Explain the step by step process of this assignment…
We started off deciding what we wanted to do since this was a very personalised summative. I noticed most students were deciding on doing a mashup and I was going to do that as well but after looking through how it works I found that I wasn’t confident enough in my GarageBand skills to create a proper mashup that flows, so I decided to create a song from scratch using both hand-played instruments and software instruments. After this, I did a lot of research into some of the things it takes to make a good song and found that I would not over complicate the ukulele aspect since without proper recording equipment and time it can be difficult to get it right. It was at this point school was cancelled and my family and I decided to travel to Sweden. I started putting together the chords and creating a beat/rhythm. I started by adding a drum track to gain some inspiration. When doing this I experimented with some clap sounds in the drum track but found that none of them hit right or fit in where I wanted them to. I then found I would have really liked to hand record the sound, making it more personalised, but because of the time constraints and lack of recording space/equipment, I instead used the software instrument and found they had a claps/snaps sound option. After recording a few different types of clap beats and snap beats I settled and I had pretty much set up the basis of the song. I then moved on to trying to find lyrics or a melody, since this was one of the things I had specified that I wanted to do for my project. When messing around with the chords and notes on the software keyboard I found a simple melody I wanted to use. I tried recording it both vocally and on the software and found that nothing sounded well enough, making this project, not as successful as I wanted it to be, but I am still happy with it since it is not bad for lack of trying.
Assess your success against your assessable criteria from your proposal…
My success criteria were as follows:
– Does this project use both software, and live recorded instruments?
Yes, I did live record my ukulele using a recording microphone I had home in Hong Kong before leaving. As well as this, I used a keyboard, bass, clap, and snap software instrument that I recorded using the software keyboard. For this assignment, I did not use any loops which I am happy with since it made it a lot more personalised.
– Does this project smoothly transition between the different areas of the song (verse, bridge, chorus, etc.)?
I found it did. I only ended up having two verses, one bridge and one chorus because I wanted to avoid the repetitiveness that is often found in instrumentals of popular songs. I did try really hard to transition between the verse and bridge to clearly sure it’s a different section of the music, and I did this by switching the order of the chords and cutting all the beats except for the claps, to have it still keep an aspect of the verse’s upbeat vibe.
– Does this project include a simple melody?
Unfortunately, the final product did not. I two entire classes worth trying to find the right software instrument to make it fits with the base instrumental or getting my brothers to be quiet so I could try and record it vocally but something always sounded off in the final product so I made the decision to cut it while being aware of the fact it was something I was fully intent on doing early on.
– Is this project between 1:00 – 3:00 minutes?
Yes. My final product ended up being 1:20 long, which I was fairly happy with. It was shorter than I might have wanted it to be but when looking at how it would be stretched out and how tedious the main chord progression would get after another 40 seconds I find the length is better shorter.
Evaluate your learning and new skills acquired.
I learned a lot more about chord progressions and finding chords that flow well throughout the research process of this assignment. I have had some experience with similar topics during my brief time learning piano, but I found it so much more fun being able to mess about on the ukulele until I found a fun chord progression I liked. I also learned a ton more about software instrument recording since most of it besides the drums and ukulele was based on it. I used piano chords to add fullness to the ukulele chords which I felt they lacked, allowing me to learn more about simple chords and how adding a C from the lower scale to a C chord could give it a subtle bass and changing the entire vibe of the chord.
What challenges did you face and overcome?
The main challenge was being away from class and Hong Kong. My lack of access to some of the resources I have in Hong Kong (whether it’d be a recording mic or simply being able to attend a video lesson for help or feedback) caused me to need to make a lot of compromises like the ones I have described in this reflection. I overcame this mostly just by instinct, for example, I knew cutting out the melody/lyrics was going against my own criteria and that having them could potentially make my finished product better if it was done properly. However, when listening to what I managed to put together I found the melody was rushed and sounded too digitally recorded and the recorded lyrics have background noise that was too apparent to overlook, I made the decision to cut it as I found it made the finished product better.