NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” is pure pop in all its youthful glory — this song brings me right back to my first celebrity crush, Lance Bass (yes, the gay one, just my luck). As soon as I hear this song, I laugh to myself and immediately do the dance from their music video.
In a song known for its supremely catchy guitar riff (what else is new?), this is Hamilton’s moment of rising up to say, “Hey, don’t forget about the bass… it’s flashy, too!” The high run works particularly well juxtaposed against the lower notes he’s played up to that point in that section (which is basically the same riff as in the verses). Specifically, the vamping on C, then dropping down to the open E and walking up chromatically to the fifth below it (G), makes the shooting up to the next octave C and climbing up to the E above it sound really great together.
Producers will use this technique when they have a double chorus in their hands. If the second half of that double chorus will also be the final chorus, it can be a challenge to keep the energy at peak level. And, of course, nobody wants the final chorus to be one that loses its impact or gets boring near the end.
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You know that we humans rely on each other. And I think this is especially true of the music community. DIY musicians, whether part-time or full-time, are generally a welcoming and helpful bunch of people. In my experience, they’re encouraging, motivating, and want to see you succeed. That’s why it’s a great idea to connect with them in Facebook groups or subReddits.
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The short answer is: I don’t. I grade for effort, in a very coarse-grained way. If the student completes the project, following all the guidelines and requirements, they get full credit, regardless of the quality of the resulting music. (My assignment guidelines are always technical in nature; I don’t put any restrictions on musical style.) If students don’t follow the guidelines and requirements, or hand the assignment in late, or obviously half-ass it, I deduct points accordingly. I don’t give any consideration to the music itself when grading because then I’d just be grading on how closely the student’s musical taste is to mine, which would be arbitrary and unfair.
The great thing about studying pop tunes is that they very rarely stray from a given key. They like to keep things rather diatonic. This means that with just a small bit of practice, you can start to recognize these chord progressions for yourself, even without your instrument in hand. We will go much deeper into our understanding of how these chords function in later articles, but for now let’s just get comfortable with what we get from “Sorry.”
A fifth in 12-TET is defined as seven semitones. Instead of multiplying your frequency by 3/2, you multiply by the 12th root of two seven times, which is about 1.498. That’s close, but not quite on the nose. Major thirds are worse in 12-TET. Instead of multiplying your frequency by 5/4, you multiply by the 12th root of two four times. That gives you 1.25992, which is not very close to 5/4 at all. Nevertheless, we as a civilization have collectively decided that we should just suck it up and live with everything sounding a little wrong. There are plenty of good reasons to!
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So I wanted to pluck out a bunch of very famous songs from between the ’60s and ’80s where these stalwart rhythm-section warriors were able to eek out a few moments of their own in the limelight — those fleeting moments where any listener can catch the bass filling an iota of space very cleverly, or otherwise blending particularly well with the vocal, lead guitar, or other instrument. We’ll also examine the melodic techniques used in each case.
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If you follow your own ear instead of the attempting to mimic the sound of your favorite guitarists, you’ll be on your way to creating a tone that’s unique to you that others are going to want to copy.
The word “hemiola” originates from the Greek words “hemi,” meaning half, and “holos,” meaning whole. In other words, one and a half. And so, a hemiola is a rhythmic pattern that uses a ratio of three to two, and the Greeks, ever concerned with ratios, noticed that three divided by two gives you one and a half, thus their description “hemiola.”
As they used to say on MTV, “Too much is never enough” — especially when it comes to the ways you can re-record and sell your music. Top-selling artists release multiple versions of both hits and deep cuts to present different versions of their songs and put a new spin on lesser-known tracks. You can remix a song and take the lyrics away, and release an instrumental version you could license to film or TV programs. Or how about stripping down your sound and releasing an acoustic, unplugged version?