We briefly mentioned “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen earlier. Aside from the religious references, it was also originally a poem Cohen wrote and published before the song was ever recorded. Try writing a poem purely on pen and paper, without worrying about melody or rhythm at all. Once you’ve got a solid draft, try setting it to music. Ultimately, you might need to be inventive or make some changes to make everything flow nicely, but this can produce good results.

“The Middle”: Maybe that Drake one from before was just messing with my head, but I’m pretty sure this one is in Lydian, too. Either that, or again, there may be “multi-modal” possibilities here. The melody is definitely rocking the G major pentatonic, but on the other hand, the changes return to the C chord on the stronger beats all the time, so there’s that. And the fact that the song ends on a D chord (not G or C) doesn’t give us any tie-breakers. It’s almost like both the G and C tonics just “met” somewhere, like… in the…

“Sunflower”: Sneaking into the last week of Top 5s for 2018, we have a consummate “B-side” to the other Post Malone songs on this list, with a short and sweet form — except for the fact that each singer’s verses use different melodies and lengths. And since we’re talking about lengths, the loop here is eight bars long, not your usual four. This makes it easy to chop in half for the shorter second verse, as well as the shortened outro.

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Why do some songs tug on our heartstrings while others fall flat? Conveying moods and emotions is a key element of making great music, and doing it well requires a deep understanding of chords and harmony. It’s what allows modern music producers and songwriters to convey a sense of danger, triumph, or melancholy.

Thinking about what’s in it for the venue can also help you learn how to better sell your band in other marketing arenas. For example, if you’re angling to land a show opening for a bigger band touring through your town, the economy of that inquiry is pretty much in favor of the venue, the band, and their management. If you’re lucky and experiencing some real momentum, maybe you’ll get asked to join the bill, but otherwise, it’s important to know what cards you hold in your hand, and which to play.

Eventually, as digital audio formats became the preferred playback method, the primary function of mastering switched almost exclusively to the audio enhancement of the master output of the mix, often known as the “sweetening” step.

Modes and Key Signatures have a variety of different characteristics and are great for outside-the-box songwriting. Here’s a cheat sheet to remember them!

We look at Ligeti’s famous composition in order to decide how much, or how little, the use of music’s foundational parameters really matter in composing.

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One of the best things you can do as a working producer is to analyze music by the artists who inspire you. This will help you understand how they build their tracks, and develop their ideas for when you start working on how things are arranged and orchestrated.

All of our mentored online courses come with six weeks of 1-on-1 professional coaching and feedback on your work. It’s like having a personal trainer, but for music! Share your goals with us and we’ll find a course for you, or create a custom mentorship session with a pro musician, engineer, educator, or music industry veteran to help you achieve them. 

The Shure SM7b is a classic broadcast microphone. Used in radio stations all over the world, this large diaphragm dynamic microphone is known for its smooth, warm sound. With built-in tone controls, the SM7b lets you fine-tune the sound of your voice right at the source. An internal shock mount and pop filter prevent mechanical noise as well as plosives. And the built-in swivel mount makes finding the perfect mic placement a breeze.

Cyrus started the sexually (and psychedelically?) charged performance with her song “We Can’t Stop” and was joined onstage by Thicke to perform his song “Blurred Lines,” the video for which featured nude models walking around a studio. During this televised barrage of near-nude twerking and tongue-flashing, apparently a record-setting 306,000 tweets were being published every minute.

One of Martin’s most memorable musical moments happened while working on the score to the indie film Experimenter, composed by Bryan Senti. During the recording session, Marty was asked to re-voice and notate a section that involved a lot of string harmonics — one of the toughest things to notate, given all the math of matching which note works with which harmonic and which finger hovers where. Marty dove in head first and got it done, despite biting his nails the entire time — and in the process learned not to be afraid to put it all on the line for the music.