Marc Weidenbaum from Disquiet.com. Marc has a weekly project called Disquiet Junto.

I played my composition for Disquiet Junto 97. I then read the rules/guidelines.  I used the book “The War of Art*” by Steven Pressfield. I explained about “resistance” and how the text says “resistance is a bully.”

I played the melody on my alto saxophone. I recorded in stereo with two microphones, and intentionally moved back and forth while playing. I added just a little of long (5 second) reverb on the sax. I added a flute that plays the notes for the word “resistance” in fast notes and a cello that plays the words for “bully” in slow notes. I then play my piece again.

I then played my composition for Disquiet Junto 98. I then read the rules/guidelines.  I used the phrase “I was born in [the Philadelphia suburbs] and I like… I recorded a 100-word essay on cheesesteaks, a 90-word essay on the Philadelphia Eagles, and an 80-word essay about how I like living in the Philadelphia suburbs. I overlapped the three recordings but panned then left, right and center so you can hear each better if you are paying attention to it. I added a melody called Fountain that I played in episode 2 underneath the text.

I am beefing up my personal website, tomsnively.com. I wrote an essay on Philly Cheesesteaks you can find over there.

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

If you use LinkedIn, connect to me and endorse my skills (saxophone, songwriting, recording, mixing, and podcasting). You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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Born in Philadelphia Suburbs (Disquiet0098-WovenAudioBio) – by Tom Snively

This is my project for Disquiet Junto #98, to overlap three short spoken word essays about myself. I recorded this in November 2013.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer. The podcast episode about this song is episode 17.

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The War Of Art (Disquiet0097-Page99remix) – by Tom Snively

This is my project for Disquiet Junto #97, to make music from page 99 of the book I am reading. I used “The War of Art*” by Steven Pressfield. I recorded this in November 2013.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer. The podcast episode about this song is episode 17.

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016 Making My Own Music – Tremble

Making My Own Music

In this episode, I talked about and played a song called “Tremble” that I composed and recorded in October 2013. It is my first “Trance” dance song.

When listening to trance music, I heard a great song called Symphonica by Daniel Kandi. It had a number of elements that I really liked, and I used it as a loose reference track on this song.

I used Reason 5 and took advantage of the “Blocks” songwriting feature. Tremble uses an A block for the A section that repeats six times, a B block for the B section that repeats three times, and a C block for the C section that repeats three times. I then play the B block 2 times and the A block one time. Each time a block repeats, I can choose which instruments to play and which instruments to mute, allowing me to have a lot of variation on my repeated sections.

I used automation to change some settings while the song was playing. For example, I lower the EQ treble on six tracks in the B section heading to the soft mid-song breakdown. I was able to figure out how to move those six tracks onto a second mixer. That mixer’s output goes to one track on the main mixer. I can then change the EQ on just that one track.

In the C section, I tried to have a melody come in without a strong beat to try to fool people about where the beat is. When the drums come back in the C section, you might be surprised where the first downbeat is if you were thinking about it wrong. I explain this in the podcast.

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

If you use LinkedIn, connect to me and endorse my skills (saxophone, songwriting, recording, mixing, and podcasting). You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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Tremble – by Tom Snively

This is a Trance dance song called “Tremble” that I composed and recorded in October 2013.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer. The podcast episode about this song is episode 16.

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015 Making My Own Music – Escape!

Making My Own Music

In this episode, I talked about and played a song called “Escape!” that I composed and recorded in September-October 2013. It is the kind of song that could be used in a video game.

I talked about an article I read a few months ago about making money with composing. They suggest video game music is the way to go. Danny Baranowsky has been much more successful composing video game music than he has with film scores. I decided to listen to his and other video game music.

One of my favorite video games songs by Danny Baranowsky is called Dr. Fetus’ Castle from the Super Meat Boy game. I used this song as a reference track and as a guide when composing my song. I did a similar thing last episode with Summer Strut where I used A Very Good Thing by Rick Braun as a guide.

Escape! is 145 beats per minute. The form is intro, A, B, C, D, E intro, A, B, C, D, E, intro (that fades). The repeating loop of music works in video games where the player may be in a section for many minutes. Each of the sections is 8 measures long, except the C section which is 11 measures long.

I got a copy of Reason Essentials from Propellerhead, which is the entry level version of the Reason software that a lot of instrumental dance music is written with. I was able to find decent sounding synthesizer sounds without having to modify them at all, but Reason Essentials and Reason really allows you to customize the sounds.

For this song, I entered notes into the sequencer with my mouse, instead of playing on a MIDI keyboard like I usually do. It went well this way, especially creating 16th note patterns that I would not have been able to play accurately on a keyboard with the latency associated with it. Almost all of the notes ended up 100% quantized (right on the quarter note, eighth note or sixteenth note) without timing variations, and all the notes have the same velocity (or loudness). At this point, I am OK with how it sounds.

I recorded the electric guitar in 6 tracks for the 6 chords (Cm Eb Fm Gm Ab Bb). I used a capo for each chord so I could play the same Em, E, Am or A open chords. As I have done previously, I have 2 recordings for the guitar, one on the left and one on the right which used different distortions.

I then played Escape!

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

If you use LinkedIn, connect to me and endorse my skills (saxophone, songwriting, recording, mixing, and podcasting). You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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Escape! – by Tom Snively

This is a song called “Escape!” that I composed and recorded in September-October 2013. It is the kind of song that could be used in a video game.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer. The podcast episode about this song is episode 15.

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