When I was creating Song 1, Brooklyn Nights, I didn’t know what type of sound I was going for. I started off by listening to various beats and percussive loops, but I wasn’t getting hooked with that approach. I knew I wanted something melodic, so I decided to listen to synth and mallet percussion loops. I came across Moving On Bell Lead and made that my first loop. To add contrast to the high pitched melodic line, I then looked for a bass line and decided upon Sharp Dressed Bass. Trying to avoid a staggered entrance, I lined up these two loops to start together. Then I revisited beats, looking for something that would fill up the song a bit more. I used Bell Ringer Beat and put it after four measures of just the melody and the bass line. I didn’t want to keep using Moving On Bell Lead as the melodic line though, so I looked for another one that wasn’t as high pitched and found Digging Deep Synth. Looking to introduce this as a new idea, I added it in at measure nine and took away Moving On Bell Lead.
From here on out, I worked left to right. I know in class it was said that a good way to approach this project would be to just add blocks and blocks of loops and to then take away where we deem fit, but my ideas were coming horizontally. I could hear how I wanted my song to progress. That being said, I knew I wanted to try some stuttering in the melody so that listeners wouldn’t get bored of the same runs going on. Moving On Bell Lead became more of a descant to newly prominent Digging Deep Synth. Shortly after experimenting with stuttering for a bit, I decided I wanted two more loops – ones that weren’t as “in-your-face” as my previous ones. I chose the titular Brooklyn Nights Synth and Under Pressure Beat to finish out my loops. After this I rearranged certain loops, pulling them out or plugging them back in measure 29 introduces much more stuttering and heavier focus on Bell Ringer Beat. The texture here is pretty different from the rest of the song, so I would consider this to be the bridge or the breakdown of my song. A two measure Sharp Dressed Bass line feature leads to a 12.5 measure build up back into what could be recognized as the chorus. The build-up starts with Brooklyn Nights Synth, added gradually with Digging Deep Synth, Under Pressure Beat, and Sharp Dressed Bass. The chorus right after this uses all six loops at once (the first and only time this happens in the song), with a hint of stuttering used earlier on. There’s a coda type of ending as the texture thins out a bit and it ends with one half measure of an isolated Moving On Bell Lead loop.
I definitely feel like this is a legitimate form of musical creativity. I was honestly skeptical at first, but I was making creative decisions the entire time I was working on this song: What type of texture do I want here? Should I add a new loop here? Should I cut up this loop a bit? What percussive beat do I want for this section? Every time I placed a loop in its place, I had to make a creative decision. Not only did I create something, I honestly had a fun time doing so.
Song: Bang Bang
Artist: Green Day
- m. 1*-8 Intro 1 (0:00-0:19)
- m. 9-16 Intro 2 (0:20-0:35)
- m. 17-20 Break 1 (0:36-0:42)
- m. 21-28 Verse 1 (0:43-0:57)
- m. 29-36 Chorus 1 (0:58-1:12)
- m. 37-40 Break 2 (1:13-1:20)
- m. 41-48 Verse 2 (1:21-1:35)
- m. 49-56 Chorus 2 (1:36-2:06)
- m. 57-64 Chorus 3 (1:52-2:06)
- m. 65-72 Break 3 (2:07-2:22)
- m. 73-80 Bridge (2:23-2:37)
- m. 81-88* Break 4 (2:38-2:51)
- m. 89-90 Drum Solo (2:52-2:56)
- m. 91-98 Chorus 3 (2:57-3:11)
- m. 99-106 Chorus 3 (3:12-3:28)
*=Measure 1 starts when the bass guitar comes in, not with the static distortion
*=Measure 88 is a 2/4 measure
There were many parts of this song that were tricky for me to title. For the intro, I wasn’t sure if I should consider it one 16-measure phrase, or break it up into two 8-measure phrases. Because of the distortion and difference in instrumentation, along with the pause in between, I decided to make it two separate phrases. Breaks 1 and 2 were originally titled Verse Intros, and Breaks 3-4 were originally titled Breakdowns 1-2; for sake of a cleaner map, I decided to turn all four of those into breaks. A very simplified version of this song would look like: Intro, Verse 1, Chorus, Verse 2, Chorus, Breakdown/Bridge, Chorus, Chorus. But because of the variations frequent instrumental breaks, the actual map is more complex.
Favorite Song: I’d imagine it’s incredibly difficult for most people to pick one favorite song due to the multiple genres a person might like and the multiple moods one might be experiencing at a given time. That being said, one of my many many many favorite songs is Talk Is Cheap by Chet Faker. It’s one of those songs where whenever it pops up on shuffle, I almost always listen to it instead of continuing to press next. It has a very lax sound that fits many different moods; I could be studying to it, blasting it while getting ready in the morning, sleeping with it in the background, or singing along to it on my commute to school (it’s wonderfully in my range). The lyrics are thoughtful and have a relatable meaning to them – actions speak louder than words and, in this song, are important in relationships.
Least Favorite Song: One of my least favorite songs is a piece by Charles Ives. Let me first say that I have no doubt Charles Ives was a huge, innovative musical figure that contributed tremendously to the field of instrumental music, but I cannot listen to his music without cringing. One piece in particular is Variations on America, and I mainly dislike it due to a bad personal experience with it. When I was a Freshmen in high school, my school district decided to create a District Honors Band where students from all three high schools would perform in an audition-based ensemble. I was flying high when I was selected to be second seat flute, with a senior as my only superior. Variations on America was one of the pieces in the repertoire for this ensemble and it was insanely difficult for my three years of experience. It was the first piece I never completely learned when it was time for the concert and I was completely mortified. While I’m glad this piece of music knocked me off my crazy high horse, it remains one of my least favorite pieces.