Alright, this one is another melody you’ve definitely heard before, whether you think you have or not. Francis Lai’s theme song to the film Love Story actually opens with two notes ascending a minor sixth, but if you skip ahead to 0:24, just after a short horn fanfare, those two notes reverse briefly before entering the meat of the run. Either way you play those two notes back, it’s a minor sixth interval, but train your ears to hear it as a descending melody to recognize the gap as such.
There are lots of reasons why tuning is hard. You might be hampered by a poorly made guitar, or by a guitar that’s not set up correctly, or by old, worn-out strings, or by changes in temperature or humidity, or just by a lack of patience or time. At least you can be secure in the knowledge that some of your tuning struggles are due to the basic unfairness of the universe, and not just the limitations of your ears or your equipment.
Similar to social media platforms, it’s easy to get fixated on increasing your total number of likes, followers, or views. While it’s always encouraging to see these numbers go up, the truth is that these are just vanity metrics — or, in other words, things you can measure that, while not completely meaningless, don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.
I tend to use a medium-to-fast release setting. I’ve heard a lot of famous mixers say they set the release with the tempo of the song. So they would watch the gain reduction needle and have it release on beat with the song. I try my best to use this method.
Like it or not, your visual presentation is an incredibly powerful tool in how your music comes across. If you play your cards right, you can use visual aids and style to develop from a random Tuesday night bar band into a national weekend headliner that people are excited to see. You can choose to subvert your audience’s expectations and keep them guessing, or play into them to create a well-established and expected result — either direction can suit your band as a tool to entertain. It’s up to you to decide and execute.
(If you find yourself lost in all the music theory below, check out our free series of courses, Theory for Producers, and catch up on the fundamentals, even if you can’t read sheet music!)
Perfection is objective, and the process of growing and learning is what makes life so beautiful. The world would be so boring if we didn’t need to grow, learn, or change. Don’t be afraid to make some mistakes sometimes.
Even though Zen is filled with useful technical tips, all that information is grounded within its proper context: great music and the emotions which fuel it. Based on the success of this volume, Mixerman went on to pen two more Zen volumes covering audio production, so don’t sleep on checking out the full set.
Grants for band instruments
“You can’t really beat them for that warm, saturated sound that you can only get from analogue tape. I picked up a digital version recently, an RE-3, and it’s nice for what it does but it doesn’t have the magic of the real ones. I like the crunchiness when you overload the tape and the spring reverb is really good… We’re always picking up interesting old analogue gear, but we’ve never found a tape echo that’s better than the Space Echo yet, so yes, I guess it is something of an icon.”
Jack White has always understood the importance of a strong color scheme. When The White Stripes were just starting out, Bobcat Records wanted to put out their first record but Jack White turned them down because they insisted on putting a neon green logo on the spine of their record. The White Stripes only used red, black, and white. This reflected their simple, but always effective, approach to rock music.
The Scottish duo of Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin known as Boards of Canada is one of the most influential production teams in electronic music history. The sounds they conjure from their synthesizers and samplers are nothing if not evocative: of half-remembered childhoods, warbly analog recording mediums, reality-bending psychedelic experiences, and so on.
The main chord progression of this tune features an A♭ major chord for two beats of the first measure, C minor for the last two beats of that first measure (falls on beat three), and B♭ major for an entire bar, repeating over and over and… over. Using the image above, you can now analyze this progression as IV major, VI minor, and V major.
“Dancing in the Street” is not a Bowie/Jagger original. It’s actually a cover of a song that was originally performed by Martha and the Vandellas and was written by Marvin Gaye. This version, however, is without a doubt the most famous modern rendition and representation of the old song. (Fun fact: It was also covered by Van Halen shortly before Bowie and Jagger did it.)