Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday night beatlab

Project: Beat for a Comedic “Girl Conception” rap
The structure of the beat conceived last night in the midst of ridiculous insomnia.  Lyrics written months ago.  Started it on garage band earlier today.  Finishing it up tonight.  Everything made entirely and originally by me - no pre-made loops or any sorts or kind.  Just me, a keyboard, and garageband’s nifty feature of making piano notes sound like other instruments.
Here are some random thoughts as I finished it up tonight:
This melody I created makes me smile.  Not because I think it’s amazing...just the tone of it - it’s playful, kind of silly.  Makes want to snort out a giggle, too.  Perfect for a comedic rap.  Doubly, perfect for a comedic rap about a tween star...
Ahhh, I love the transition between the verses and the chorus.  The best things happen by fortunate accident.  Like at the end of the chorus - I have this sort of cymbal sound that gradually crescendos.  I put it there because as I was listening through, I took a sip of soda, and I could hear the fizz settling right at that part.  And it sounded good, so I knew I had to make it happen for real in the song.
I wish I had a decent microphone.  My vocals aren’t amazing, but it’s better than having this poor piano substitute.
It’s hard to play the keyboard with a keyboard.  My dang Mac has a bad case of sticky keys.  On the list of things I wish I had: a midi cable so I could connect my actual keyboard (you know, piano that uses electricity) to my laptop.  Luckily garageband lets me edit that mess of notes.
Back when I took piano lessons as a kid and then was in middle school band and even last year when I was taking piano lessons again did I ever really think I’d appreciate what it means to know what an eighth note is.  Tempo and how many notes in a measure and time signature and a bunch of other stuff that I know what it is, just not necessarily the right term for it - it was good to know, but never thought it would be necessary.  But as I’m creating beats - man, it’s very good to know.  That way, I don’t even need to be at my computer to create a rhythm.  I can make it in my head then transcribe it so that when I get to my computer, I know what I want without having to scour my brain to remember it.
Like, I wrote down last night in my insomnia how I wanted the breakdown to go.  And of course, being me, I didn’t remember it at all.  But all I had to do was look at the notes to re find the rhythm.  Music is awesome.
Making beats is like playing with legos.  It’s half knowing what you want to build and half improvisation.  If this was a tweet, I would’ve added “#fakepoignancy” to the end of that statement.
The ending is practically the most important part of anything - sometimes my whole perception of a movie is changed just by the way it ends.  So I assume the same goes with a song, too.  Fade out?  End abruptly?  Repeat the refrain over and over again?  Well, it’s a rap song, so I gotta leave the customary 15 or so seconds for asserting our identity in gangsta voices (“Dis yo’ girrrrrl!” “You know how we do!”)  So beat only?  Have the melody in there?  Should I change up the piano part a little?  Well, it’s a rough draft so I’ll just end it how I started it.  When it doubt - sandwich it!
Time to listen through the first draft!
hahaha The breakdown sounds like it’s being played by a marching band.  There aren’t even any horns in this arrangement.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  The beat is hip hop enough, so I might be able to get away with it.  Something to mull over when I come back to this.
The thing about doing this alone is that you’ve really gotta be confident in what you’re creating.  I have no second opinions readily available - just gotta go with my instinct, and I have to trust that instinct for the time being.  And sometimes I wonder if my attachment to a piece I’ve been working on overrides my ability to honestly critique it.  But you know what?  I think the most important thing is that you love what you made, regardless of what others may think.  I saw a quote like that.  Really - what’s the point of creating something, owning on to something, if you don’t love it?  And this right here - I love it.  And maybe I am delusional, but this tune is catchy as heck.  At least it has that going for it.
Okay, on to the next project:

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