Project Genesis – Crit B/D

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.

Project Genesis – Criteria Aii

Link of Research:

What Information are you using:

– Ukulele chord progression: what chords go well together when creating a chord progression, listed scales that fit for different moods. – Motifs: how to use motifs to make a song catchy/memorable.
– Song form: Planning the Verse, Bridge, Chorus, etc. Figuring on song pattern (like AABA)

Link of Research:

What Information are you using:

How best to record ukulele: Things like mic placement, room preparations (like size and carpeting to improve acoustics) and computer settings in GarageBand to successfully edit it.

Link of Research:

What Information are you using:

How to connect an external microphone to a Mac & GarageBand: How to choose your audio gear (Ones I already have at home) and what settings in garage band work best for different instruments used.

Link of Research:

What Information are you using:

– Lyric Writing: How to get inspiration, using poems (mainly limericks) and how cliches can be positive or negative.
– Chord Progression: Choosing the right scale for your song, and what basic chord progressions complement each other.

Project Genesis – Criteria Ci

What is the goal for your assignment?

My goal for this assignment is to write/produce an original song. I would like to use a mix of software instruments, live/hand-played instruments and possibly vocals. I will be trying to achieve a positive, lighthearted song with a fairly simple melody and meaning behind it (if I end up adding lyrics).

Why this project?

I chose this project because the modern production of songs has intrigued me for a while. I am curious to see if my newly acquired GarageBand skills will help me create something even loosely resembling the type of music I like listening to on a daily basis. I’m also eager to use GarageBand is a new way, focusing on using the structure of a proper song (verse, bridge, chorus, etc.) rather than repeating loops. Although it may be difficult, I want to try and involve a recording of simply played instrument (ukulele/piano) to try and challenge myself while still letting me dabble in something I enjoy.

Outline/Process (Steps) to Achieve Goal.

1. Find inspiration/research (Listen to different songs)
2. Put together loose version of verse 1 (chords, strumming pattern, possibly lyrics)
3. Put together loose version of bridge (chords, strumming pattern, possibly lyrics)
4. Put together loose version of chorus (chords, strumming pattern, possibly lyrics)
5. Put together loose version of verse 2 (chords, strumming pattern, possibly lyrics)
6. Put together loose version of bridge 2 (chords, strumming pattern, possibly lyrics)
7. Translate into ukelele and GarageBand (find chords on ukelele & software instruments + beat on GB)
8. Record (ukelele & software instruments) 9. Editing (maybe include loops if fitting)

What do you hope to learn?

I hope to learn more on GarageBand related to creating something original. Although we have focused on making loops more unique by editing them, but I am more curious in what tools they offer that can be found in a proper music studio other than the ones we have learned about. I also am curious about how to record hand played instruments best, both in terms of recording software, and how to edit it to sound like a proper track.

What are the criteria you will use to self assess the success of your product?

– Does this project use both software, and live recorded instruments?

– Does this project smoothly transition between the different areas of the song (verse, bridge, chorus, etc.)?

– Does this project include a simple melody?

– Is this project between 1:00 – 3:00 minutes?


Sounds of CDNIS



The process of this assignment started off with the unit being introduced to us, and us looking over some past examples. We got to learn how to use plugins before, but it was helpful to get to see how some past students used them to transform their sounds. We then proceeded to go out around the school and record some noises to edit. These sounds consisted of anything, like a water fountain running, a bouncing ball, or even a student or teacher talking. We then moved on to the challenge of editing the sounds using the plugins we had learned about. It was interesting to hear the simple sounds transform and allowed everyone to make sure their final product was unique. After this part, we had filmed our screencast for our Criteria C assignment, where we went over what plugins we used and showed the results of those plugins. Finally, we started working on putting our final 2-minute project together. This was the most fun step since we got to explore different ways the sounds we made could blend into some of the loops and software instruments. It allowed us to figure out what type of instrument/sound part our edits would make, for example, if it would act as the main melody or part of the beat/base. After finally completing the track, we ended up submitting the project as a link to the blog post we had uploaded the MP3 onto.

Discuss your CDNIS sounds and how useful they were for your end product.

My original recorded sounds were: knocking, a glass being tapped, a water bottle lid is popped off, and a student saying “what’s up man!” and laughing. These were the sounds I chose because I thought they could be edited into proper baseline tracks, giving me an opportunity to play around more with the melody using software instruments and loops. Other than that, I also thought that using the voice recording I could edit it to replicate the type of repetitive, electronic chorus that is found in some styles of modern music. When looking at my end product I found that the most useful/noticeable sound used was the speaking. I had edited it to be very echoey and electronic so that I could cut it into smaller pieces and use singular words at some point without it seeming short or unfinished since the echo gives a fuller feeling in my point of view. This sound became apparent throughout the entire track and different parts were repeated and placed throughout the track as well as the full recording of speaking having been placed less times throughout so to bring it back to the beginning of the track. The water bottle opening sound was also found to be useful I think. It only appears at the beginning of the song, but it was the first part I put together and plays a big part in building the beginning. The next sound that played a role was the knocking. This also was not used as heavily as the first sound talked about but was clear since it was used in areas where no other tracks were heard other than the drum track. It simply just added another beat and I feel it did improve the song and made it sound more full than before it was added. The final sound was the glass tapping. This sound was used a good amount throughout the track. Although it wouldn’t be easy to point out the first time the song is played through, it would be noticeable if it was removed. It adds another beat to the entire track and would leave an empty space in the song if it was taken out.

Evaluate your learning and new skills acquired.

Throughout this assignment, I learned a lot about how to use garage band, more specifically how to use the plugins. I had no experience with this part of garage band before but after being introduced to it and getting a chance to experience with the different settings I now feel comfortable using them more often on projects like this. I also learned how to use software instruments to record melodies or notes using my keyboard. This is a helpful trick to know for future projects because it allows me to try and create any track ideas I have if I am not able to find a loop that fits it well enough. Overall, every part of this project process allowed me to learn something new about GarageBand and how to use some of the more useful tools to create a unique piece. This will all help me in future projects and my understanding of modern music and how it is created.

What challenges did you face and overcome?

The biggest challenge for me was finding a way for my track to be less repetitive while still being consistent (not changing completely halfway through). I feel like I overcame this challenge to the best of my ability by using the same tracks, but varying the pattern I put them in. This kept it changing and listeners would hopefully find this will make it more entertaining and fun. Another challenge I faced was not knowing how to use plugins, but this problem wasn’t apparent for long since we learned what each one’s purpose and how to install them to our sounds.