Anytime you want to use intervals based on perfect fifths, you’re multiplying and dividing by 3, but anytime you want to use intervals based on major thirds, you’re multiplying and dividing by 5. Starting from C, it’s possible to produce any note on the piano if you multiply or divide your frequencies by 3 enough times, but those notes won’t be in tune with the notes you’d get multiplying or dividing your frequencies by 5, because 3 and 5 don’t mutually divide evenly. This is not just an abstract mathematical issue. It’s the reason that it’s impossible to have a guitar be in tune with itself.
This vinyl-related project couldn’t be more different from the one above. Until recently, Jesu Berkeley was just a talented dad. Now, he’s an educator and community activist with a dream to provide a creative space for students and at-risk youth to learn about DJing, turntablism, and scratchology!
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He plays around with what I’m calling the bridge, by taking the material and chopping it up randomly to make what I can only call a “second bridge.” He even chops up these lyrics to put them in the outro, and again, not in an established sequence! The second half of the choruses are pretty cool, how he shoves three stanzas into two bars. I’ve probably written over 200 songs myself, and I can’t remember ever doing this. Study it, people. Try it on for size.
Mahea Lee is a classically trained pianist and composer who has a degree from a jazz school and leads an electro-pop band. Her greatest musical passion is lyrical songwriting, but she’s been known to write the occasional fugue. She graduated from Berklee College of Music, where she majored in Contemporary Writing and Production and minored in Music Theory. For more Mahea, check out Soundlfly’s course, The Improviser’s Toolkit.
Ideally, you’ll want musicians to show up, do their thing, and be ready to roll, so you can’t be what gets in their way. You’ll save time and get better performances from the musicians if you plan ahead of time and have things set up and ready to go before they arrive, not after.
Both the principle producer, Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, and the group have gone to great lengths to make sure no leaks are possible. Firstly, and courageously, they recorded everyone’s tracks to bpm-synced substitute beats (the performers hadn’t even heard the final beats until the record was mixed), deleted the source tracks and final mixes from all known hard-drives, and hid the album in a number of secure institutional locations around the world.
To find out just how important, I interviewed two experts: Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Lethbridge, Bryn Hughes, and PhD student at Queens University, Anja Cui. Both actively research music cognition, drawing from music theory and behavioral science as well as cognitive psychology, and as Cui puts it, “Basically how people listen to music and what happens when they’re listening to music.”
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“Thank you for what has been one of the best musical learning experiences I’ve ever had. With Ian as a mentor, I’ve grown beyond anything I thought possible in six weeks.
My intro-level music tech classes usually include a wide range of production and songwriting abilities. Some students have never used a computer for any creative purpose whatsoever, while others are already accomplished bedroom producers or DJs. I get tracks that are complete, polished works of art, and tracks that are in total shambles. So rather than try to compare these efforts to each other, I use a growth mindset.
Before you think about production or even buy a microphone, you must first create a plan for your episode structure. Will you have an intro and outro? Is there music? How are you licensing that music? Will there be segments or is it one long interview or monologue?
My playlists generally had a progression in them. It wasn’t just a random set of songs thrown together, but rather, a journey with songs that connected somehow. I knew that aspect was key for our tool, which ultimately meant we needed to codify the DJ part of my brain. A.I. was still in its early days, particularly for music, but we were confident we could pull it off. However, as we went down the rabbit hole, we came across a very big problem…
Sammy Hakim is an up-and-coming young songwriter based in New York City. In May, 2018 she graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Major in songwriting and a focus in music business. These days she spends most of her time in songwriting sessions with artists all over the country.