If you’re like most budding musicians, you’ve probably noticed an eerie coincidence as you scan the tab and sheet music to your favorite songs — they tend to use many of the same chords. This similarity surprises some beginning guitar players. After all, the guitar is a flexible instrument, capable of producing textured, nuanced harmonies and scales. So why stick to just three chords? More importantly, how do songwriters manage to make three chords sound so complex and appealing? Part of the answer lies in the use of chordal fills.
Chordal fills — groups of single notes played within the context of a specific chord — play a crucial role in almost every guitar song because they make otherwise ordinary chords sound fascinating and unique. Guitarists using this technique strum a chord while simultaneously playing individual notes. This produces a countermelody, a second melody played at the same time as the principle one. These fills add a distinctive sound, transforming a simple chord progression into a unique, memorable tune.
Using the G, C and D chords as
Get the most out of your home studio recordings by using the right microphones and the best miking techniques.
1. Use the right mic for the job
There are three basic kinds of microphones: dynamic, condenser and ribbon mics.
Dynamic microphones are the most versatile and durable. With a dynamic mic, sound waves in the air move a small cone inside of a tight coil of wire surrounded by a magnetic field. It takes a relatively powerful sound wave to move the coil, making dynamic mics less sensitive than condenser or ribbon microphones, but harder to break.
Dynamic mics are good for miking drums, where the microphone is most likely to get hit with a stick, or miking very loud audio like the screaming lead singer of a hard rock band.
With a condenser mic, sound waves cause a thin plastic diaphragm to vibrate, and the vibrations are measured by their distance from an electrified back plate. The diaphragm of a condenser mic is much more sensitive than the coil of the dynamic mic, making them ideal for vocals or for
So you and your friends got together and decided to call yourselves a “band,” and now you’re ready to start performing in public. Small problem: Your current equipment doesn’t exactly meet public performance standards. If you don’t have 10,000dollars stuffed in your mattress, you’ll probably want to start with the basic setup, just the necessities — whatever will get you out of your folks’ garage and into a real “venue.”
In this article, we’ll take a quick look at the basics of band sound systems, also known as pro audioequipment, so that you can put together a system that would work in a small club, a big party or even a school gym.
Parties and Small Clubs
Let’s assume that your band has five members:
- Lead guitar – The guitarist owns his guitar and amp.
- Bass – The bassist owns his guitar and amp.
- Drums – The drummer owns his drum kit.
- Keyboards – The keyboardist owns his own keyboard and amp.
- Lead singer – The singer owns his own microphone and amp.
In addition, two of the other band members sing background vocals.
If you’ve ever fiddled with the bass and treble settings on your car stereo, or tweaked the equalizer on your dad’s old amplifier, then you’ve dabbled in the fine art of mixing. In digital audio production, mixing comes after all of the tracks have been recorded and edited. In the mix, the audio engineer needs to adjust all of the individual sound sources and tracks to create a balanced, polished, rich-sounding final product. It’s harder than it looks.
In many ways, integrated hardware and software systems like Pro Tools have made the mixing process much more streamlined. But with thousands of Pro Tools plug-ins at your fingertips, it’s also tempting to go overboard and end up with a mix that soundsoverproduced. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your mix using Pro Tools.
Compression is Key
If you’ve made your own home recordings, you’ll notice how raw your tracks sound compared to the way recordings sound on CDs and the radio. This is because professional recordings have been compressed. Compression is the process of automatically balancing the dynamic levels of a track to make it sound warmer and smoother. Compression adjusts
Batman looks down from a Gotham rooftop into the dark alley below. We hear the sounds of the big city: cars whizzing by, sirens wailing in the distance, indistinguishable voices calling to each other from the street. The Joker and his henchmen enter the alley dragging a helpless Vicki Vale. We hear Vicki’s muffled screams, the Joker’s evil cackle and the scrape of Vicki’s high heels across the pavement.
The movie score swells as Batman dives from the rooftop. We hear the metallic whir of his zip line and his leather cape snapping as it cuts through the air. Then comes the fight — the punches, grunts, thumps and slams punctuated by blaring horns and sharp percussion from the soundtrack.
On the screen, this scene takes less than a minute. But behind the scenes, professional audio post production engineers worked hundreds of hours to make sure that every snippet of dialogue, every scrape of a shoe, every tiny detail of background noise, every sound effect and every second of the film score are perfectly blended to create a cohesive and powerful cinematic experience.
Audio post-production editors won’t ever be famous (they don’t even give them
When we’re given a delicious plate of foodat a fancy restaurant, we can savor the wonderful medley of flavors without fully realizing the skill that went into choosing the different ingredients. The same could be said of hearing a great song on the radio. We probably hear the final polished product without realizing the enormous amount of work that went into it. Sure, most people know that writing and rehearsing a song takes work for musicians, but fewer realize the time and skill that goes into the engineering side of the recording process.
To explain, consider the evolution of music recording over the 20th century. Before the 1950s, recording a song always depended on musicians and singers performing over and over again together until they got the “perfect” take — or at least the best. In this tedious process, if someone made a mistake, everyone had to start all over again.
This was the case until musician and innovator Les Paul started experimenting with recording over himself so that he could play multiple parts in the same song. In 1954, Paul convinced a company that made recorders, Ampex, to build him a 3-track recorder. This was