Saturday, 2 March 2013

One week in the birth of a song

Monday afternoon: Meet client. Get general instruction and guidelines, style of music needed and some reference artists. (Aprox. 3 hours)

Monday evening: Research. Listen to reference songs. Listen to more songs from same artists. Listen to more songs from same era. (Aprox. 3 hours)

Tuesday evening: research. Download lyrics of reference songs and analyze tempo, chords, lyrics, form and structures. Make notes. Went to bed very late. (Aprox. 5 hours)

Wednesday evening: Start writing lyrics with Celtx on ipad. First just write ideas for the story. Freeform paragraphs. Start to convert paragraphs into one-liners. (Aprox. 3 hours)

Thursday morning: Decide on a song structure. Verse, verse, bridge, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, chorus. Decide on song tempo and rhythm. Got general idea of melody in head. Start rewriting lyrics to fit form. (Aprox. 2 hours)

Thursday evening: Spend a lot of time with and rhymezone apps to write lyrics. Get some ideas for chord progression. Start Band in a box (BIAB), type in chords and search for style. Keep working on verse 1, bridge and chorus. Keep playing and singing over and over until it fits. (Aprox. 3 hours).

Friday morning: Refine lyrics more. (Aprox 1 hour).

Friday evening: Start BIAB and loop over and over, changing lyrics to fit chords and rhythm. Refine chords when required. Export midi files. Start Notion and import midi files. Start writing melody in Notion and add lyrics. Keep changing lyrics to fit melody. Go to bed about 2 a.m. (Aprox 6 hours)

Saturday morning: Listen to song. Keep changing lyrics to fit better. Write background vocals in Notion. (Aprox. 4 hours)

Saturday afternoon: Export audio files from Notion for vocal guide tracks. Fire up Sonar. Import midi files and vocal guide tracks. Fire up BIAB and search for real tracks. Export to audio. Search BIAB for piano tracks. Ended up with 5 options. Mix and match piano tracks. Mix up scratch mix in Sonar with Steven Slate drums, Virtual Piano, Sampletank C7 piano, Dim Pro on Bass, Realband on 2 x acoustic guitars and 2 x electric guitars (Aprox. 3 hours)

Saturday evening: Export audio 1 mix with instruments only and 1 mix including vocal guide tracks. Print pdf with lyrics from Celtx. Write pdf with vocal music from Notion. Upload to web site and send email to client with links. (Aprox. 2 hours)

Saturday evening: Wait for reply from client and write blog.

Not bad. About 35 hours on a song. I have written song before in less time, but most of the time a song would take much longer than this. This song is far from done. Next the client will want to make changes. If we are lucky, not many. Then at least a three hour session to record the vocals. Another 3 hour session to record back tracks. Depend on client budget, the final tracks may go to another studio for mixing. That is another 6 hours. All in all, we may have a song at the cost of 50 hours.

How much shall we charge? At a minimum union wage rate this song is worth some. I would be so lucky. Let's face it. I will be only to happy to make one tenth of that amount and hope life time royalties will make up another few bucks. If one song out of every 25 songs get some radio play or gets accepted on a movie soundtrack, it might make up for a bit more and might actually earn half of what it cost. The other 24 songs? We keep on reminding ourselves that we do this because we enjoy it.

And yes. We do do this because we enjoy it.


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