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> Amitai's Composition Workouts, for Gab's Army
Gabriel Leopardi
post May 1 2014, 03:42 PM
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Hello Amitai! This is our thread for working on Composition, Recording and Mixing in order to improve your songs in every aspect. The idea is that this thread keeps flowing in a creative way so feel free to post music that you like, stories that happens to you, photos or whatever you feel can gives us inspiration.

You told me that this is your current set up: Cubase as a DAW, EZDrummer for drums, Trillian for Bass and GuitarRig5.

Could you please post some ideas that you recorded here and tell me what things you think your music is lacking? I would also like to know a bit about your favorite composers and music styles.



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Amitai Kedmi
post May 2 2014, 01:51 AM
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Hey Gabriel!

This is my latest tune.
https://soundcloud.com/amitaik/moonstruck-6

A few aspects that I think this bit lacks -

* A good connection between the different parts. Not just the ideas and the riffs, I'm also referring to the connection itself,
it doesn't sound as good as I'd like. And I guess build ups are a part of this.

*The line that is played in the verse. I think it can be developed further.

*The playing and all of the parts could be a lot tighter and clear.

*Emotion. I think that stuff I record are a bit "dry" (I hope you understand what I mean). I wish they could be more moving.

*Other instruments development. They are simple. Maybe it's a good thing in this tune specifically, maybe not. But in general I would
like to write more complex parts for instruments, so I can give the tune some depth.

That's what I can think of on the top of my head.


As for music - it's a tough one, but I'll post here a few songs that I enjoyed recently.









And have to put another one of Guthrie's here, this tune is so moving! Very inspiring.


Thanks smile.gif



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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 2 2014, 08:26 PM
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This is very interesting mate. I like the music that you shared here as reference of your musical taste. It's very varied and deep. I think that connecting parts is something that becomes more difficult when there isn't a real band there helping us. We have to learn how to arrange drums and other instruments to make changes smoother. Be sure that this would be easier with a real drummer and bass player. However, there are other problems that appear when you work with real drummer and bassist so it's is neither the only/easier solution.
I think that it's cool to be able to adapt and work in both scenarios and even using virtual world as a practice to real world. smile.gif

There are many aspects that you can work to improve your composition abilities, as well as when we talk about arranging, recording and mixing. These are endless topics and you have to be patient and now that each little step is so important.

The first things that we should focus are:

- Song's Analysis: In this topic we will analyze deeply a lot of music that you like (and maybe that you don't, there is always something to learn from a good song or composer). We have to analyze structure, chord progressions, arrangement, lead melodies, bass lines, drum grooves and feels. I think that it would be cool to record covers of some of the lessons that you like, but not just the guitar, writing in midi drums, bass and other instruments to understand how they were build and how they fit together.
In this topic you should create your own versions of the songs, and write down in a notepad the concepts behind each compositions, the interesting things happening and everything you think is relevant.

- Theory: Learning theory is not fundamental but it always opens our mind. If you use it wisely, theory should be more inspiration to our spirit. There are scales or sound that we would imagine if we wouldn't learn all the modes or weird scales, and this sound can inspire us to create new ones.

- Life: This video explains this topic perfectly:



- Ideas: It's fundamental to keep on recording your ideas, trying to continue them, to connect them. I always have my cellphone ready to record each idea that appears wherever I am. I organize this ideas in folders in my computer for working on them later. This topic is the real work, it's what we are looking for. It requires practice and it will gain a lot from the other topics that I listed (analysis, theory, recording and mixing)

- Recording and Mixing: This topic is more related to technique but I think that this can be also worked in a creative way. You can add a lot of your personality to your mixes and recording once you learn the basics.


Please tell me your thoughts about this. smile.gif


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Amitai Kedmi
post May 3 2014, 09:58 AM
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Hey Gabriel!

It makes sense. I watched Victor's video a few weeks ago. I like his playing very much, and I absolutely love his approach!
What he says sounds like the ideal approach to creating and playing music. I think that theory and technique comes together,
and they work as tools that you can use to fully express yourself. Sometimes they are given more attention than they actually require,
and sometime less than that. I think that my life as a guitarist/musician is about finding the balance between the different aspects of
playing and creating.

I will mention here what I wrote you in the PM. My father's birthday is in a month. He began playing the drums a few months ago.
I admire him for his dedication and love for playing, that he developed since he started playing. I thought it would be amazing
if I could make him a couple of drumless tracks, that he can play over. And if I can do it here with your guidance I think it can be
a success. I thought of making the tracks in very different genres.

My idea is to do this project in your way of teaching. Something like this-
*We decide on a specific genre, and you give me a certain song to analyse and rebuild it's different parts.
*After I'm familiar with the song, and have made some sort of draft with it's different parts, I can start to make them mine.
Like we did with the Steve Lukather lesson.
*After I have a general idea, we can begin to develop the ideas.
*Then, I can start mixing/recording everything to make it good enough.
I'm aiming for a few different tracks, with at least 3 different parts in each one.

What do you think of that? Is it doable? It doesn't need to be perfect just good enough to play over and enjoy.

Thanks! smile.gif
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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 3 2014, 05:49 PM
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Hi Amitai, this sounds very good to me. I like the fact that our workout has a clear goal to be achieved. The first thing that I would like to know is your father's musical taste. We should work on stuff that he loves.


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Amitai Kedmi
post May 3 2014, 07:22 PM
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I want to make it as diverse as I can so he'll have very different tracks to play over.
He likes mainstream pop/rock very much, but he also likes jazz and fusion. I think that a good fusion track will be
very complicated for me and for him, so I thought of making a funk one instead.
Anything that you'll suggest in these genres will be good, it will be a reference anyways. I need something specific to
have a solid idea for different instruments.

Thanks!
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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 3 2014, 08:07 PM
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Ok, let's start with a rock track. Here are some tracks that we could analyze and then base the composition. Choose the one/s that you prefer. I think that there is some connections between them so you can take concepts from different ones.









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Amitai Kedmi
post May 4 2014, 02:30 PM
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I think that Dani California would be a good choice. First I think my father will like it.
And second, I like the idea of a strong and solid bass line throughout the whole song. It will make life easier
when playing the drums over the track. Show me how to live is also very fun, and I like the concept of the
"quiet" verse/energetic chorus, I mean, it feels like holding your breath, lots of tension building up, and then
letting it all out.

So how should I address the song analyzing and basing the composition?

Thanks!
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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 5 2014, 05:22 AM
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Great! let's do a first written analysis with both songs: "Dani California" & "Show me how to live".

This is a template that I use for analyzing songs:


Song name:
Band name:

Music Style:

Tempo:
Key:

Structure - What's happening - Theory (Scales & Chord progression)


You divide the song and analyze each structure part (intro, verse, chorus). What's happening? is the column where you have to describe how it's arranged, what instruments are played, what they play, how, the sound, everything you think is relevant. In theory you write the scale used in that part and the chord progression.

Does it make sense?


This post has been edited by Gabriel Leopardi: May 5 2014, 05:25 AM


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Amitai Kedmi
post May 6 2014, 08:44 PM
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Have "Dani California" analyzed.

Song: Dani California.
Band: Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Tempo: 96 BPM.
Key: C Major for the most part. It changes to D Major on the 3rd verse.

Structure
intro(drums)/verse/verse 2/chorus/verse 3/verse 2/chorus/verse 4/verse 2/chorus x2/solo/outro.

What's Happening
Broken into different instruments -
Guitars: There's 2 guitars playing. The Rhythm guitar keeps playing the chord progression throughout the whole song. A very clean sound
when playing the verse, and a more distorted tone when playing the chorus (Also, the verse is played with full chords, and the chorus
is played with power chords). The second guitar plays fills throughout the song, and I guess that the solo as well. Also a clean tone,
but with wah that is used in the solo and in some other parts.
Bass: The bassline is what attracted me to this song. Besides the fact that it's continuously playing, it's more complex and not just playing
the notes of each chords that is played. There's the basic first part of the bassline which is -
---------------------------7--
------7-------5-3-----------
---------------------5-5-----
--5-5 --3-3-----------------
And after that there's a couple of different ways the bassline is finished.
I think that the Bass in this song is a great support for the drums, and I'd like to keep that element in the drumless backing track.
Drums: Mostly played in 1/8 (with some fills which I assume are played 1/16). Hi-Hat hits are 1/8 with one quieter and one louder.
There are a lot of changes in the Bass/Snare dynamics. A lot of Bassdrum fills too. The most noticeable change in the drums part
is in the chorus - switching from 1/8 Hi-Hat hits to 1/4 Crash hits, which gives it the constant SCH sound through the whole chorus,
also gives the chorus power. The fills are mostly played with a Snare/Bass combination or just over the Snare.

Theory
Chords Progression -
Verse: |Am|G|Dm|Am|
Verse 2: |Am|G|Dm|Dm|
Verse 3: |Bm|G|F#m|F#m|
Chorus: |F|C|Dm|

The solo is played over the A Minor (Aeolian) scale.
There is a key change in the 3rd verse from C Major to D Major, but it comes right back when the verse is over.



I also began "Show Me How to Live", but it's harder since it's not as straight forward as "Dani California".
I might edit here later with the song analyzed, but I'm having more trouble with it.

Anyways, should I begin writing the different parts of "Dani California" on Cubase?
There's 20 days to my father's birthday and I'd love to have at least 1 track ready.

Thanks! smile.gif

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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 7 2014, 02:35 PM
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Excellent analysis Amitai! I hope that this helps you to understand the main concepts behind this song. Now that you have all this info written down, you can see easily how it was build and with some work, you would be able to create a tune of your own directly connected to this one.

QUOTE (Amitai Kedmi @ May 6 2014, 04:44 PM) *
I also began "Show Me How to Live", but it's harder since it's not as straight forward as "Dani California".
I might edit here later with the song analyzed, but I'm having more trouble with it.

Anyways, should I begin writing the different parts of "Dani California" on Cubase?
There's 20 days to my father's birthday and I'd love to have at least 1 track ready.

Thanks! smile.gif



As we don't have too much time I was thinking that maybe you can take today and tomorrow to write down "Show me how to live" analysis and then start the first song combined concepts from the two songs analyzed. What do you think?


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Amitai Kedmi
post May 8 2014, 11:44 AM
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Song: Show Me How to Live.
Band: Audioslave.

Tempo: 90BPM.
Key: E Minor with a swift change to E Major.

Structure
intro/verse x4/chorus/verse/chorus/solo/intro part again/chorus/outro/

What's Happening (And chord progression)

The general feeling of the intro is expectation - building up excitement. There are noticeable
changes throughout the song, which is tension and release. The different instruments parts are played very tightly in the verse,
building tension. Then comes the chorus, Chris Cornell screams, the guitar isn't palm muted and the drums are played like drums are usually played in a chorus.
But when the song comes back to the verse, it very suddenly is tensed and tight again. These sudden changes are what made me
choose this song, and what I love the most about it.
Another thing is the key change, that can be noticed only by the vocal lines. In the second intro part, (power chords D and E) the
vocal lines are sang in E Major, but all the instruments are played the same way exactly.

Guitar- The guitar tone is the same throughout the whole song, the only difference is palm muted and not. Tuned Drop D.
The solo is very simple, just picking the high E string and lots of effects. The intro is played with 2 power chords, D and E.
The first time the verse comes in it's not palm muted, but played the same way it's played the entire song. The verse riff and
chorus are classic Tom Morello, meaning, they are built around the pentatonic/minor scale (E in this case). I think that besides the fact
that the riff is different between the verse and chorus, the thing that gives it a different feeling is the palm muting and not palm muting.

Bass- The bass plays the same riff as the guitar does, both in the verse and chorus. The only difference is that the guitar plays
power chords in the riff and the Bass plays the power chord notes. The place in which the bassline is more noticeable is in the solo part.
The bassline is different there, giving contrast to highlight the solo.

Drums- Mostly rock 1/8 beats. Crash comes in every 1/4 in the chorus to give it power. Build up drum roll in the 2nd intro part.

Theory
Nothing fancy. Riffs are played in E pentatonic/minor scale.
In the 2nd intro part vocals are sang in E Major.
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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 8 2014, 03:30 PM
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Excellent analysis man! We have many interesting concepts used here and as you can see, the overall is simple. The main thing here is good taste. The elements are few but work perfect, the groove and impact are everything.

It's time to work on something applying this concepts. The first thing that you will do is to decide:

Tempo
Key
Structure

Then, decide the main drum groove, which can be one of the used in the songs or a new one based on them. Once you decide it, write in with midi in Reaper and share an audio here.







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Amitai Kedmi
post May 11 2014, 12:45 AM
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Hey Gabriel!

Tempo - 90BPM
Key - E Minor

Structure
intro/versex2/verse 2 x2/chorus/verse/chorus x2/verse/solo/outro

I usually write the drums after I have the chord progression/specific riff, but I understand it's important here since
the track is for my father to play drums over, so it should be built around them. I never really think about the drums
much and I just lay out what sounds good to me. But I listened to the drums played on both of the songs, and wrote
something simple, 1/8 beat.

https://soundcloud.com/amitaik/gabriel-drums

Thanks! smile.gif

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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 11 2014, 10:33 PM
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This sounds great mate. It's time to start with working on the different parts. You have to define the chord progressions for each section and then start working on dynamics for each part. We didn't analyze that but you can get back to the songs and see how the drum is arranged differently for intro, verse and chorus. How they use cymbals, hi-hat and ride to give the parts a different feel. The same happens with guitars and arrangements.

You can start from the intro, or maybe from the chorus, it's not important, start jamming with some chords and rhythms over the drum loop until something cool appears. Feel free to record and post here different possibilities.


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Amitai Kedmi
post May 12 2014, 09:18 PM
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Hey Gabriel.

I came up with something and recorded it. There's also an intro but I didn't pay much attention to it.
I like the riff, it sounds like a combination of the two songs. I'm having 2 problems with it at the moment.
1. The palm muted part maybe needs to be adjusted a bit.
2. The tone. But maybe it's not the time to worry about that yet.
https://soundcloud.com/amitaik/54-to-55-1

Would like your input before I go on. But I already like it, and it's obvious that the song analysis is paying off.

Thanks! smile.gif
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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 13 2014, 12:59 AM
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Hey mate! This is much better than I could imagine! You took the concepts from the analysis and made them of you own. This is exactly what we have been talking about the last weeks at Vchats, but this time applied to full songs. You are doing a killer work with this track man.

It's true that there is some adjustment to be done, but don't worry, those are adjustments that can be done once you have the whole structure. You need to resolve the connection between verse and chorus... I have an idea.. what about trying the first seconds of the song there, that nice melody, just as the connector... I'm not sure if it will work but I would try something like that.

Keep on working on the following parts, don't worry about arrangements and overall playing.

Congratulations!! smile.gif


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Amitai Kedmi
post May 13 2014, 08:52 PM
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Thanks Gabriel!

I added some parts, maybe for the chorus. Tell me what you think.
https://soundcloud.com/amitaik/54-to-55-2
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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 14 2014, 04:55 PM
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Hi friend! this is turning great! Here we go with some suggestions:

- Let's quit by now the intro that goes from 00:48 to 00:53.
- Let's put there the section from 00:54 to 01:04 twice and this would be the chorus.
- The section that goes from 1:04 to the end could be the solo section that appears after the second chorus...

Try these ideas and see what other things appear once you give this a bigger form.

This is becoming a killer track!


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Amitai Kedmi
post May 16 2014, 02:15 AM
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Hey Gabriel smile.gif

Made some changes per your suggestions.
Don't mind the solo it's just there to make the structure clearer.
https://soundcloud.com/amitaik/54-to-55-3

Thanks!
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