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Recording, composing... and mistakes

Discussion in 'Ask Janek Gwizdala' started by ras1983, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Janek (and everyone else actually),

    This is a little vague, but would you care to explain the process you go through when you are inspired and you are ready to compose a new tune? do you just start playing around with a melody, then record it when you have an idea that you like. Do you then chart the chords that accompany the melody, etc.

    What is the general process that you use when you feel that you have a musical idea that you would like to turn into a tune? Ive been playing around with recording and my macbook, and the process is a little all over the place at the moment.

    More importantly, what do you do when you inevitably make a musical 'mistake' while you're recording? Do you just leave it there and use it for further ideas?

    I'd be interested to see how other TB'ers approach composing tunes as well.
  2. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
  3. janekbass


    Jan 28, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Founder and CEO of http://janeksbassstudio.com
    Normally my process for writing starts with a melody, and then all the other aspects of harmony, and arrangement slot into place after.... I will always write down any ideas I have that I find interesting, and I have several manuscript books just full of short melodic ideas, transcribed melodies and fragments, and dozens of chord progression ideas. When I come to start building new compositions I'll draw upon this material as compositional vocabulary to piece together songs and arrangements. I'll always chart them out once I have the rough structure together, and then present them to the musicians I've written them for.

    When I'm recording I move into a zone of concentration that suits the studio, and is completely essential - especially in pressure situations where you might only have time for one take of something. To minimize mistakes I make sure my reading chops are always together so that if the session requires that I'm on point and can play in a relaxed and efficient fashion. If the session is more song based where I'm coming up with the part or am maybe the producer or arranger on the date there will be plenty of time to get comfortable with the material before it comes to actually recording music you're going to be committing to tape. There are of course mistakes made in the studio, but that's what second and third takes are for...... and of course, in this modern age of digital recording, there are numerous ways to just punch in whatever it is you've played wrong. I guess the main thing I would suggest is to make sure that making a mistake in a take of a song doesn't put off your vibe for the rest of the tune. Just be able to keep living in each moment and let go of any mistakes you make as soon as you can. I think that's what we do when we play live..... you make a mistake from time to time, but half a second later it's gone and you're on to the next thing. The studio is no different in that sense.

    Just remember that playing in the studio and creating songs that are going to live on record forever is an art in itself. There definitely is a whole other set of parameters to deal with, and I think the more recording you can do the sooner you'll find your place in the studio, and know how you work the best in those kind of situations.


  4. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    I'm always recording little snippets into my phone's memo recorder. That way, I can transcribe later. I've never really gone into a studio situation where the music wasn't already worked out and rehearsed, though.

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