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August 30, 2018

Forever Mine - vox and strings (Mon, Wed, Thurs)

Got nothing done on the weekend due to family and other commitments. This is a good thing, because I have a bad habit of over-working and disappearing up my own butt about these things. Down time is essential! (Gotta keep reminding myself.)

Monday I focused on transcribing the melody - not something that comes easily to me - and arranging some funky string lines. Actually, not funky ones at all - nice flowing romantic ones.

Starting from the "band" keys arrangement, I deleted everything that was not in the violin and cello ranges, creating separate tracks for each. I started out just getting them playing the chords behind the guitar parts - lots of long, flowing notes with just a little dynamic via the velocity of the MIDI notes.

Next step was to add a little movement with some passing notes and runs between sections of the song. Additional dynamic flourishes added at this point. Then I wanted to put some "ear candy" (in posting this I have just learned that Ear Candy is the name of a country music duo in my hometown. How cool is that?) in the gaps between vocal lines. This proved tricky as I wasn't exactly sure where the vocal lines lay ...

So, melody transcription time! Painful process - I hate it - but it helps not only to place the notes more accurately in my head but also to find spots that could be more interesting (or that just plain need replacing). For some reason I chose a saxophone sound for the melody line ... dunno why, just did. Probably reminds me of the sound of my voice ...

I then recorded a placeholder lead vocal because the programmed melody doesn't show the phrasing and dynamic of how I sing the song. I felt like I needed that in there so I could make a suitable string line around it. Also pointed out places where the vocal could be more or less dynamic ... and other flaws (later ...). Stopped with a second draft of strings Monday arvo.


Worked on Tuesday and didn't do any more on Music. Spent Wednesday morning on family issues but got to flesh out more string things Wednesday arvo. I was pretty happy with the way it was shaping up. Played it to my wonderfu Suzie ... (hoping for validation and warm fuzzies) ...

Suzie thought this was lovely in general - but too strident in places. The highs were too high for a romantic song ... screechy and sticky-outy. She thought there were too many notes in places, which didn't suit the song.


This is, of course, one of my faults: once I start working on things, I over-work them. Try too hard, put too much in ... all that stuff. Time to take notes back out!

So, Wedneday night I removed selected chunks of high notes and settled some of the movements down - epecially in the early parts. I actually increased the dynamic at the end and made the flourishes more repetitive in the coda. Went to bed wracked with insecurity ...


This morning I played it to Suzie again and she loved it. Much better (shame about the vocal, which I pointed out was a placeholder). Only had the morning to work on it, so focused on the backing vocals. Arranged what I thought sounded like suitable harmonies in two places. Got one right, still hate the other one (which is the more important one). Will keep working on that.

I have had some idea for re-worked lyrics and a few changes to the melody to go with them. Tomorrow I'm off to the Maleny Music Festival for some great tunes ... maybe a chalk board or two ... jam on some changes to the lyrics (that usually happens between midnight and dawn). Will resume this exercise on Monday with a focus on new lyrics and vocals. Once that's done, it's mixing time!!

How would you approach this exercise? Any thoughts or suggestions? Tell us below ...

Posted by Huge at August 30, 2018 7:48 PM

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