This idea has changed my life as a part-time musician (I’m not exaggerating): Do one thing today that will move your career forward, even the least little bit. Don’t think of all the things you want to be doing — all the things that could boost your career. Just think of one of those things. Then do it.
Here are a few tips for upping your practicing game every day. But getting ready for a recording session requires doing things a little differently, so here are a few quick tips for how to make the most of your time in the studio:
In 12-TET, you don’t define your intervals by tidy ratios of whole numbers. Instead, you divide up the octave into twelve equally-sized semitones (the interval between two adjacent piano keys or guitar frets). You then add semitones together to make all the other intervals. To go up a semitone from any note, you multiply its frequency by the 12th root of two. To go down a semitone from any note, you divide its frequency by the 12th root of two. If you go up by an octave (12 semitones), you’re multiplying your frequency by the 12th root of two 12 times, which works out to two.
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Take a hymn or other traditional melody you’re familiar with, and try writing lyrics to fit the existing phrase. If you know it well, you’ll be able to try different ideas without needing any music playing in the background. This is a great method if you do your best thinking in the shower or while walking, for example.
So let’s do it. Let’s make a tuning system out of the harmonics of the C string. First, we should find the C, G, and E whose frequencies are as close to each other as possible. We’ve already got C at 1 Hz. We can bring our G at 3 Hz down an octave by dividing its frequency in half. This gives us a G at 3/2 Hz. We can also bring our E at 5 Hz down two octaves by dividing its frequency in half twice. This gives us an E at 5/4 Hz. When you play 1 Hz, 5/4 Hz and 3/2 Hz at the same time, you get a lovely sound called a C major triad. Cool!
For example, if you are a solo performer singing along to tracks and all you bring on stage is your phone or iPod, you’re focusing all the attention on yourself as a performer. If you choreograph dance moves, or play into this isolated, “artist in the spotlight” vibe, perfect. But if you’re only doing this because you haven’t yet figured out how to play this music live, it’s a mistake to get up there in the first place. People look at that stuff, believe me.
Learn about underwater acoustics and how sounds travel in different directions and across far distances via a marine audio highway called the SOFAR Channel.
A common idea using this scale position is to bend the major 6th up to the flat seven. This gives further flexibility and is a favorite of many players in the fusion, soul, and blues genres. In this lick, we end on the 6th. Ending on the 6th can be especially useful in blues, because the 6th also functions as the major 3rd of the IV chord.
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Think outside the box and let your songwriting generate a bit of extra side money! Here are some potential revenue sources you may not have thought of yet.
The slightest variation in a drum pattern or bass pattern can open the song up and take it in a new direction. The changes you make to your elements should be very minor so that the integrity of the original loop is still in place.
And then there’s Björk’s 2011 concept album Biophilia. By all accounts, this is one heck of a gesamtkunstwerk! The album was conceived and recorded between 2008-2011, inspired somewhat by the work of her environmental organization, the Náttúra Foundation, and explores the links between nature, technology and music. The album was also released on ten interactive mutimedia apps (one per song) that link the themes of the album to concepts in musicology.
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Yet, just because somebody with deep pockets purchases something for an exorbitant price, doesn’t guarantee that it will be widely-accepted as a work of art. There have been numerous forays into “fine art” for pop musicians as of late, some of which, in hindsight, were nothing more than marketing stunts to sell more mass-produced album copies.