The Muse's News
||The Muse's News
|* Featured Article: Quick Tip: A Rare Technique Almost No One Encourages by Brad Dunse
Copyright 1998-2011 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.
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(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
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Hello for another month! The weather is starting to get cooler, but this is my favorite time of year. I love when the leaves change color. Of course, it doesn't hurt that my birthday month is coming up. My dad recently said something quite insightful - we tend to love best, the season that coincides with our birthday - because we've spent more time in that season (even if it's a minute amount more). He probably has a good point. :)
Again, there's a ton of new stuff on the site so I won't spend too much time with the preliminaries. :) Here are the raffle winners for this month:
from Kelowna, BC, has won a free 3 month membership to SongU
, an Internet-based learning environment providing online coaching, co-writing and pitching opportunities, in addition to over 70 multi-level courses developed by award-winning songwriters.
DO YOU WANT TO WIN A RAFFLE PRIZE?
If you'd like to be considered for a raffle prize yourself, have a look at the various prizes offered at the top of The Muse's News webpage, decide which prizes you'd most like, and email me with your top two choices along with your mailing address so that I can get the prizes to you. Yes, it's really that simple. :) (And yes, the mailing address is kinda important. I promise it won't be used for any other reason than to send you your raffle prize - and to mention your approximate location in the notice of raffle winners you see above here.)
Hope you enjoy the newsletter and have a wonderful month. :)
All the best,
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
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|Music Reviews: Cyrus Rhodes
Great music is only a click away!
shoe. - Genre: POP
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.
shoe.’s 4th self-released album “The Speed of Life” is an emotionally musically piano-driven, MotownSuper Pop/IndieRock exploration of sounds, instruments and happy accidents. Lyrically it’s about being humbled by the magnitude and speed of Life. Want the album for yourself visit their website for tracks and the entire “The Speed of Life” album.
|Songwriting Book Review
By: John Thomas
ABBA: Let The Music Speak
by Christopher Patrick
Let me start this review with a statement and a confession:
The statement: I think too many books on songwriting focus on lyrics to the near exclusion of melody
and wish they would teach me why that melody grabs me.
The confession: I am an unabashed lover of a melody that locks into my head and won’t let go.
If you are of the same persuasion as me, then stop whatever else you are doing and give this review
your undivided attention for the next few minutes. You’ll be glad you did.
ABBA: Let The Music Speak by Christopher Patrick does something I rarely see: it takes sounds and
melodies that you find yourself still singing hours after you first heard them and breaks them down so
you can understand and make use of them. And it makes them accessible and understandable even
without a music or recording engineering degree.
If you love the craft of pop music, you’ll find this is an extraordinary book.
Patrick breaks the book down into four sections: 1. The Albums, 2. The Sound, 3. The Melodies, and 4.
In Part 1 – The Albums, gives an overview of the musical catalog, album by album, that ABBA produced.
In this process, you gather band history and the context of their musical history and the music popular
of the time to begin to better understand where the musical influences, both leading up to and during
the recording time of ABBA, came from. You’ll pick up interesting bits of information such as on which
ABBA hit the rhythm track was not recorded in ABBA’s personal studio but in Miami’s Criteria Studios,
which helps to explain the particular disco rhythm sound for that track and also how aware the
members of ABBA were of this growing musical trend.
Patrick also begins to break down such details in this section as the particular vocal harmonies that
ABBA’s vocalists use at different parts of different songs. You learn about who was singing an octave
higher than who on what track, and often it’s not who you thought it was. And you begin to get insight
into the use of vocal doubling of instruments in the crafting of the ABBA sound.
Part 2 – The Sound, breaks down the songwriting and recording process to create the ABBA sound and
the melodies and hits that are still popular thirty years later.
This will come as no surprise to some, but writing and song creation in the studio was a craft for the
members of ABBA, not a product of waiting on inspiration. They are quoted as saying:
“To us anyway, [creating a song] it’s ninety percent work and ten percent inspiration.” And:
“Writing is treated as a nine-to-five job. We go in, sit down and say ‘what shall we write’ and then get
on with it.”
And you learn where the emphasis on melody comes from:
“The melody always comes first. We always concentrate on the music. If we come up with a tune that
is good, it will stick in the mind. As long as there are good tunes, there will be good records. All the
different ‘weights’, whether it be punk or new wave or reggae or whatever: it doesn’t really matter.”
“Björn’s view is that ABBA’s music sounds European, which he defined as ‘strong melodies – and that is
definitely a European tradition more than an American one – and England is in-between.’”
You also get insight into the use of the cutting edge studio technology of the time such as the use of
variable speed tape recording on a grand piano to give a chorus effect in the playback and into ABBA’s
whole song writing and song creation process and the use of the very latest in instrument technology at
In Part 3 – The Melodies, Patrick, himself a cellist and classically trained, gives an entire course worth of
melody analysis and breakdown. For example, he details the use of 7ths as anticipatory notes in a
melody and gives a surprising analysis of how something as simple as the use of four notes in a scale are
enough to have you humming a song all day long.
The fourth part, Outro, covers a timeline of the history of the band, musical definitions, and a
All told, ABBA: Let The Music Speak takes the subject of pop song craft and song creation and gives a
wealth of information in an easy to read and digest manner. As I said earlier, if you love the craft of pop
music, this is an extraordinary book.
Grab yourself a cup of Kenyan coffee, grab your instrument, and learn about pop craftsmanship and
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
John Thomas is a singer, songwriter, bass player, and guitarist living in Macon, Georgia.
You can see him thinking on paper about his passion for music and songwriting, along with thoughts on bass playing, coffee, and seeing people live their personal revolutions online at johnthomascafe.com.
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
THE INDIE BIBLE PRESENTS THE ULTIMATE INDIE BUNDLE!
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|Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
In the interest of conserving space (when I need to), I will be including only
changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests
and market information that have already been listed here, are
displayed at http://www.musesmuse.com/contests.html &
Please check there regularly for updates!
15th ANNUAL GREAT AMERICAN SONG CONTEST NOW ACCEPTING ENTRIES!
Are you an aspiring songwriter ready to have your songs heard by established music-industry pros? The Great American Song Contest features awards for 50 winners in 10 categories, plus $10,000 in Prizes. All entrants receive a detailed evaluation of their songs from music-industry judges -- song publishers, music producers and recording artists. This highly recommended International event is open to Songwriters, Lyricists and Composers, and sponsored annually by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere. Submission deadline is October 31, 2013.
For details, visit: http://www.GreatAmericanSong.com
SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS SONGWRITING PODCAST
Speaks Louder Than Words is a podcast that comes out every other week, with songwriters touching on their musical influences and upbringing, what's important to them in a song and often revealing the ideas behind their singles and albums. Since starting, Michael Kiwanuka, Nicky Graham, True Tiger and Ed Drewett have all appeared as have many more, sharing their thoughts on the craft. Click here to find previous episodes on iTunes... You can subscribe to get instant access to future releases.
INDIE INTERNATIONAL SONGWRITING CONTEST IS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS!
IISC is an annual song competition to give recognition to some of the best emerging songwriters in the world, help develop their talent, and provide useful tools for developing the success of the artist. Contest are limited to 150 entries per genre so you don't get lost in the crowd! Choose between a Basic Entry (numerical score) or for $10 more, a Written Critique on your song. IISC is in its 8th competition and has given away more than $54,000 in useful prizes. Rock, Pop, Folk, Americana/Country, Instrumental, and Gospel/Christian genres are open! Visit our website for more details. Deadline is January 31, 2014.
THE 10TH ANNUAL IAMA (INTERNATIONAL ACOUSTIC MUSIC AWARDS) KICKS OFF
The 10th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) is currently accepting entries, this awards competition is judged based on songwriting, performance & artistry. Win prizes in 8 different categories: Best Male Artist, Best Female Artist, Best Group/Duo, Folk/Americana/Roots, AAA/Alternative, Instrumental, Open, Bluegrass/Country. There will also be an Overall Grand Prize winner awarded to the top winner worth US$11,000, which includes radio promotion to over 250 radio stations in US and Canada, featured on Acoustic Cafe, a syndicated radio program. Deadline is November 8, 2013. You may also obtain the entry form at:
A REVOLUTIONARY NEW WAY TO SHARE AND PROMOTE MUSIC
Tunii.com pays Fans to Follow and Promote Songs and is 100% FREE to join for both recording artists and music fans. Join us in our mission of making Tunii the future of the music industry where together we can all share in the success for connecting artists and fans around the world. Sign up today through this special Muse's Muse link and please check out our short “How Tunii works video” It's Easy, it's FREE and it's Fun!
BOOKING & TOURING SUCCESS STRATEGIES & SECRETS ONLINE COURSE
Getting great gigs, building your audience and selling more merchandise is exactly what your career is all about. This online course is jam-packed with 12 hours of downloadable audio mp3s and PDF Action Guides. There are 5 modules: Module 1: Tour Goals & Planning Strategies, Module 2: Routing Your Tours, Module 3: Negotiation Techniques & Contracts, Module 4: Working with Presenters, Bookers, Promoters/Advancing the Date, Module 5: Targeting Your Markets for Maximum Audiences. Plus 2 hours of bonus classes, BONUS #1: Website Maximizer-Is you’re your Website Selling You? Learn how. BONUS #2: Copy Writing: How to write fan emails, press releases and other promo copy that get responses. Bonus # 3: Three free Industry Biz Booster Monthly Mentor Interviews. And finally, weekly call-in office hours to talk with former agent, manager, author, creator, Jeri Goldstein directly, about the course and your career. Booking & Touring Success Strategies & Secrets gives you artist-tested, step-by-step strategies to help you reach your career goals and make all of your tours profitable. http://performingbiz.com.
AWARD WINNING SONGWRITER OFFERING SONGWRITING TIPS AND CRITIQUING SERVICES
Award winning songwriter Jane Eamon is offering songwriting one on one classes via Skype. These sessions are one hour in length and can cover any topic you'd like to address. From writing, to critique, to ideas and games. Or just to share your thoughts and get feedback. If you're interested in a session contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a class.
HAVE YOU EVER STRUGGLED TO FIND THE RIGHT CHORD OR NOTE TO FIT SOMEWHERE IN YOUR SONG?
Hooktheory is a free resource that can show you how to integrate basic music theory into your songwriting process, making it easier to write catchy chord progressions and melody. Hooktheory currently consists of three main areas:
1. The Hookbook demonstrates basic principles of music theory and how they relate to popular music. It's filled with multimedia-rich content explaining musical concepts synchronized to real songs so you can hear what you are learning and make connections easier.
2. The Music Editor lets you write chord progressions in Roman Numeral notation and listen to them in any key. Add a melody, save your work, share it with friends, or export it to Garageband, sheet music, or guitar tab.
3. The Analysis Wiki is a user-generated collection of analyses of popular songs. Look up the chord progression and melody of a song, or use the music editor to create your own analyses.
Check it out now!
Muse's Clues - By John Brhel
©2011-2013 John Brhel. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission
You know what’s scarier than Leatherface, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, and Chucky combined? The poorly written, half-baked song! Such is the bane of the songwriter, the evil villain that can mutilate and maul the hopes and dreams of even the most hopeful tunesmith – and we’ve all faced this menace at some point in our careers. You can help to avoid the nightmare that is the bad song by seeking out feedback from your peers.
I’m sure there have been plenty of classic songs that have been written, produced, and released without any outside input (songwriters can be an egotistical bunch sometimes.) For the most part, however, it’s hard to write a really great song in a vacuum. More often than not, it takes feedback from a fellow songwriter or two to determine if your chorus is classic or crappy.
Dennis and Julie Field, a husband and wife entrepreneurial team from Columbus, Ohio, understand how important it is for songwriters to seek constructive criticism from their peers. In an effort to provide today’s songwriters a means to acquire solid feedback, the Fields have launched the songwriting website Frettie.
What is Frettie? Well, unlike many songwriting websites out there, Frettie was not founded by an award-winning songwriter, producer, or some other “industry” type. Dennis and Julie don’t own a record label or produce Grammy-winning albums, but rather run an “Interactive, Graphic Design and Branding Studio” called Greenline Creative. As marketing/web design folks, they bring a unique perspective to the whole songwriting feedback dynamic:
“We wanted Frettie to apply the lessons we learned doing our design work to the songwriting paradigm,” said Dennis in a press release from July of this year. “The more people you can engage with while you’re working on your design, the better your final product ends up being. We figured songwriting would be the same. Why not get feedback as you’re creating your song and see if that helps come up with a better tune?”
Have you ever been in the middle of writing a song and wanted to know whether or not your melody was amazing or amazingly boring? Dennis, a lifetime songwriter, wanted a place where he could post snippets of songs and get feedback on them. Ever the entrepreneur, he ended up creating a website where he could do exactly that, and that website is Frettie.
But Frettie is more than just any old songwriting community. The Fields created Frettie strictly for professional or aspiring professional songwriters. In order to maintain this pro-minded environment, they made Frettie an invite-only community. According to the FAQ section of its website, Frettie is invite-only because “it strengthens the trust of the community and keeps the integrity of Frettie to the highest standard possible.” In order to acquire an invite, you can either make a request via the website or get invited by an existing member of the Frettie community.
Once you get invited to Frettie, you simply create an account, upload your songs, and start connecting with other songwriters. Wondering if your pre-chorus is up to snuff? Not sure if that bridge is uplifting or a big downer? Upload snippets of your songs and request feedback from fellow Frettie member. The great part is, you’ll actually get feedback from professional and/or aspiring pro songwriters, so you know the criticism you receive will be of actual value. Heck, if only Frettie had been around years ago; I would have probably avoided writing as many cringe-worthy lyrics as I did!
If you do get invited to Frettie, make sure you fill out your profile completely and explain each track you upload in as much detail as possible, as this will help you get better feedback from Frettie members. Also, be sure you explore the community and give feedback as well. Not only will this help you network with other career-hungry songwriters, but you’ll help songwriters write better songs and do your part to rid the world of “meh” songs.
Frettie also hosts an open chat every Wednesday night at 9 PM. What better way to get through the Monday-Friday grind than to talk songwriting with other ambitious songsmiths!
Now that you know how Frettie can help you engage with other serious songwriters and get feedback on your works-in-progress, why not request an invite? Who knows what all that feedback can do for your music. Maybe someone will suggest a lyrical change and you’ll end up writing the next “In My Life.” Or perhaps you’ll get great feedback on your song about panda bears and realize it’s not such a crazy idea after all.
Songwriting can be scary, if you go alone that is. Used correctly, websites like Frettie can help you avoid the dreaded “throwaway” or “filler” song and write better tunes. So get out there, connect with other musicians, and save your songwriting career. Just like a horror movie, it’s never a good idea to go alone.
John Brhel is a songwriter from upstate New York who wrote his first batch of pop songs before graduating from elementary school. A lover of all music, John writes country songs, plays in a punk band and spends a good deal of his free time listening to Diane Warren ballads. John regularly attends industry events in New York and Los Angeles and is a member of ASCAP. A lover of melody and the left-field chord change, John lives and breathes songs. Write a song with him via Skype (berealmusic) and follow him on Twitter (@johnbrhel).
Featured Article - By Brad Dunse
QUICK TIP: A Rare Technique Almost No One Encourages
Most everyone knows Christopher Columbus wasn’t the first one to make it to the Americas, and yet his name symbolizes the founding of them.
But, did you know that in one of his first trips he hoisted his billowed sails in search for what we call Japan? Most people don’t know that one.
And here’s the kicker, he got twisted up somehow and landed in the Bahamas…
But besides making the history books and finding a great vacation place, there’s a really cool songwriting tip Columbus can show us.
And that is to point your chin to the wind…
Take some risk…
And do some exploring to see where it takes you.
What I’m talking about is exploring the rules and breaking one or two just to see where you land.
For example, I’ve had writers submit songs which have too many sections in it…
Not exactly an intro, bridge, or anything, it’s just a different section slammed in there.
Some sections didn’t even sound like they belong to the same song.
Of course, they are called on the carpet for it by the masses and perhaps for that particular match up of sections, rightly so.
But do these types of things ever work?
Well, ask Sir Paul McCartney. With plenty of experience writing for the fab four—Beatles, he’s made a career out of putting unusual sections in his songs.
Take his classic tune Band on the Run.
0- 1:18 has the beginning section with a lulling, slow tempo intro.
1:18 – 2:04 has yet a second intro part that is up-tempo and more dynamic.
2:04 – 2:36 is where we finally get to the first verse of the song. We also make a larger turn on the feel of the tune, almost like it is a different song.
2:36 - 3:06 we get to a very short chorus.
3:06 – 3:21 brings us back to a verse.
3:21 – 4:13 gives us a chorus, but it is extended and has a small instrumental bit in it to keep us from being bored.
4:13 – 4:29 gives us another verse.
4:29 – 5:08 brings us to another extended chorus until we end the song.
It’s like Paul put in two different bridge sections and slammed them in the beginning of the tune as intros.
You might want to go up to the web and have a listen to this one.
While you’re up there check out Live and Let Die, that’s another one with dynamically different sections and a tempo roller coaster. He has a Spanish guitar solo in the middle of a pop tune!
But I look forward to hearing it every time I hear that song. Isn’t that weird? Maybe not.
And one of his better known classic examples is probably Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey. Though it’s listed as two titles, it is always played as one song.
He’s got no less than five different musical themes going on, plus he starts the tune as if it’s a AAA format and moves to verse-chorus. Gutsie wouldn’t you say?
What could you try in your song?
• Make one section low key and slow tempo, and another up-tempo and percussive.
• Maybe use a different music mode in one section e.g. from Mixolydian to Dorian.
• Maybe make one section ¾ time while the rest is 4/4?
• Change keys from one section to another?
• Put in some sound effects or a talking section
Who knows what you might try. These explorations aren’t for the faint of heart, NOT your usual protocol, and not for every song, but, don’t be afraid to give it a whirl.
Although it's dangerous ground and you might wind up in the Bahamas instead of Japan like old Chris did, you might also get credit for founding some really cool songs with very different song sections sandwiched together and sounding good.
Some won’t, maybe most won’t, but some just might.
And if you think they do? Stand your ground… you’ll likely be challenged.
Until next time… keep writing from the heart.
Brad Dunse is a performing songwriter based deep in the country's heartland reflecting sensitivity of daily living in his songs. Writing primarily in Folk, Country, Pop, or Americana, he occasionally writes CCM. Co-writer of The Wall, a tribute to Viet Vets receiving major market airplay, he's also received airplay on NPR, local public, independent, and web radio. He is a freelance writer, is board member of Minnesota Association of Songwriters, been member or involved in ASCAP, NSAI, SongU and other organizations. You can visit his web site at WWW.BRADDUNSEMUSIC.COM as well Add As Facebook Friend or Follow Him On Twitter.
|"ON SITE" FEATURED ARTICLE(S)
How To Play Creative Sweep Picking Arpeggios
- by Tom Hess
Want to play amazing sweep picking arpeggios that demand the attention of everyone who hears you play? It’s actually much easier to do than you think. The key is focusing on building incredible amounts of musical tension by combining sweep picking technique with creative guitar phrasing ideas.
The Frequently Ignored Element In Songwriting That Will Enhance Your Musical Expression - by Ryan Buckner
Are you not satisfied with the level of creativity in your music? Have you ever spent a long time working on writing a song only to stop because it didn’t truly express your ideas? Would you like to know how great songwriters express themselves through music?
Five Methods For Getting Into The Music Business That Lead To Failure
- by Tom Hess
Ready to break into the music industry but unsure about what you need to do? Before you will become a highly successful professional musician, you need to get rid of several false beliefs that will cause you to fail in your music career. With this in mind, you might be surprised to learn the following fact about how the music business really works...
Wisdom #90 - by Mick Polich
Gigging in your mid - 50's,different 'career' goals - gosh,why isn't it the same as when you were 25? Mick expolores some obvious ( and maybe not so obvious) reasons.....
Ahh Youth! - by Mick Polich
Ever feel like a rock codger(yes,AARP qualified,I'm talking to YOU...)? It happens - Mick is back,with a 'grandpa' story, and how to handle those pesky kids and their crazy,kooky music....
Using An Effective Opening Line, as Done by the Counting Crows
- by Anthony Ceseri
A great lyrical introduction is an excellent way to get your listeners interested in your story right off that bat. Let's look at a great example of a strong opening line in this article.
|Classifieds & Useful Services
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LYRICIST VERSION 3: THE SONGWRITER'S BEST FRIEND
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FREE MELODY WRITING REPORT
Writing a great melody is the #1 component to writing a song your listeners will want to buy, and hear over and over again. If you want some easy ways to improve your melodies to start writing songs your fans will love, check out this FREE report. It'll teach you some great (and simple!) tricks for writing sophisticated and marketable melodies:
For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 7 lines (though I
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