Posts Tagged ‘MIDI drums’

Pond at Lindner Park, Norwood OH MSK

I hope you get a laugh from my latest song, “Tired”. It definitely has a ‘senior point of view’. I thought of naming it “Retired”, but this seemed to fit better.

I posted as a poem but once I put it to music and the song arrangement came together I had to make cuts and edits. I will post the new lyrics here for convenience.

        “Tired”                     © MSK 6-9-2019

I’ve been thinking all day of when I get you home
After everyone has gone we’re finally alone
Like a good dog I’m gonn’a give you a bone.

I’ve heard his mouth running all over town
Talking shit about me and calling me a clown
I’m headed over there now to put him down.

Hold that thought
‘Til I get back
I’m feeling rather tired
And it’s time for a nap.

Think I better
Slow it down.

Rewarded or punished for decisions we make
Climbing this mountain is a piece of cake
Just another day or so beyond the lake.

Hold that thought ‘til I get back
I’m feeling rather tired
And it’s time for a nap.

Dream what you remember
Remember what you dream.
After all these years
It’s almost the same thing

I bought three books and can’t wait to start
Two of them are very close to my heart.
I’ll read them all tonight, then put more in my cart.

I’ve been thinking all day of when I get you home
After everyone has gone we’re finally alone.
Like a good dog I’m gonn’a give you a bone.

Hold that thought ‘til I get back
I’m feeling rather tired and it’s time for a nap.
Hold that thought ‘til I get back
I’m feeling rather tired and it’s time for a nap.

With lyrics in hand, I mapped it out to a drum arrangement I already had. No other instruments….. While I fit the lyrics to the drum arrangement the melody immediately fell in my lap. It is backwards for me to have a melody first. Usually I write the melody listening to the chords. This is like reverse-engineering if you know what I mean!

This was not a simple fit, so the drums also had to be edited and changed for the rhythm of guitar and vocals. The drums are not finished and need a lot of work to smooth out grooves here and there, but it is solid enough to work with for now.

I don’t practice or play for hours a day anymore. I rarely play for more than is necessary to record my demo songs. It can take me a while to play the guitar (and keyboard) parts I need for new songs. Everything is slowing down after 65!

I played a Martin acoustic/electric guitar with no overdubs or additional guitar tracks. The bass guitar is added using my MIDI keyboard and a computer plug-in sample-player for a great sound. I added some playful vocal harmonies and that was it. Arrangement done, it will take me a couple weeks to clean up the tracks and do a mix. Or maybe a bit longer than usual now that I think about it!

I would like to share another half-baked instrumental piece with you. When you have written over 175 songs you have to try very hard to discover new things. Sometimes we audio engineers can get stuck in a rut too. We use dependable tools and procedures until we slowly lock ourselves into a production-line-song making-engine.

If you are a label, publisher etc., you will appreciate the cookie-cutter assembly line model. You would benefit from the homogeneous funnel that affects all the broadcast music we listen to today. As you can tell from my previous posts, I choose not to be main stream and often try the unusual or untested. But this is where I will stop whining about a music industry that only wants to back the mega mega stars of today. Our favorite musicians from the past would never get a break in today’s world. Long live rock and roll.

This song is in the chopping block stage. For fun, I noodle with varied instruments all the time. Most of it is nonsensical and I archive or delete it. Often there are really good gems in a sea of debris. On occasion, most of what I created sounds good and for some reason I like it. There are parts that work well and others that need to be enhanced or deleted. The software is capable but fairly easy to edit and “copy – Paste”. If you like or dislike a section, please let me know the min/sec in your comments.

This recording was a little unusual in the process side of things. I started with a metronome click track in my computer. I picked up my guitar (always in tune) and set up the computer (always ready to record) and – I am being literal here – found a chord on the guitar. Without regard for key or scale or root, I just kept trying different positions until I liked the sound and voicing of the chord. I started recording just that chord in various styles for a few minutes. Each chord clean and distinct. Then I would play a pattern or arpeggio with the same voicing. Then a few hard hits. Next I stopped recording, found another chord and repeated that process.

Once I had a number of guitar parts that I liked, I arranged them along a measured grid to create a single guitar track. I used chords for different segments of the song to create the chorus and bridges. Once the guitar was assembled I listened to the guitar and recorded MIDI bass guitar, piano and drums using the plug-ins in my software (Cakewalk/Sonar/Bandlab). The drums have a jazzy dynamic feel and I like the way some of this song fits together. I imagine watching for the sunset or sunrise over the hill on a chilly but beautiful day. That’s just me.

I have to fix a lot of things and it is not complete as I cautioned, but I hope you like it. BTW, I call it “134” because that is the tempo! I really have to work on my naming skills.

“Night” was written in 1980 by a good friend of mine. I have mentioned him before in earlier posts as TR. (Tom Robinson). This is a great song from the past. I loved playing this in our group or as a duo with TR. I love the rhythm and intro motif.

The subject of the lyrics are familiar to me. Driving at night. Getting away. Pondering life and eventual death in the dead of the night are right up my alley!

I recorded the guitar track and wrote the MIDI drum parts to fit the groove and the opening motif. Then I re-recorded the guitar and added bass guitar from computer modules. Then it was time to add vocals and do the mix. I hope you enjoy this gem.

“Night” (C) 1980 Tom Rominson

Night is a ride you just get in a car and go cruisin on. On past the light of the city lights to the cool dark air. Night is a plunge into twinkling depths that can still your mind. Washing your wounds in nature’s rain, her fountains everywhere.

So let the magic continue while you search for an answer within you. And see that swiftly you fly. ‘ ‘Cause we always knew you had to die sometime.

Taking a life is a crime and you know you’re the victim everyday. They gave you a name and a story, not they’re showing you the way. Day is a desert of calendar deadlines, your life an empty phrase. London Bridges falling down, and the rent you got to pay.

But they can’t poison your fantasy in this refuge from insanity. You’ll be here till you kill the lie. And we all know you’re gonna die sometime.

Night is a ride you just get in the car and go cruisin’ on. On past the light of the city lights to the cool dark air. Night is a plunge into twinkling depths that can still your mind. Washing your wounds in nature’s rain, her fountains everywhere.

And when the story is over you will sleep in fields of clover. But your dreams will keep the night-time sky. ‘Cause we always knew you had to die sometime.

“Night” by Tom Robinson