My Town

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VikingBlues
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My Town

Post by VikingBlues » Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:42 pm

I thought I'd share with you all the result of the free MOOC on-line course I took through Sheffield University. Billed as a course on song writing it was really a course on song arranging.
Lyrics were supplied on the course by a local Sheffield poet (Matt Black) and it was our task, while following the six weeks of lessons to arrange a song from them. We were allowed to make our own lyrics on the same subject (which was "My Town") but I got zero inspiration for my own and there was not really much guidance on the course on doing your own words.

Lessons were in video form and in addition to those done by the academic teaching staff there were also videos where songwriters in various genres talked about the subject.

A big plus for me was that Martin Simpson, my favourite acoustic guitarist, did a video at the end of each week showing how he progressed with doing the same as the students were on his version. At the same time intimidating (he really is very good) but also inspiring.

I ended up with my third and final arrangement mid way through the course - an essentially fingerstyle folk-ish song with the guitar in Csus2 tuning. (CGCGCD). With a bit of nylon string guitar and mandolin thrown into the arrangement, and the doubled up vocals I have to do in the refrain to beef up my voice.

It's on my old Soundcloud page, which I don't use any more as it was eating up too much of my free time. I did this as I needed to link it through to the courses own Soundcloud page. I think it worked out OK, but I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on it.

Here it is:-
:music1: https://soundcloud.com/vikingblues/my-town-3a

From this came the rekindled desire to try and write my own songs. I await to see if that wish is fulfilled! :icon_whoknows:
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

MichaelRobinson
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Re: My Town

Post by MichaelRobinson » Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:25 pm

Very nice. Youre voice fit right into the song. Over all it's a very nice and calm song. I like it............... :clap: :clap:

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12bar
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Re: My Town

Post by 12bar » Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:35 pm

You progress is amazing. This one sounds already very professional, the sus tuning adds an interesting color to it. Fantastic! :clap:
I prefer soundcloud over soundclick, because it works without flash, which I have uninstalled on my main PC.

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VikingBlues
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Re: My Town

Post by VikingBlues » Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:57 pm

Thanks fellers. :D

I enjoyed the course - it was simple enough for me and there was a mix of academic instruction and more practical advice from singer songwriters etc who make a living from performing music.

I did three versions of the song - a simplified one with heavily edited lyrics in DADGAD - a full lyrics version in standard tuning - and this one in Csus2.

The one in standard tuning was probably more "commercial" though for me it was rather too safe and predictable - that's the trouble with standard tuning as I find myself just using safe and well trodden chord progressions. I'm pleased you found the sus tuning made this final version added interesting colours Gerd - it was a major reason for me deciding to play it that way.
12bar wrote:I prefer soundcloud over soundclick, because it works without flash, which I have uninstalled on my main PC.
My problem with Souncloud was I ended up with a lot of followers and was following a lot of people. The result was a lot of time trawling through comments and answering them, and leaving comments for other peoples recordings. The result being no time to play music!
I do have some problems with the flash element myself. I do have to fairly regularly exit my browser and come back in as the flash player crashes.
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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Blindboy
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Re: My Town

Post by Blindboy » Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:22 pm

This is sweet! Lovely tones and the tuning gives a lush sound that isn't at all predictable.
Your acoustic explorations are certainly leading you to some interesting places.
I admire your songwriting abilities. I have had no luck it that arena, but I'm still trying to master just playing the blues. :roll:
"Throw yo' big leg over me Mama, I might not feel this good again!"

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VikingBlues
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Re: My Town

Post by VikingBlues » Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:58 pm

Thanks BB - your words encourage me greatly. :cool:

As for your comment on you're "still trying to master the blues" - well - that is a lifetime work I think and you're a long, long way down that road and with your own style too. In a lot of ways what I am trying just now is much simpler.

The tunings like the Csus2 I used here are, for me, a massive part of the process of getting a song that works. The sounds and resonances just help lead me to places I'd never think of visiting and they encourage melodies to pop into the head that don't go down the old well trodden paths.

It also, in this case, helped to see the end of the week videos on the course done with Martin Simpson. He talked about rhythm of the words and the music in week 1 and I was amazed at how the pieces of the jigsaw started to fall into place so quickly in arranging the music to fit the words (and vice versa). It was his book on open and altered tunings that got me into playing this sort of guitar and I find something about him as a teacher that's truly inspirational.
In case you've not heard him, and a lot of people haven't, here's a video link of him on resonator, various acoustic guitars and banjo, with a nice bit of Csus2 on guitar around the 6 minute mark:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAoQGSiVsy4

The large number of different chord voicings that become available in the tuning by utilising open strings make things interesting for me.For example the Csus2 chord:-
000000
002020
050000
000020
002000
000570
057000
057700
057770
000705
and that's just a few of them!
I ended up with chords like F6sus2 and Cadd2 by accident because I found them by accident and didn't know what they were until I looked them up on "Chorderator".

Here's what happened when I used standard tuning (complete with classical guitar and Uke Bass thrown in :big_smile: ) - the result being much more predictable in my judgement, and therefore less of an achievement. The only surprise is when I finish with an E Minor instead of the I chord!
https://app.box.com/s/ficihhrm380ikx9x8tfo2d7ydethk4t2
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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12bar
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Re: My Town

Post by 12bar » Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:15 pm

You sure have found your way to play guitar - thanks for the insight!
It sounds very melodic but without getting boring, these extra notes from sus2 or 4 always add a special color to it. :clap:

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Blackhorse
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Re: My Town

Post by Blackhorse » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:02 pm

Sounds great, catchy chorus, and some excellent melodies - I agree with 12bar, this style seems to suit you

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12bar
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Re: My Town

Post by 12bar » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:38 pm

I couldn't resist to take my open G strat and tune it to your tuning. Grapped my slide and failed - it's not a slide tuning.
But I tried to find some chord shapes and noodled a bit - it's really fascinating how it works. Maybe I'll take a closer look - it's great for ambient style music I need for my videos. :dance:

Searching for the unusual finger sets: :lol:


csus.mp3 - (1.29 MiB)


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VikingBlues
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Re: My Town

Post by VikingBlues » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:49 pm

Blackhorse wrote:Sounds great, catchy chorus, and some excellent melodies - I agree with 12bar, this style seems to suit you
Thank you - glad you liked it. :D It's really only my second attempt at a song arrangement using as much fingerstyle rather than strumming. Takes a lot more concentration for a good take on a recording though!
12bar wrote:I couldn't resist to take my open G strat and tune it to your tuning. Grapped my slide and failed - it's not a slide tuning.
But I tried to find some chord shapes and noodled a bit - it's really fascinating how it works. Maybe I'll take a closer look - it's great for ambient style music I need for my videos. :dance:

Searching for the unusual finger sets: :lol:
I liked the sound of that. :thumbsup: If you get hooked on open and altered tunings it does take over your life a bit - there's so many of them to try!

In the Csus2 tuning (CGCGCD low to high) accompaniment for the "My Town (3A)" song I used these chords (plus a fair number of accidental notes and a few runs). They might give you a few ideas for something of your own.
Verse:-
C : 000005 ------ G : x02020 ------ F6 : 550500 ------ G again
Am : x20202 ------ G : x02020 ------ C : 000005 and 000002
C6 : 000907 ------ Csus2 : 000705 ------ Csus4 : 000503 ------ Csus2 again... F6sus4 : 5500050 ------ Em : xx4445 ----- C : 000002
Chorus:-
G5 : 777070 ------ F6sus2 : 555050 ------ Csus2 : 0xx000 ----- Am : as above... G : as above... C5 : 050505 ------ C : 000545
see how different those last two chords (C5 and C) sound and doesn't that last one sound final! :cool:

A good help for working out the chords and scales in altered tunings is "Guitarator". Shows a range of chords you choose for any tuning. Also does reverse chords - you've found a combo of notes that works in a strange tuning - it'll tell you what chord it is. I've found it useful for converting noodling ideas into a structured known form. Not bad for $20.
An improv a day keeps the demons at bay!

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