Audio Music

Just For a Moment

Just For a Moment by spickeringlr

Audio Music


Senhorita by spickeringlr

Audio Music

New Rough Song Demo: “It’s Over Now”

So, for the first time in a while a tune struck me out of the blue. I’ve been in straight poetry writing mode the last month or so, so I decided to apply the lyrics from one of those recent poems to this tune. I was surprised that it worked out so well. I think its because in the past I’ve been applying tunes (or trying) to five foot iambic lines which just doesn’t work. And this poem was based on two foot lines. I think the basic measure of songs is four feet, which makes sense. Everything in Western Music is based usually on 4s, 4/4 time is probably 99% of all Western songs. So the two feet lines of this poem probably just joined together to make a four foot rhythm that worked with the 4/4 time.

This is from the poem “I Know the Lake” I wrote last week. I just kind of hurried that title. I’ve changed the song title to “It’s Over Now.” Chorus lyrics seem to work better as titles. I think I’ll change that first line from “I know the lake” to “I know it’s late.”

“I Know the Lake”
I know the lake.
There’s nothing more.
What is at stake
Is behind the door.
Up in the sky
Your hair flew wild.
Your sunglassed eyes
They hid the child.
I thought you said
To meet down there.
We’d find the bed
Without a care.
It’s over now.
It died somehow.

©2010 Stephen Pickering

For the song I need to write another verse extra from the poem which is written in 14 line sonnet form. But I notice the song structure needs to change. The chorus needs to come in sooner anyway, so writing another stanza will make a nice two verse two chorus structure without having to repeat the first verse all over again. These lines just popped out of my head:

Remember when
The water fell
We jumped right in
And didn’t tell.

Audio Music

Download One of My Songs “The Darkest Hour Comes”

“The Darkest Hour Comes”

(Right Click This Link and Hit ‘Save As’ to Download this .MP3 if you would like it for your own iPod. Or if you would simply like to play the file on the iPhone or iPad Simply Click the Link.)

You know, I always put my iPod on “Shuffle.” I have around 1700 songs on there and I just like the sense of being surprised by what is coming next. Also it keeps things from being forgotten and somehow the juxtaposition of completely different styles of music creates some kind of spark in me, turns me on more. I look back on the days of listening to the same album over and over again as sort of a rusted, dated, “Provincial” type attitude, as it were.

There’s also another benefit for me. Since my own songs are on there, every once in a while, I get to unexpectedly see how my songs and music, fit in or “hold their own” against the “legitimized” tracks in my library. And to my surprise, and usually when I’m at a point where I am sort of “down” on the quality of my own work, I get this strange sense of feeling my own work objectively, as if it were someone else’s. It seems a trick the brain plays when the setting is on shuffle. And its a pleasant one. And more often than not I end up actually enjoying my own work as much as the preceding and ante-ceding tracks that have qued up. It’s a weird sort of exhilarating feeling of seeing myself as someone else, and liking that someone.

I was playing golf the yesterday evening. And in the middle of the shuffle play list one of my songs came up, “The Darkest Hour Comes.” It’s a song I did a year or so ago. I’ve posted it on this blog before. I can’t remember which songs it came in the context of, but I remember I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it and the quality of the recording within the context of the “professional” cuts that surrounded it.

Audio Music

Thoughts on Music, Social Media, and a New Song, “The Night Was You”

Man, I hate producing, even with the beautiful, large screen Apple Garageband interface. I hate editing. I want to do everything in one take. And plus, even if I were a good producer, it’s frustrating separating your brain from creating to objectively producing. Producing is an art in itself. You almost need someone else, even if they weren’t the greatest producer in the world, to take the material you’ve recorded and objectively put it together.

I have so many songs. But it seems it takes me weeks to produce just one. Oh well, whine, whine, whine! I’ll continue to do it. Because it satisfying listening on your ipod or CD to something that sounds almost as good as a professional studio recording. And these days, with a computer, especially a Mac, anyone can do it. That’s a great leap forward for creativity. I’m working on one now called “Take Me Home.” It’s almost done. Well, is it ever done? But anyway I’ll post it when it is.

But in the meantime, I sort of like just sitting with my guitar and playing “raw” into the computer into something like this, “Cinch” There’s something fun and satisfying about just being raw and playing and singing at the same time, spontaneously. Plus it gets the material out there and gets the ball rolling for the subconscious mind to start working on a more professional production. It’s all good. The live playing and then the more “slick” studio recording really feed into each other. So it all eventually comes together.

I need to stop being so uptight about the blog. Blog’s are meant to be “farm” clubs anyway for your more finished product. I just need to post my raw stuff and not worry about it being “perfect.” People engage with “real” anyway. I think my reticence it that my blog is my front facing web page. I’ll probably build a static front facing web page that features my finished work, and then make the blog a link on that where my more “raw,” spontaneous stuff gets posted. That’s kind of what blogs are meant for anyway.

“The Night Was You”

It’s nice
Oh lord
Please forgive me
For this World

They don’t
They’re sayin’ things
It’s part of their plan

And at night
To sunrise
they left you
In disguise

I want out
I want in
Want good things
To begin

And the night
Was filled with star-
Light (It was you)

And denial
Can’t be the part
Of life you want come true
You want come true.

At this World
So unhappy
When it turns

And you know
When you die
They put up buildings
To the sky

They got out
We went in
But they ain’t saying what’s
About to begin

It’s too late
It’s too long
All we got dear
Is this song

Verse: G-Em7-C-Am7-D7

Chorus: C-G-D/F#-C

Audio Garageband

Garageband Workflow and Productivity Tips

Well, I’ll continue to add to this post as I go along. I use Garageband everyday. Of course now that I’ve started, this will quantumly move me on to Logic I’m sure, but maybe the same tips in Garageband will apply in Logic as well. Also, I’m sure I’ll never completely leave Garageband. It’s too much fun! Anyway if you have some tips you’d like to share too, put them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list. Or if you have questions leave a comment, and I’ll try to find the answer.

  • Copying a region – You can always select the region then in the Menu select Edit>Copy>Paste, but there’s an easier way: Select the region with your mouse pointer, hold down the option button and simply drag the region with your mouse.
  • Deleting a track – Select the track (mouse over the track and left click the mouse. You’ll know it’s selected when the region on the very left that contains the tracks controls, which is normally gray, turns a color, either blue or green, depending on whether its a real or software instrument track. Once the track is selected, hit Command + delete, and it will delete the whole track.
  • Mastering – Well, this isn’t a tip about mastering per se. I know close to little about the subject, and desperately want to learn more. But if you haven’t already noticed after cutting what you think is a good sounding song, the export feature with Garageband is atrocious. It’s so bad I don’t see how the product can ship with it. If you check the “Auto Normalize” feature in preferences the tune will sound fine but the volume is way too low, which I find ironic because it touts itself as a feature that gives you “full” loudness. If you don’t check that feature you’ll get the volume you want, the volume you hear when you play the song in Garageband, but the exported MP3 will sound annoyingly fuzzy. Both unusable. Why can’t I have an MP3 that sounds like what I’m hearing when I play the tune in Garageband itself? Well you can only it’ll cost you $60. There’s a program called “Wire Tap” for Mac which records accurately any sounds coming from your Mac’s sound card. You fire up Wire Tap hit record and then press play on Garageband, and it will capture the tune exactly as you are hearing it. $60 sounds too high for this feature and it is, although Wire Tap is a solid program from a solid company and it’s useful in other situations as well. Having not moved up to Logic or Logic Express, I’m wondering what their exporting features are like. Anyone know?
  • Recording – Hit the “R” key to start recording and the Space bar to stop recording. A little easier than using your mouse to click the record button and the stop button, especially when you have a guitar in your lap.
  • Relieving an Overtaxed CPU – I’ve noticed especially when I have a lot of tracks, the play head will stop in the middle of a song or my Midi Controller is not being as responsive as it should. I learned today that you should “lock” all the software instrument tracks in this case. This temporarily turns the software tracks into sound tracks which relieves the CPU usage. The Lock feature is that little padlock icon underneath the name of the track. You simply click it. Then later you can un click it to restore it to a “green” software track.
  • Splitting a Region: Again this can be accomplished with Edit>Split once the track is selected and the play head is in the right spot where you want it split. But I also find it easier to simply hit Command + T
  • Vocal Recording – Well this tip may only apply to me but the general principle may apply to more. I bought a condenser mic from Guitar Center 5 years ago for about $200.00. It’s a good looking solid device: Audio-Technica AT-3035. I used it for years with a stand alone BOSS-1600 DAW. Seemed to work fine. In Garageband, although overall the sound was great, I got a lot of hiss and popping especially on my “S,” “Ch,” and “T” sounds. I scratched my head for I do have a screen in front of it. Well yesterday I Googled it. Turns out it has a couple of switches on it that reduce that very thing. Tried it out last night and a new World opened up. I could get a clear, loud sound without all that nasty popping. 5 years later I learn this! So if you run into some kind of problem like this, check your mic’s documentation for all the settings, or if you’ve lost them Google it. By the way this AT-3035 has glowing reviews from all the places I surfed. Everyone of them said its the best diaphragm mic for the money hands down. I think you can get one for only $100 now. So if you’re in the market for a vocal mic, you might check it out.

Other Resources:
  • – “Garageband Tips & Tricks” by Jeff Tolbert – Nice page of tips. I especially like the last one which deals with editing the drum loops that Garageband comes with to add some fills and variation to make them sound less monotonous and more spontaneous. Learned what the word “paradiddle” means: 4 16th note snare hits in succession. I knew the sound. Didn’t know there was a word for it. I can hear it in my head during a song when I want a “paradiddle” and he shows you how to make one.