Teaching Song Production Analysis #apme2018

Misty Jones, Middle Tennessee State University

Practical Production Analysis: Helping Students Produce Competitive Songs

Misty opens by describing her particular students as ‘in the box’ producers – that is to say, they create the entire sound recording in a Digital Audio Workstation. The problem she’s trying to solve is this: the students’ recordings are just not ready yet [for the commercial marketplace]. So today, she will be sharing her approach to helping students to make their song recordings competitive, in the genre they want to produce in.

The approach starts with the assumption that students ‘have their chops down’ – that is, they can write melodies & lyrics, understand harmony, and can program beats. With this out of the way, the students are asked to work on these four areas:

  • Form/Arrangement
  • Instrumentation
  • Texture Variation
  • Production Techniques

[Read more…]

‘Stay Another Day’: … formula to create a successful Boy Band #arpOslo2014

East 17‘Stay Another Day’: A music composition and production formula to create a successful Boy Band

Phil Harding, producer and PhD candidate

ABSTRACT: Is there a music composition and production formula for a Boy Band? This question is rooted in the trans-cultural context of the 1990s, and it is important for musicologists, entrepreneurs, composers and producers to research this. My study is based on the phenomena of Boy Band success of the 1990s and I am looking at an empirically and theoretically grounded formula proposal that started then and could be contextualized today with ethnographic reflection. In this paper, I will use my own knowledge and experience in the Boy Band genre; I had success as a producer and composer in the 1990s with ‘East 17’ and ‘Boyzone’. I will then contrast this with the views of the managers of those bands – Tom Watkins and Louis Walsh. This will raise some questions around the compositional techniques and the music production technology used today both in professional studios and home recording facilities. What interactive media do composers and musicians in both regional and international contexts use for the collaboration process? Do composition and even recording sessions need to take place in the same room any longer? Pop act ‘The KLF’ (Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond) wrote ‘The Manual (How To Have a Number One The Easy Way)’ 1. This presented the idea of a formula to have a guaranteed No.1 hit single in the UK charts in the 1980s/90s. This will be explored alongside an analysis of data towards my proposed formula for a successful manufactured Boy Band.

[Read more…]

Book launch: The Art of Music Production (4th edition) #arp13

The Art of Music Production: The Theory and Practice (Fourth Edition) : Richard James Burgess, OUP, 2013

Richard J. Burgess, The Art of Music Production (4th edition), Oxford University Press (Publication date: August 2013)

Richard (Wikipedia page) provided a brief history of the book and described its journey through various publishers to its current home at OUP. He discussed the initial rationale for the book (from 1994) and the way its context has changed as the ‘album development timescale’ has shrunk over the last 20 years. He notes that the wrong choice of a producer can jeopardise an artist’s career – and states that he partly wrote it to correct what he perceived to be the unhelpfully poor producer selection by some A&R people.

The new book is substantially rewritten for a different context and climate. He notes the increasing loss of the apprenticeship system, commenting that some students leaving college are not coping well in the studio system, and he laments the lack of timescale to develop the necessary interpersonal skills in young producers/engineers. His own learning about the education system is reflected in the new edition. [Read more…]