Semester B Project

Archive for March, 2017

Second Track – Cool Relax

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2017 by James Woodliffe

Over the last I have tried composing more material in a pop music style using different instruments. My typical go to instrument is a guitar, but for this project I’ve tried to move away from this and move towards VSTs and alternate instruments. For this song I wrote it on ukelele, using a fairly simple structure of: Chorus/Verse/Chorus/Verse/Chorus/Bridge/Chorus. The following link is a demo of the first take. I typically use demos to remind me of stylistic things I will add later on. Such as: the slightly distorted vocal effect throughout, the palm muting no chords at 2:40 will be bass drum claps and larger vocal section. The slight changes in vocal melodies to mix it up etc.

For this song I have tried very hard to follow Ryan Tedder & Max Martin’s approaches. For instance, making the verse and chorus similar enough melodically but having changes underneath. I will separate the sections out more with added instrumentation. I will focus heavily on the vocal tracks, add claps (“because, Church” – Ryan Tedder, 2014), bass drum, a bass line and potentially some keyboards.

The song’s tempo is roughly 95 bpm, sticking to the boundaries of the most popular danceable pop music (78-140bpm) This is a characteristic I have aimed to achieve as pop music is more successful if it is danceable. The song also features a cut off ending as Ryan Tedder suggests.

Vocal mixing

Posted in Uncategorized on March 9, 2017 by James Woodliffe

Using pop vocal tricks will help me achieve my learning objective of producing a Pop style. Learning tricks like this video will allow me to use the reverse reverb effect to bring the vocal in at the beginning on a section. The tutorial is using Logic Pro X the same as me, which makes it easy to follow and a useful tool.


Song Composition – Ryan Tedder

Posted in Song Research on March 7, 2017 by James Woodliffe

For research into pop music composition for this project I have been reading about the techniques of contemporary writer/producers. Ryan Tedder (sing of One Republic) is one of the most prolific writers in the current pop music market. He has written hits with Adele, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran etc.

“When you’re sitting at dinner with a bunch of people, and someone says: “What was that song from ninth grade?” they’ll always sing something like “da da daa-da, da da daaaa“. They don’t remember what the lyric is, but they remember the melody. What was the song? Solsbury Hill.” – Ryan Tedder, 2014

Interesting for me because lyrical content has always been as strong as melody with my own music. Obviously pop music relies heavily on the vocal melody, and not scrutinising lyrics as heavily will be a different experience for me. I will put more time into composing stronger melodies, which will most definitely be beneficial for me throughout this project.

“Hand claps, always. Why? Church.” – Ryan Tedder, 2014

Hand claps feature throughout most pop music and always will be a staple.

“In the modern era, you need a natural conclusion. The way people digest music now, they want a beginning, middle and an end. It’s hard to explain – maybe it’s Fast Food Nation, they just want it in a neat little package.”

An interesting philosophy for myself, but after listening to my listening list at the start of the project I am struggling to find a song that fades out. This music be a current thread amongst my music for this project.


Posted in Uncategorized on March 3, 2017 by James Woodliffe

Today David and I reviewed my first track (Jungle Fever). David appeared to like the track and suggested that I tighten up the beats, pushing the bass and treble of the track to make the beat stand out more and become more prominent within the mix. He also suggested using a sample kick drum to punch out the beat using side chain compression. Albeit the track does not have a vocal, which David suggested it is hard to judge without, he thought the track was what I should be aiming towards and to get a vocal down quickly to finish it off. He suggested that I record lots and lots of vocals, using Melodyne and appropriate reverbs to achieve LO2.

First Track – Jungle Fever

Posted in Written Tracks on March 1, 2017 by James Woodliffe

The first track for this project that I have pieced together is currently called “Jungle Fever”. It uses characteristics that Max Martin has suggested in pop music writing.

The track uses very few instruments that are looped together. The track was loosely based off of Ed Sheeran’s song ‘Shape of You’ which uses a similar sounding pipes sound There is currently no vocal track, but that will be recorded and performed over the top now the structure is arranged. As the vocal is the most important aspect of a pop song it will take precedence over the instrumentals in terms of production.