I love songwriting helper Apps. ProChords helps you find the next chord. I was using it last night and it definitely helped me make a progression I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. It’s a bit more than your standard App at $8.99 and keep in mind your still doing to have to work hard to create a song.
“ProChords is a hand held road map of chords from 9000 songs. So if you are working on a song Fx. “Am7, Em7, Am7, Em7″ and don’t know how to get out of the loop. Tab it into ProChords and you will instantly know 31 different ways to continue. It makes it fun to explore odd chord progressions and get inspiration for more original songwriting” – prochords.dk
For more info: prochords.dk
This entry was written by iPad, iPhone, song writing and tagged iOS, ProChords, songwriting. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
I love software that helps me create actual songs. Chord generators, lyric triggers and anything that can get me to a full arrangement quickly has my interest. I’ve been playing with an iOS app called SongSynth. Sitting on my couch I was able to knock out a few simple songs. I really like this app quite a lot and hope to see more apps like it. My only wish is MIDI export so I can bring my sketch into a pro-environment.
“At the heart of a pop song is a lyrical idea sung along to a collection of chords. SongSynth offers a unique, easy-to-use way of experimenting with chords, and a host of other features to help you write, store and record song ideas.” – atticsound.net/songsynth
For more info: atticsound.net/songsynth
This entry was written by iPad, iPhone, song writing and tagged chords, iOS, SongSynth, songwriting. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
I was reading an interesting article on Wikipedia about a long gone practice called “Song Sharking”. Essentially there were businesses who ran ads asking poets to send in their poems which would then be turned into songs by professional musicians. In 2003 PBS produced a documentary about Song Sharking called “Off the Charts”. To see a full preview: pbs.org/independentlens/offthecharts/ It’s also available on Amazon: click here I wonder what other old music business practices that have long been forgotten.
“The business of recording song poems was promoted through small display ads in popular magazines, comic books, tabloids, men’s adventure journals and similar publications with a headline reading (essentially) Send in Your Poems – Songwriters Make Thousands of Dollars – Free Evaluation. The term lyrics was avoided because it was assumed potential customers would not understand what the term meant. Those who sent their poetry to one of the production companies usually received notice by mail that their work was worthy of recording by professional musicians, along with a proposal to do so in exchange for a fee. The early 20th century versions of this business involved setting the words to music and printing up sheet music from inexpensively engraved plates.” – Wikipedia
Read the full entry: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_poem
This entry was written by song writing, video and tagged poem, Song Sharking, songwriting. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
Microsoft Songsmith is a PC only application that you sing into and then the software creates a full song behind your voice. It uses some neat algorthms, technology from PGMusic’s Band in a Box and sounds from Garritan. You most likely already know about Songsmith but I found a really interesting website/mashup you may find new. It’s call Robert Songmith and basically it’s a good looking website that is Songsmith + The Cure + You. I spend a nice while listen to other people’s creations last night. You can also follow Robert Songsmith on Twitter: twitter.com/robertsongsmith
Listen or create your own: robertsongsmith.com
This entry was written by song writing and tagged fun, Microsoft, Robert Songsmith, Songsmith, songwriting. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
I just got back from a live show I performed in Denver, Colorado. I played the second day of a three day EBM, PowerNoise, Goth type Festival. Some of the other acts included Hocico, Phyclon Nine, Rome and Terrorfakt. I’ve never been to Denver before and overall it was a good experience. Denver is called the mile high city because it’s exactly one mile higher than sea level. It has more sun than L.A. and the driving from the airport Denver looks like a desert with the giant Rocky Mountains off in the distance. The city’s old area looks a bit like a cowboy town mixed with a Long Island N.Y. strip mall.
I decided to go early to the club (The Bar Standard) and hear some music. I was a bit disappointed. The bands and DJs before I played were all competent. Songs had beginnings, middles and ends. The live shows had scarred keyboard stands in front of patent leathered heavily made up freaks. The showman ship was there. They bands ran back and forth in front of the audience and the audience yelled on command. So what was the problem? It was all derivative, watered down, copy cat music. Each song had some elements of a once great song. The message was, “We sound like…” instead of “We are…!”.
I know it’s not just the EBM/goth scene that is suffering from this phenomena. One could argue all art is going through a similar type of troubled these days. All I can plead is for artists to find their own real voice based on their own real life actions. Don’t try and be interesting. Be interesting and then afterward tell us about it. Those are the only stories, songs, paintings I want to hear!
For more info: www.myspace.com/vendettafestival
photo credit: quinn.anya
This entry was written by political, song writing and tagged Denver, songwriting, The Bar Standard. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
It’s 6:30AM and I just jumped a few feet out of bed. For some reason a few days a week vivid nightmares pry my eyes open. The dreams don’t bother me. In fact, I’m amazed how clear and wild they are. Last night’s dream started with a Depeche Mode concert and ended with giant scorpions making incredible screeching sounds attacking people. I know it sounds stupid but trust me it was real enough at 6:29AM.
The interesting part is for most of the dream Depeche Mode were singing new songs. Songs that only exist in that dream last night. With every waking moment they are fading quickly from my memory but I am sure I heard at least three full tunes. I remember the themes were about love and the usual DM musings. The songs were very good and I was excited to hear them. I guess since my own mind was creating them it knew how to make the songs exactly how I personally would like them. The tragedy is I can’t recreate any of what I remember.
Once every year or so I dream I am making my own songs. I create perfect pieces with lush melodies, incredible lyrics and spot on pitch. Maybe someday there will be dream catchers that save to SoundCloud or something. I’d even be happy with the screeching scorpion sounds. Until then sweet dreams…
Do you ever dream you are creating music?
photo credit: just.Luc
This entry was written by music, song writing and tagged Depeche Mode, dreams, songwriting. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
I always say melody trumps the sounds you choose and I use a variety of helper software to find nice melodies. Harmony Navigator has been my favorite non-mobile application for this task. On my iPhone I’ve been using Star Guitar (iTunes link) to generate ideas and today I found another useful tool Simple Songwriter (iTunes link) from Hopefully Useful Software. It’s a simple chord selector/player/recorder and if you’re making lyric based songs it’s sure to give you a few ideas.
“Beginners to advanced musicians can use this app to leave thinking behind and bring the fun back into creating music. All the chords given sound great together and most pop/rock songs will use a combination of these chords. The touchscreen gives you the perfect environment to quickly and easily generate song ideas. When you have a great song idea, record it for later practice on your chosen instrument. List view allows you to browse your songs chords, while the song key section can transpose your idea to any key instantly.” – hopefullyuseful.com
For more info: www.hopefullyuseful.com
Related post: Harmony Navigator Screencast from wire to the ear.
This entry was written by iPhone, song writing and tagged chords, Harmony Navigator, iPhone, Simple Songwriter, songwriting, Star Guitar. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
I’ve learned almost every life lesson the hard way. The “hard way” usual means you don’t listen to what anyone tells you and therefore you experience life’s pains first hand. I do admit when I am wrong and today I’ll make a minor confession. Basically, I thought if I took a full time job I would make music just as easily and with the same fluency and frequency. So yeah I was pretty much wrong.
However, it’s not actually time management that’s the issue. It’s more that well, I love my new day job! It seems after almost 40 years on this planet the left (analytical) side of my brain grew as large as my right brain (creative side). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been freaking out waiting to get dirty with Ableton Live 8 but I’m finding organizing my audits also tantalizing. My official job title is “Field Energy Auditor”. I enter commercial buildings in a certain section of Manhattan that ConEd is having problems delivering power to. I help stores and buildings reduce their current demand by recommending various conservation (lighting retrofits, new HVAC systems, etc..) and generation (solar, geo-thermal, hydro, wind) methods. Often I meet with building managers and companies with more money than the entire music industry (just sitting in the top drawer of their desks!). You would be amazed how open they are to the green revolution. Then again, they save tons of money by implementing the plans we offer. Did you know an underwater turbine now sits in the east river and powers a Gristedes supermarket? Amazing.
I wanted to post this to put my feelings on the record. It should be interesting in a year or two to read this again (for me anyway). So to those of you who work full time how does your music making life fit in? Whenever you get the urge? Weekends only? What’s your stradgey? One thing I am sure of is I put 20+ years into the music business, learning the craft of song-writing and I am finally good at it… so expect many more albums to come. The best thing is I can afford more toys with keys and knobs on them! Here’s where I work: Energy Management Solutions
photo: They found my secret life as The Horrorist.
What comes up #1 when you type “songwriting” into Google? A website called Easy Song Writing. My initial thought when looking at the site was that it was beginners drivel. However, it’s always the simplest reminders of the writing experience that gets me to shut the browser and open the sequencer. I really crave making music. I can’t go more than a week without writing something. A loop usually won’t feed my addiction. I’m happiest when I can shoot out a beginning, middle and end. Anyway, I thought I’d mention Easy Song Writing because some of the articles got me in the mood. Here’s an example of a few of the articles they have online:
Learn the very basics of writing a song. click here
21 tips to avoid the pitfalls that could stop your song from reaching the top 10. click here
This is how one songwriter writes his songs. click here
Do you know how to write a catchy melody? click here
Somewhat interesting (or not?) is the fact this site is from South Africa and they sell something although I can’t quite figure out what it is. Time to hit some keys…
photo credit: quinn.anya
Related post: 10 ways to get back on track in the recording studio.
Star Guitar is a guitar chord playing app for the iPhone. It’s from Amido, Inc who already brought us Noise.io. As you can see from the video you simply click around the iPhone’s screen and Star Guitar will strum chords. You have 144 chords to choose from. Here’s the kicker… Star Guitar records your chord selections and your voice as you sing along. Think about that for a minute. Ok done? Now go buy Star Guitar, grab some headphones and go into your car. Drive to some empty parking lot. Load up Star Guitar hit record and sing along while you pick some chords. Now granted if your a guitar player this is probably all useless but for myself I had a blast doing that whole car thing this morning. I came up with at least two songs I’m going to flesh out. Everything you record can be brought back into your computer. There is one important feature request I would like to make. I want to be able to export the guitar and vocals separately. This is really a necessary option to grab bits of a great vocal take and apply processing to them.
“The unique concept of Star Guitar delivers an astonishing 144 chords at one screen. There are 7 root notes, every note has 5 chord modifiers. With such range, almost any song can be played. Turn a modifier on/off by tapping it. It’s really very simple. There are two modes for strumming chords: manual (with “SmartStrumming” technology for added realism) and automatic. Automatic mode is the “virtual guitarist”, with 18+ rhythm patterns to be picked from, each pattern has A and B variations (for chorus and verse). But that’s not all! You can export your recordings to .WAV / .CAF and bring them to your desktop computer via the built-in server over wi-fi.” – amidio.com
We are now well into music apps with AI such as Songsmith, Harmony Navigator and SongFrame. If you add in helper and inspiration tools like Masterwriter and a C-Thru Axis keyboard writers block could be a thing of the past. Just remember to live life because your going to still need “something” interesting to say!
If guitar isn’t your forte for inspiration it’s ok because Star Piano is in the works. For more info: http://amidio.com/starguitar
Related post: Miro Pajic plays Jam Sessions in my studio.
This entry was written by iPhone, song writing and tagged Amido, guitar, iPhone, Noise.io, songwriting, Star Guitar, Star Piano. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.