Active Listening with Examples
Well, thanks everybody for tuning in and welcome back is going tio say that this is a supplement to the song writing course I did back in june uh people wanted more about melody and I've got a lot of feedback that that's what people thought I guess it was missing so here we are it will no longer be missing so if you want to get more info on song structures, arrangements and all that kind of stuff that's all available on the original song writing course this is going to be more specifically about melodies, harmonies, vocals, lyrics I think the catchy stuff the stuff you walk away with and I just want to say outfront also that this is not a music theory class like maybe we'll do a little bit of music theory, but I've always thought that for melody work you should have the base level in a very base level understanding of music theory and that's about it too much will kind of kill your creativity and have you writing within too many I think artificial constraints so uh well, it is a good t...
hing to set some constraints to writing this should be your own constraints and my opinion so uh other thing I want to say before we get going is that this is not supposed to be a monologue when especially when we do active listening exercises I want people to tell the chat instructor does that sound what you're called to chat host uh, type into the chat room what you're hearing uh, and we can discuss it this supposed to be interactive. So with that going to get into this let's, talk about your training really quickly here training, I think, is something that every musician should do in some way, shape or form because it will cut time off of your guests of you assimilating this type of information. Melody writing, I think, is a really feel based thing, a lot more than a lot of other kinds of things. Harmony writing often times is a lot more theoretical drum programming this we saw is very, very mechanical, even if you're going for good field. But I think melody is manly, a field base thing and there's nothing better than being able to hear it in your head and going for it and it's a lot better than fumbling around on an instrument and, you know, plunking wrong notes all day long er me lose perspective on what you're doing and it's just not a good thing. If you train your ears right, and you do a proper type of air training, you'll be able to skip right to writing melodies that just come to you, maybe it won't be like mozart you know the romantic theories about mozart uh writing a symphony in his head well dancing with the chicken uh at a ball but it will be way faster and I think that that's that's key so one things that I did when I was your training a lot and I still routinely do this like every six months I'll spend like a week or two weeks just working on your training exercises for like an hour or two a day uh I made a point of training my ears, my instrument and my voice meaning I could identify what I was hearing but without an instrument in my hands I could sing it back that way I kind of internalized what the intervals were and then I learned it on guitar because that's my primary instrument so I could play you back a melody any any one of those ways and if you're wondering where to get started with that, I just want to plug this software I'm not involved with these guys but I've been using here master for ages now I think it's the best one out there you guys should buy it and use it you know, we only use it fifteen minutes a day uh practices stuff of your voice as well as guitar key border whatever it is that you use and just uh get this and buy it and this your training if you do the right amount of ear training then you'll be able to use that when you use active listening as part of your repertoire or to a bag and you'll be away faster with it now again, this is very different than when you're writing drum beads or harmonies or things like that this is much more feel based on much more uh shooting from the hip in my opinion a lot more improvisational so it's better tio is better have your brain in the right place I think so let's talk about active listening we've discussed that in the past but I think this is super important from getting ideas out in the world into your head and into your hard drive computer whatever instrument so where you go through a few active listening exercises throughout this and I kind of want you guys to if you're not already doing this I want you guys to start keeping a listening journal now the main thing about that is in this journal you should try to write down or draw or however you best understand something musical represented on the page so I'm going to show you guys a visual example in a minute about that but here's some things you want to pay attention to pay attention to when things are educated when it sounds like they're coming from a scale pay attention to the rhythm within the melody ifyou're listeningto versus versus choruses you know, if one verse is in a choppy rhythm in the choruses and smooth longer notes you know point that stuff out it's very, very important and once you do this active listening, I would then take it one step further than most active listening and then I would actually do your own version of it. No, you don't have to get it one hundred percent right? But get it eighty five percent right? Um just so that you understand, you know, under your fingers what is actually going on or at least on the piano rule what's actually going on in the music and one thing that I need to point out about active listening doing, I guess covers of whatever you pick just because you did it doesn't mean you should show it to the world. They think this is definitely on exercise that can yield you lots of great results, but the great results aren't going toe necessarily be in your music so we can give you guys a couple of examples of what I thought should have stayed on exercise so let's, check this out. Sure, you guys know this and, um what a recap something that mean you just talked about this is why you need to pay attention to what instrument you're writing for is something that works for the piano well, not necessarily work for the electric guitar and way go I'm sure you guys are familiar with this e o everyone's heard that it's a great melody it's classic and there's a million covers and I know this because I looked this up, but most of them sounded kind of somewhere like this. Oh, and you take that outside of what is intended for things start to go wrong, check it out kind of like hurts me to listen to that because it doesn't work on electric guitar and it should never have discussion and never put this up. But as an exercise is fantastic because modern melody writers just don't write on the same level is the classical guys did back in the nineteen hundreds, so it does not hurt to learn as much of that as you can. Yes, sir, guitar, you know, basically like being able to translate that. I mean, this is the practice for your mind to be able to get the muscle memory and all of those pieces that the holistic approach to the melody as opposed to just the year, right? Well, yeah, if you have just the ear, then it's one thing, if you're a singer, um, if you have just the year and you're just a singer, ok, fine, but if you actually play an instrument in a band or you're right for people that play physical instruments, you need to find a way to get this under your fingers or else what's the point? I mean, it's it's definitely a great step to have it in your ears, but getting it under your fingers is, uh, crucial in my opinion. No, I didn't go ahead and I make my own melody for that because somebody already ruined it, but and play you guys unexamined ll from the band muse where this will basically show you what I mean by doing some active listening. So you've got this song uprising play it real quick, and you've got the intro melody that comes in on the synth all right? And this is something that I'm interested in hearing what the crowd here's in this, but for me, this is very interesting, melodie, because it goes between aarp educating cords and playing out of scales, and it jumps around it's not something that would necessarily sound great electric guitar but is cool, so I learned it on electric guitar with the intent of never using it for anything but just learning how it works mechanically, so I just did this quickly thing I don't think that works on guitar, it's too slow, too many held up nose. The way that the guitar sustains is not right for that melody however it is really cool that I learned it because now I can use it now it's part of what I do and so I just suggest that you guys all do this I did this also with the uh mendelssohn violin concerto I'm going to show you guys a few tricks that you can use to make your active listening work uh wonders so real quick mendelssohn violin concerto was something that struck me as a teenager as just something I thought would sound great on electric guitar so one head and I learned it and know it sounds that crap on electric guitar so in this the melodies taken by the violin and it's basically at the forefront of everything so check it out anyways so I learned the beginning on guitar and again is something I would never use for guitar but it just helped me to learn how it worked where it's aarp educated where it's playing out of a scale how far is jumping around how much time elapses between notes which notes or sustained which notes are short all that stuff it's just helpful to actually do this so a little bit more applicability guitar than the muse melody which is just way too slow because guitar doesn't sustain very well you could maybe seeing the muse melody and so first thing I would do is identify a melody you like this the first step in active listening uh ari melodies identify something you like number two learning number three recorded number four it's yours forever now there's one more thing that those of you who don't know how to write music khun do which is to make a visual representation of the contour of the melody so we show you what this one artist did with this exact same piece I just went over and if you map out arrangements like this this will also give you great understanding of how melodies work over background material maybe get that going so one thing to pay attention to right there for instance when you're going through something that visual page in addition to the contour like for instance when does it hit the highest note? We'll go through that again just try to pay attention to when it hits the highest note because there's reasoning behind it and he won't have any idea when the highest note is hit well I'll tell you guys right before it busts out into the really fast stuff there's a reason it's building up tension building building building and then it hits the high notes and then it releases into the fast part and that's something that you guys can utilize and metal all over the place s o I'm goingto we kind of skipped through this little ahs you can see the red dots above or the melody and c agos up to high note than back down and holds higher notes, but they're not quite the highest keeps going. And here is your highest note. Ultimately, as much of a element of melody as the melody itself was the notation. How do you say I think that rhythm and pitch are the two most important parts of the melody? Ok and there's more there's more to it than that, like the cadence and the how you run vocals and harmony of it all there's a lot more to it. But I think that the two two biggest elements you can tweak are the pitch and the duration and its relation to other other notes rhythm when the chat room dissolution was saying, agreeing with you ultimately that he hears tension building with the different note links and that's definitely you know how you were saying it leading up to the next part? Well, also there is a bit of ah held out note right before it hits the fast stuff get forward. Here it is, you can see it hits the high notes three times and then has something of a pause before it hits lower notes and basically an octave lower and then it goes into the faster yet correct it's the fact that it goes to his highest point before it busts out into the fast stuff that's what's. Helping it filled the tension. And that I think, that that might be one of the longest durations before. The next thing happens. And that's something that that's. A little truth that you guys can use when you're writing music, length of notes, or the lack of length of notes makes a huge difference.