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Johnbee58

Quietly She Sings

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I don't think the bass is too hot at all.  I think it's almost a feature instrument in this piece.  I really like what the bass line starts doing at 0:58.  Really adds movement to the arrangement.  I like how it then pulls back just a tad later on.

I might pull the vocals back a few db, but I'm being picky there.  The ending "heart", in my opinion, needs to be pulled back.  I think it would be nice to end the song a little more "delicately" if that makes sense.  An almost whisper-like vocal on that last word might even be cool there.

I enjoyed the song.  Nice writing/arrangement.

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John it's a nice arrangement. Listened to it on my headphones and to me the bass was too up-front. On my work speakers it's not as upfront, but on both I thought the piano needed to be more up-front. Love when the strings come in. And as I listened I was enjoying your playing. That's why the piano needs to be more up-front. To highlight your piano playing. Vocals could come down in spots.

Your vocals sound almost (I'm going to use someone else's description here because I think it fits) like your reading them from a page. Not from your head. Here's a part that sounds like your really relaxed and just letting it flow: that first line in the second verse "So much to say behind the curtain" and the next line that follows. Both lines sound relaxed and you can hear it in your voice.  Some of the other lines sound like you not sure.

Nice song. A shout out to George H 'My Guitar' ?

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Thanks MR & Grem!

The bass in the mix is kind of a boogaboo.  But I think I'm gonna cut it a bit anyway.  Like you've experienced, MR, it sounds different on different playback gear.   I did this mix on cans but I'm going back tomorrow and listen to it through my LSRs.  MR gave me an idea on the whisper thing I might try.  Not exactly what he suggests but something similar.  I have to be truthful here.  I'm not "playing" the piano.  I wish I was but I'm not that good.  I used the EZ Keys browser function, although I input my own chord changes with the help of a program called Scaler.  I wasn't consciously thinking along the lines of George Harrison's song when I did this, but that way of thinking could certainly apply here.  George's guitar weeps.  My "piano" sings.

🙂JB

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John I use EZ Keys too. Great program. I'll do the same thing, grab something I like from the browser and 'adjust it' to fit what I am going for. Also starting to use Band In A Box for the same thing. To just write stuff.

Ok so it ain't you playing, but put it more up front, it sounds good!! : ) You did fine job on the arrangement.

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Nice one John, enjoyed reading the lyrics while listening. :)

 

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John i like your song & the mix also,i can crank up the volume loud in my headphone & it's still sound good!!

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Posted (edited)

OK.  I made some changes to the mix and song.

I compressed the bass much more and the drums a tiny bit,  I changed the kick drum to a softer one.

I'm hearing an over compressed bass note at about 2:34.  How does it sound to you?  Does it stick out like a sore thumb?

I changed some of the string arrangement close to the end.  Added a whisper to the "and slowly fall apart" at the end.

Let me know what you think.

🙂JB

Edited by Johnbee58

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John
I didn't notice anything in the bass that stuck out in any particular way and I thought the strings worked nicely esp around 3:25 with the staccato notes.
Really like the ode to your piano theme. Lots of areas to explore with that and you came up with some good examples ("so guided to my direction" - nice).
Have to say too that your song structures are so different from what I'm used to - yours are loose and unconfined which works quite well with your lyrics and orchestration. Well done with that!

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 I think this is a better mix John. Piano does stand out more. I didn't hear a loud bass note at all. And I went back to the spot you pointed out and I still didn't hear anything.

The whisper I can't really hear. But together they are too up front. Maybe give the whisper some highs?  More hp filter? a little 1 -2db high self filter? 

This was both on the work speakers and my HP.

 

I saw your credits down at the bottom. : )

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Kloon, martins, bjorn, Doug, and Grem (again)-

Thanks so much for taking the time to listen and reassuring me that the mix isn't as bad as I was originally thinking.

@Grem- After listening to various setups I have at my disposal, I have to say I agree with you on the "whisper" assessment.  I'll have to revisit that next session.

😀JB

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Hey John - really good song, piano sounds good to me.  not hearing a problem with the bass, but you may have already made an adjustment before I listened.

please take this as constructive criticism and please don't take it personally, but your vocals are the weakest part of this song.  you're off pitch in several places and could use some breath support in most places.  I only say this in the best of intentions.  I was given some really hard to hear criticism several years ago and it has only made me better by learning to improve.  I hope that's how you take it as well.

nice song, well played instruments!  keep up the good work!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Beagle said:

please take this as constructive criticism and please don't take it personally, but your vocals are the weakest part of this song.  you're off pitch in several places and could use some breath support in most places.  I only say this in the best of intentions.  I was given some really hard to hear criticism several years ago and it has only made me better by learning to improve.  I hope that's how you take it as well.

 

Yeah.  I know I'm not a professional singer.  I just do this for fun.  I know my voice is terrible in this (as usual).  Try to look beyond that if you can and try to enjoy the song for what it is.  Just produced by an amateur who loves to make music, if that's possible.

I keep thinking that perhaps one day some company will come up with a software program that will allow you to create voices that you can make perfect and unique.  Then people like me who can't sing anymore but love to make music will be able to create songs and nobody will ever know of their "weakest link".  Cheating?  Perhaps, but we already have drum machines and keyboard programs some of us use to make us sound better than we really are.  I don't think I'll ever see it in my lifetime, so I'll just have to live with what I got.  Either that or give it up.

Thanks.

😀JB

Edited by Johnbee58

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Posted (edited)

John, if I might offer a suggestion, in one of my previous posts I pointed out to you where your vocal sounded relaxed. That sounded good. If you could take that part and expand on that style you are doing there, that would help.

And to do this will take practice, lots of it. All of us here that has learned an instrument (including the art of mix/mastering) has put in many many hours to learn and become better. The voice is an instrument also. It takes lots of practice to develop it just as much as a piano, cello, bass, or what ever. Give yourself a chance. I think you got it in you. All of us that has listened can hear it. Don't cut yourself short so quick. : )

Edited by Grem
Spelling of course!

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Michael is completely correct.  the voice takes as much practice as any instrument, and I certainly am not an expert vocalist, I have to train and practice constantly just to get to the level that I have.

I sincerely apologize if I have hurt your feelings.  even tho the voice is an instrument, it's the most personal one.  saying someone needs help with their singing is usually an insult and believe me I did not intend to insult you.  I only want you to take my comments and use them to learn to do better.  

you have the potential.  I am sincerely suggesting that you use that to make yourself better.

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1 hour ago, Beagle said:

Michael is completely correct.  the voice takes as much practice as any instrument, and I certainly am not an expert vocalist, I have to train and practice constantly just to get to the level that I have.

I sincerely apologize if I have hurt your feelings.  even tho the voice is an instrument, it's the most personal one.  saying someone needs help with their singing is usually an insult and believe me I did not intend to insult you.  I only want you to take my comments and use them to learn to do better.  

you have the potential.  I am sincerely suggesting that you use that to make yourself better.

Seriously, you didn't offend me.  I just wish I had it in me to be at least as good as you guys, or at least as good as I was even 10 years ago.  You said it was constructive criticism, and it is and it's good, but only for people who have potential, which I don't anymore.  I feel like Keith Emerson must have felt when he had to face not being able to play keyboards anymore.  I used to have a good voice and people told me I did.  Professionals told me I did. I took voice lessons in my 20s and my instructor told me I had a unique "lyric tenor".  But time takes away those things.  Somebody suggested voice lessons now and I looked into them.  But around here they get $30.00 a half hour, which is probably not unreasonably high for this day and age, but that's $120.00  a month.  I'm retired on a fixed income and my health insurance just doubled so voice lessons are out of the question.  There are really no options for me so maybe I should just stop embarrassing myself.  I like to write and create music and unfortunately, I'm the only "singer" I know.  I know you mean well and I appreciate it, but if I can't cut the mustard among just regular guys like on this forum there's no point.

🙂John B.

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Hey John, regarding your vocals.. on an honest note, I see you're discouraged but are in any case wrong about your potential to improve. Your voice actually has a very good tone, and your pitch absolutely *will* improve w/ some practice, I don't care how old you are. I mean, be glad you can hit those higher notes! A lot of guys can't anymore or never could. But, I can't stress enough how important attitude is. You say there's just no options for you in regards to voice lessons and just improving in general. Sorry, brother, that just ain't true. You just need to get yourself over to YouTube and take in all the free lessons on voice, breathing and everything else you can imagine, for free. I mean with free YouTube lessons, quite frankly you really don't need to pay for voice lessons if you choose the right teachers on there. Sure it's nice to have a personal vocal coach but you can do quite well on YouTube and a lot of people get their guitar lessons and any other kind of lesson from YouTube all day everyday for free and improve greatly as a result. I do that daily myself for just about everything from audio engineering to various instrument lessons, voice lessons, anything and everything. I mean YouTube is one heck of a resource and in this day and age would be the elephant in the room that you'd be ignoring. 

Check out the link below for Roger Burnley's channel. Tons of free videos on voice technique etc and he's just one of many great teachers on there who has helped me a great deal. Chin up dude. That song is dope by the way.. sad, pretty and dark which I like and I even imagined myself singing it.. 

Last thing I'll say is what I always say about myself; learn to make lemonade - that is, work to make any perceived shortcomings of yours lend themselves rather than hinder. For example, I have a really good voice, but my technique etc needs some work as I too have had a few setbacks in life that caused me to shelve things for a while, so I'm playing catch up now. It's all good though, because though I like singers like George Michael and that guy that sang for ABC, as it turns out I love punk rock too and my voice right now is at least good enough for that style, so I sing stylistically if you will w/ a bit of a punk attitude, but a punk who can actually sing, like Joey Ramone.

https://www.youtube.com/user/RogerBurnleyVoice

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Christian.  Your response is very encouraging.  I didn't know about the YouTube vids regarding vocal lessons but I'm going to look for them.  I'm also going to re sing this song.   Fact is, I love this song and it deserves a better vocal performance.  I think a lot of my problem is how I go about it.  First of all, I break a very important rule regarding singing-I sit down to sing!  Pros tell you NEVER to do that!  A vocal performance should always be delivered standing up.  But the reason this happens is because I use the DAW as a writing tool.  I sit and write the lyrics line by line and record them line by line.  This results in the sometimes "unsure" sound of how I want the melody.  What I should do is continue to do what I'm doing but only to write my words and craft my melody as a rough track.  Then when I'm sure how I want it (like I am now), set it up, rehearse it a few times and then record it proper, standing up with the full lyric sheet in my hand and concentrating on delivery as a whole instead of the line by line. I should do vocal warm ups before I record (which I don't bother with now).  I know how to do warm ups because I remember how from when I took voice lessons years ago.  In this way, I can utilize the valuable Comping tool available in CbB.  I CAN do this.  It's just that I'm always too much in a hurry to get a song out.   I take my time establishing the song up until the vocal track.  I should take this final step with the vocals to get them as good as I can.  

Thanks again for your tips

🙂JB

Edited by Johnbee58
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That last post John, that's the attitude!!

I do what your thinking of doing. When I write my song, and I get the melody down on a quick take so I don't forget it. Then I practice off that take. I call it a guide take. And when it gets a little better, I use the new and improved version as the new guide take!! And on and on. I usually get three to four guide takes before it's good enough.

But I didn't always do that. I was just like you and the vocals got the least amount of work because Iwas in such a hurry and wanted to hurry up and get it done.

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