Archive for November, 2011
I sent this out as an email to clients not too long ago, but thought putting it up on the blog might be useful.
You may already know this, but a lot of holiday records are cut around June, July, and August in order to be sure everything’s complete in time for sales at Wal-Mart, and online, etc. (Bear in mind there are exceptions to this).
SO, that means you’ll want to have that Christmas song you’ve been working on ready to go by that time.
THEN, what do you do with it?
Well one place to consider going is to Justin Wilde, also known as “Mr. Christmas”. He’s known within the business as THE publisher and go to guy for Christmas and holiday music. And he’s got a great track record.
The link below is for submitting songs to him:
Justin Wilde Christmas Songs Website
Be aware, he will ask for all publishing on the song.
I recently asked him (via email) about HIS timeline for getting songs on Christmas albums, and he responded that because he chases several markets and they all have different deadlines, he is actually looking for songs 12 months a year.
Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you, maybe even a Christmas production!
This week’s modulation example comes from Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In the World)”.
The verse hangs out in the key of F# minor.
But then that chorus kicks in with a progression of G, to A, to B minor! What tweaks the ear so much (in my opinion) is the G chord being a 1/2 step up from the F# verse.
Note that having the key center of the chorus be B minor, which is actually the 4 chord in the key of F# allows us to get easily back to F# minor for the verse. Really nice!
The mod, or modulation (changing keys), in song arrangements has been around for a long time.
One of the more popular ways it’s been used (and maybe overused) is modulating at the last chorus, typically up a half step, or a whole step.
Celine Dion went to the bank doing this time and time again, most dramatically in her remake of “All By Myself” jumping up a minor 3rd at the last chorus! (Be careful using this idea in your song; only a few singers can sing this kind of range).
This week’s trick comes from Counting Crows’s song “Accidentally In Love” from the Shrek 2 soundtrack. The song actually features TWO different arrangement tricks, both of which may not have ANY application at all to what you do. (I.e. it may be that only an artist/band written song can get away with this).
The first trick comes within the 2nd verse where they interrupt the verse with a short 4 bar bridge before proceeding to the chorus. I file this under “whoa, what was that?”.
The second trick is not really a trick at all, but just a matter of placing the hook, or title, in the bridge after the 2nd chorus. Traditionally (as I’m sure you know) the title is placed at the beginning of a chorus, end of chorus, or end of verse (particularly in those A-A-B-A songs forms).
Anyway, there’s a couple more tricks for your arsenal.
So, as a producer/arranger, one of the things that grabs my ear are unique arrangement ideas. A lot of times, at least in pop music, where verse-chorus-verse-chorus RULES as a song form, I’m always curious about what’s being done after the 2nd chorus. Basically:
To have a bridge, or NOT to have a bridge; THAT is the question!
Here’s a great example from one of my favorite all-time pop songs, Semisonic’s “Closing Time”.
Listen to what happens after the 2nd chorus. Basically, there’s a four bar interlude up a minor 3rd, then the intro kicks back in for two bars (in the original key) before the melodic guitar solo starts up.
What they didn’t do was write a bridge before or after the solo. They also didn’t kick right into the solo after the 2nd chorus. Nice work Dan Wilson!