Friday, January 14, 2022

Ready. Set. Stay.


In this tune, I expanded on a few ideas I explored in previous songs, but with a rock band setup instead of a guitar solo over synths. I'm pretty happy with the way the drums support the ensemble, which has been a big compositional goal of mine lately. I've also lately enjoying playing my extended guitar solos in a different key or tonality than the main melodic material. 

The A section is based around a riff over the chord progression to Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon", which is essentially a two chord shuttle in Bb Dorian. I took some chances with the intervals I chose to highlight, and I'm still making up my mind whether I like the dissonance in some places. The B section has the same chords, but with a different harmonic rhythm.

My method this time around was to play all of the rhythm guitar parts with a 16th note hi hat pattern and a kick drum, add bass, and then write the real drum part to the guitars. Normally I write the drums first because it's way easier to play rhythmically solid guitar parts with a drum groove than without, which is why I made sure to have a hi-hat pattern going to keep me locked in to the feel I wanted. That way, when I went and wrote the drum parts, it all matched up and the programmed drums didn't feel oddly strict like they sometimes do.

The bridge modulates from Bb Dorian to Ab major, which changes the feeling of the song drastically without straying very far from the home key. By this point in the song, you've only heard two chords, both of which are fairly dissonant. When the Ab6 chord hits, it's clearly a modulation even though it's still "in the key" from a more simplistic point of view. The change is dramatic, while also feeling inevitable in a way. I bet I'll use this kind of modulation again in a future song. I suppose it's not too unlike how Avril Lavigne's song "Smile" tonicizes the four chord in the chorus, and even though the song never really leaves the key of A major, the four is clearly treated as the root for a while. That's something for me to play around with more later.

The rhythm parts were recorded on my Epiphone Les Paul, and the lead part was recorded in (mostly) one take on my Fender Telecaster Deluxe. 

I didn't realize until I started improvising, but this tune is in the same key and at the same tempo as Onyx, which I wrote a few weeks before. Of course, the feel is completely different, but I still threw in a quote of the melody in my solo, to acknowledge the similarity. I mean, they're even both based on a sixteenth note hi-hat pattern and a riff that walks up the scale. Seems like I can give up on writing music, because I have no original ideas left... song coming out same time next week!

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