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Guitarists often jump to the conclusion that if you want a bigger sound, you need to add more layers. The downside of adding more layers to your guitar tracks, though, is that you lose some of the textures that make your tone so great. So, instead of layering, try using more complex harmonic chord shapes like open voicings and sevenths. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to build seventh chords out of simple triads, courtesy of Soundfly’s popular Mainstage course, Unlocking the Emotional Power of Chords. 

Carter Lee is a bassist/educator/producer. He is originally from Edmonton, Canada and now resides in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to leading the hip-hop group, Tiger Speak, Lee is the music director for the bands of both Shea Rose and Moruf. He is also a sideman for countless other artists. Carter brings his wealth of experience in many different musical situations to the Soundfly team and is eager to help any musician who is hoping to better their band. Check out his course Building a Better Band on Soundfly today!

“Havana”: The only thing that stands out for me here is the bold choice in janky piano samples, just pitchy enough to transport you to the world of well-preserved cars and state socialism. It’s also subjective whether it’s a different chord change, or just a different arrangement of the same chord change that happens when Young Thug comes in. I’ll tell you one thing, nobody on the dang dance floor cares if the implied chords are diminished or dominant.

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The right book, or set of books, can play an enormous role in your development as a producer and audio engineer. Be it a book meant to be a reference text in case you ever run into a stumbling block or one meant to inspire you with stories and perspectives from the pros, having a stocked shelf in your studio will ensure that you’ll never be alone to figure things out.

At the opposite end of traditional form is through-composition — essentially a style of composition that doesn’t repeat sections of music, lyrics, and might not even repeat melodic themes. It could be argued that the lyrics of “All My Friends” is through-composed.

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LA On Lock is pretty much the premier place to get your Los Angeles hip-hop news. Featuring songs, mixtapes, and even hosting their own events, this blog puts LA on lockdown, but it isn’t just for those living in California — it’s for everyone and anyone who loves hip-hop. In addition to tons of interviews and features, they also host a Spotify playlist and do regular video, single, and album reviews.

What better place to look for motivation and inspiration then with a group of songwriters looking for just the same? Reddit offers an incredible forum platform for people to talk about pretty much anything, but their Songwriting subreddit is where the most engaged and thorough writers go to talk shop. You can’t find a truer community anywhere else.

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With overwhelmingly positive results, we’re happy to share a few testimonials of Soundfly’s Orchestration For Strings course directly from our students.

The piece ends with the same texture we heard at the beginning, natural harmonics produced by sympathetic resonance (2:23). Only a tiny variation in the musical landscape pops up — a new note, D. Although this looks like an anomaly in the construction of the piece, in my opinion this choice makes total sense, considering that this work is a series of 11 pieces, the presence of another note creates a sense of directionality. Instead of the movements feeling like isolated fragments collected together, inserting a new note before this section ends offers a glimpse ahead, and a bit of connective tissue.

Djembe players use three basic sounds to get an array of different rhythms and feels — bass, tone, and slap, which have low, medium, and high pitches respectively. You get the different sounds by hitting the drum in different places and with different parts of your hands. Here’s our quick rundown to get you started.

Sometimes the solution is obvious. Maybe the student has a clear goal in mind, and they just don’t know how to get there. Maybe they wanted to make a bumping club track, and the beats are weak — beginner producers usually don’t know how to layer or mix drums. A lot of the time, there are some good ideas but they’re strung together without any particular structure. That’s understandable; structure is hard! Or maybe there was a misguided attempt at “realism.” Every semester, someone takes a piece they composed or arranged and outputs audio straight from their notation software. The result consistently sounds like garbage. I want them to think of the sound coming out of the speakers as the “real” music, not a placeholder for an eventual performance by humans — nothing against live performance, but my class is about making music in the box. Rather than settling for terrible fake strings or brass, we try to figure out what software instruments might sound unapologetically cool.

Well, you can kiss that source of tour stress goodbye! House shows are more favorable to touring musicians because the hours end up being a lot more friendly and respectful. Since most concert venues and clubs make money serving alcohol, it’s in their best interest to keep the crowds inside their doors for as long as possible. But since most houses have people living in them, shows tend to start around sundown and wrap up just a couple hours later.