A Musical Musingf

I’ve been in a music making funk and  a video creation funk – which, at this point, I’m probably just going to make some music slide shows and post my music like the good old days because the amount of time I’ve been slacking on recording video is ridiculous and I just want to get my music out at this point.  I’ve had a lot of half made ideas I’ve recorded, a lot of ideas with written lyrics with musical ideas forming in my head also, that I just haven’t gotten to recording and fleshing out.  And, I have to say, aren’t half thought ideas the worst?  I literally have about four melodies recorded and just can’t wrap my head around how to go about fully fleshing them out.  I record them regardless, because I hope to make them come of use one day:  I really just need to sit down with them, and get them done.  A major thing I always struggle with is whether to make a track have just music and lyrics, or just music, or just vocals and that’s honestly the snag that I’ve hit with another cover I’ve been working on also.  So basically, I think my brain needs to chill out XD

 

But anyway!  The mental snag I was having with this cover is that I was trying to make it more intense then I had to with instruments I think.  It’s a weird concept:  I’m taking a battle theme from a Final Fantasy, and seeing what I can do with it as a sadder, stripped down arrangement.  The initial chords of the track are really easy to pick out, and I’ve had the first chords and strings recorded for weeks:  I was going to record the main melody as piano, and then go into the second phase of the arrangement with all vocals, basically all a cappella with some minor instruments.  But that didn’t seem to mesh to me either.
Until it hit me:  Why not just do the main melody with all vocals, along with backing vocals as the intensity factor?  I have strings and piano recorded, and add maybe a tambourine or some jingles and just have a lot of vocal layers and see how that comes out, I think I’ll get more the effect I was going for.  I think I’m going to drop out the piano for the 2nd half of the arrangement, and only have strings:  or maybe an ascending or descending scale of piano with a ton of vocal layers, I think that would be good!  I find it funny because when I was making my Lufia cover I had this same dilemma:  I wanted to have a woodwind as the lead melody, and when I was playing back the track I thought my voice would sound better as the lead here (which honestly I find I do a lot lol – I guess that’s just the esthetic I like music wise).
But yeah, I’m going to try that, and see if finishing up that arrangement works out that way.  Still have to work on 2 videos (which like I said I may just make a picture slide show but still not sure).  But I reall hope my May funk doesn’t follow me into June, because I’ve really felt meh and not wanted to do anything productive this month ugh.

Song Writing Road Blocks, aka Some More Music Talk

I realized right after opening this up to type that my blog has been dominated with music related thoughts as of late, but it makes sense considering all of my free time has pretty much been dedicated to one of two things:  Reading novels or fanfic, or looking up, working on, or learning to make music.  Which has both been lots of fun, but somewhat frustrating when I want to apply certain things I’ve found to apply. Aka, another music post ahead, feel free to skip if that isn’t your thing XD

 

I’ve been having soooo much trouble trying to add lyrics to my originals!  Or rather, writing a song with lyrics.  When I go to cover a song it’s fine:  I just go off of the pre-existing song’s melody and structure, add lyrics if I want and work off of that.  The next cover I’m going to post is really interesting to me, because for a while I thought it was eh because the tone of it sounds so different than the original:  my rendition of it is definitely more folk, when the original is more medieval sounding.  I’ll be interested to see what people think of it when I post it honestly, it’s my first step into making something that I’d consider “my style” the stuff I’ve been doing lately is definitely along those lines, but I stuck to the structure of the original versions a lot more than with this one.

 

That track was pretty easy to make, I mean, I hit a few hurdles on the way, but I overcame them fairly quickly, and got this track done in two weeks give or take.  I…need to get better at recording video footage because at this point that’s really the only thing that holds me back from posting consistently.  But, I went on that mini tangent to say, it’s so much harder for me when it comes to forming something from scratch!  I feel like The Witching Hour was a fluke:  whenever I want to use chords to form a song, or even another track, my brain just hits a road block. I’ve recorded multiple beginnings of tracks, but my brain just can’t wrap itself around making a phase 2 or 3 of the melody:  or, I’m not sure if what I’ve made as the 2nd phase of the melody really counts as such sometimes.  And when trying to write lyrics with a song, don’t get me started!  I have no clue why it was so much easier for me to write songs with only my voice.  I have some old a cappella originals I did about a year or two ago that I’m tempted to redo because the mic quality is so bad haha.  But those came so much easier to me, and I have no clue why.  Over thinking, maybe?  There are a few of those old ones I want to restructure, because some are just too long or too wonky but once again, when I think of restructuring them, my brain draws a blank on how to do so.  I think I will make it a mini project of mine to retool at least two of those old tracks, along with fixing up some lyrics I’ve never used before to make them usable for a song because right now they’re the length of a poem and not really structurally sound to be lyrics.
To top it all off, there’s another “original” that’s just coming so easily to me, I don’t get it!  I put original in quotes, because it’s something I wrote based on a set of cards in Yu-gi-oh XD I wrote a bard’s song for the set of Gaia the Fierce Knight cards, and finally got to fixing up the lyrics, and fine tuning it and after fixing up the lyrics, the music is coming so easily in my head.  This one is another case of “Crystal, get off your butt and record the music already” because it’s basically completely formed in my noggin and I just need to get its parts recorded.  But once again, why does something like that come so easily, and an original not based on something not?  Over thinking again?  Too much pressure on myself when it comes to originals?

 

I really think I need to figure out what works for me song writing wise.  Maybe trying to come up with the chords first just doesn’t work for me, or maybe I should record demos of chord progressions with my voice and that could help?  But at the same time, sitting at the piano and noodling around for progressions just comes so easily to me, so like I’ve said multiple times this post I wonder what my road block for song writing could be when writing music with, and for pre-existing materials comes so much more easily.

 

Any song writers out there? Would love any advice!  I mean, I’m gonna keep trying, but blarg this is getting annoying XD

Getting Some New Jewelry Supplies Woo!

I decided to buy a few jewelry supplies lately, because I’ve been in the mood to make something.  I’ve been itching to try out this supplier from India for gemstones, but making a huge purchase from them initially make me uneasy, so I just did a small purchase to see how it’ll go.  I’m really hoping it pans out, because there are great prices on the site, and the stones are amazing!  Really good sizes for a lot cheaper than you’d buy in the states.  I mean, I know it’ll pan out, but I’m just one of those better safe than sorry people.  What I got was a big ocean jasper, a nice piece of onyx and a honey tourmaline which I’ve seen all as pretty expensive.  But on this store, it’s 2 dollars each!  Such a steal.  What I initially wanted to get was only 40 dollars for sooo many, so I’m super excited to see how using the will work.

 

I have a specific idea for both the ocean jasper, and the onyx.  I have some dagger, shield, and helmet charms I thought would work well with the onyx, and I have mermaid charms I may try and implement  with the ocean jasper.  For the tourmaline, I think I may try a rainbow braid around the cab.  I really need to work on wrapping some cabs probably though, I haven’t done so in sucha  long time.

 

 

I’ve really been into making more delicate looking pendants too, and I thought, I really wanted some chain to add to the dangly, delicate style I really enjoy making.  I’ve never bought bulk chain however, because of how expensive it is: but I figured, why not search on Etzy for a supplier, see what pops up.  I wasn’t expecting anything, but I found a bulk supplier that had 32 feet of cable chain for 8 dollars!  That’s such a great deal!  The supplier had some other great deals, like lobster claw clasps (I really needed some) so I picked up enough to last me a long while.  I’m definitely going to use them again, because all the deals are awesome, and they’re a US company which I love to support.

 

 

So yeah, excited to get my supplies!  I have been wanting to make something for a while, and excited to get some new supplies I haven’t used before.  The chain is the thing I’m most excited for probably, like I said I’ve never been able to find a good price I’d been willing to pay for it before and I’m so stoked to be able to use it in designs!  I really need to start taking pictures of my work again, I feel like my style has evolved a lot since the last piece of jewelry I’ve posted:  I actually do stuff with the cabs I wrap, implementing  said cab into designs instead of just wrapping the cab and being done haha.  I got less rigid with just using wire and gemstones and  use cord, charms and other things I wouldn’t normally use when I first started so long ago.  So long story short, I need to  take more pictures of my jewelry lol.

YouTube Views Experiment, Results and Closing Thoughts

A month ago I started a test where I started monitoring the views of one vide, without any video footage attached to it, and just using a still image.  I wanted to see if it would get the same amount of views in a month, as a video where I was on camera singing just to see if it makes a difference.  At the end of the month, Weight of the World wound up getting 78 views, as opposed to my Inuyasha medley having 194 views in a month.  But, I also posted 3 videos this month, and one the month I posted the Inuyasha video, so I feel like that may have to do with the view count as well – Inuyasha was the only video posted the month it was posted, so if new people came to the channel, that would be the first video to click.  Since I posted 3 this last month, I think my view count got split between those three videos (they all netted about 60-80 views – Inuyasha got 194 in the first month, but do the math and that’s about how many the 3 videos got per month).

 

There were so many variable’s to this experiment, I feel like it didn’t quite work.  For example, my Terra’s theme video has only been up a week, and already has 63 views.  That has me singing in it, along with the album art for the cover.  However, The Witching Hour, which is an animation video, also got a decent amount of views – 69 in a few weeks, and doesn’t have me on it at all.  Even Weight of the World, which like I said is a still image video, still got a lot of views in a month.  So I guess the end result of my experiment is…the video format doesn’t really matter?  When posting consistently I got the same amount of views on videos, but like I said I’m still getting more traction from the being on camera videos (Inuyasha medley went up by 30 views this month, Terra’s theme is new and got the amount of the other two videos in less than a week).

 

At the end of the day, I guess just keep posting videos, you’ll get views and subscribers.  My experiment wasn’t really a failure, just a bit of an eye opener:  If your music is good, people will listen.  I think the best thing to do is have a moving video format instead of a still one, though:  Like if I’m not on cam, use game footage, or animations, because I do notice I get a lot more traction from a video that has a moving picture aspect to it.  I didn’t take into account the popularity of the tracks I’m doing either, so like not sure if that goes into account also.

 

So TL;DR:  This experiment was a semi-success?  It helped me see what to keep on doing on my channel, and what not to do, so I suppose it worked well!
If you’d like to see any of the videos I’m talking about, head on over to my YouTube Channel and take a listen!

Two More Music Resources

Since I’ve hopped into the world of composing originals with instruments, I realize how different it is from arranging covers (and honestly, my cover arrangements could use some work too lol).  But in my bid to learn more about said composing, I found 2 awesome new music resources I figured I’d share!
The first is the Berklee College of Music’s YouTube Channel which is full of really easy to understand, really amazing videos.  They have short blerb like videos, and full blown seminar videos that I’ve learned so much from!  The teachers all talk in normal speak, and not some super confusing musical theory type of lingo, and overall they just make it sound so easy to make music.  They also have online classes, and degrees you can get if you’re interested!  This channel has made it really easy for me to learn:  for me, it’s a lot better than just picking a random how to write music video that litters youtube, because it’s an actual college so the instructors know more streamlined methods on how to teach music theory, and music composition.  Like I said, check it out if you’re interested in music, you won’t be disappointed!

 

Next up is Ongaku Concept which takes teaching music theory in a really interesting direction, that I’m crazy about.  Ever wonder how a certain video game track is made?  What makes a video games music tick?  Wanted to learn music theory, by hearing different modes of music described as RPG classes?  Ongaku concept is the channel for you!  This channel teaches music theory, and music composition through video game music.  There are “Let’s Compose” videos, videos explaining music theory through analyzing  specific game tracks (Mario, Pokemon, etc etc), and basic smaller videos on how to compose with different styles, different chord progressions, etc etc.  I’ve learned a lot from this channel and barely scratched the surface of its videos, so I highly recommend watching them if you’re interested in composing video game music, or in general just want composing tips.

 

 

I hope these resources can help any other aspiring music composers!  If you have any good resources, feel free to share in the comments!

YET ANOTHER Musical Revelation

Sometimes I feel like I go through the same revelations over and over again but with different aspects of it becoming more relevant to me at a certain point in time, because this definitely lines up with my play easy instruments and make them dynamic revelation I had a few months ago.  Either way, it’s coming up again, so time to blog about it!

 

While working on a recent arrangement, I wanted to mess around with guitar chords for it.  The guitar VST I got is…well, not that hot (it was really cheap so not surprised) and I started being like I need to learn some basic guitar chords grr grr I’ve had one just sitting around my house for years (seriously, I bought one in 2013 and have touched it maybe twice) when it hit me.
I really don’t want to learn to play guitar.

 

It’s not that it’s a bad instrument, I love the sound of it.  I just have this aversion to learning guitar, that I don’t have with playing piano.  To have a strings instrument to strings instrument parallel, I don’t have the same aversion to learning the mountain dulcimer – which is a beautiful sounding, folk instrument that you play like a piano.  It’s small, it’s simple, but something about how raw and Americana the sound is just speaks to me in a way that the guitar doesn’t.  Or rather, that learning the guitar doesn’t.

 

I can see myself using it for arrangements, when using guitar is something I have trouble integrating when I think about using it.  Will it be easy to integrate?  Probably not as easy as I think, but I’m far more open to learning to play the mountain dulcimer than I am the guitar, and I shouldn’t fight that.  I learned that the hard way with the recorder:  It’s a nice enough instrument, and easy to play, but at the end of the day I really wanted an ocarina, so why did I buy a recorder in the first place?  Well, I figured it would be easy to integrate also, which it sort of is but just haven’t found a reason to use it.

 

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re going to go the learn to play an instrument route, be sure it’s something you know you’ll really enjoy!  If you can, go play one at a music store, but if it’s inexpensive, why not just buy one and see how you like it?  Once again with the recorder, I would have always wondered if it was for me if I didn’t buy one.  The mountain dulcimer, you can purchase a starter one for 70 dollars or less, so no huge investment to see if I’d like it.  Plus, looking at how to play videos makes it look super easy, and it’s in my current comfort zone of instruments I’d feel comfy buying and playing.  The last instrument I wanted was a stringed one to get my folksy, indi, one woman band complete, so I think that stringed instrument is going to be the mountain dulcimer as far as physical instruments go.  For guitar and other things, I’ll just get virtual ones to use.  If only all of these were free, that would make my life easier~

 

I also know a few people who play guitar, so if I want something more authentic sounding I’ll just ask them to play for me.  In fact, I’ve done that for a cover I’ve been wanting to do for years, so I’m majorly pumped for that!