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#652031 04/17/21 12:56 PM
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Neverland
The second to the right
And straight on until the morning
The paths we knew
From the stories from so long ago

Bright pennies in a box
A ring missing the stone
All the places I'd hide
When I wanted to be all alone

The time has come to put away
These childish things (These childish things)
No shoes, ship, no sealing wax (Shoes, ships, sealing wax, no kings)
And no kings, no kings

[CHORUS]
But like the sea sings out softly to the sand (Softly to the sand)
I still hear the call of Neverland (I still hear the call "Neverland")

An old stuffed rabbit in a field
Telling others he is real
Although not flesh and blood
Become real because they are loved (Loved, they are loved)

The stories end
My childhood friends (My friends)
All are put away (All put away)
Safe in a place where I used to play (Say goodbye)
Just yesterday

Neverland - Female Lead
Someone on the Synthesizer V forum wondered what this would sound like with a female lead, so I put together another version. The range was a bit high, so I altered the melody a bit.


The Band
Bass, Electric, Country Ev 065
Guitar, Electric, Soloist CountryPopBrent12-key Ev 085
Guitar, Acoustic, Strumming Ev 085
Guitar, Acoustic, Fingerpicking Ev 085
String Quartet, Rhythm PopHall Ev 085
NashvilleEven8^1-a:Sidestick, HiHat , b:Snare, Ride

Vocals: Synthesizer V, Eleanor Forte (Lite)
Wooden Flute: Embertone Jubal Flute

The Processing Chain
Lead Vocal: Synthesizer V (Eleanor Forte Lite) -> Nectar 3 Elements -> Greg Wells VoiceCentric
Lead Vocal FX1: Aturia Rev PLATE-140
Lead Vocal FX2: Nectar 3 Elements -> SketchCassette -> NI Raum
Harmony Vocal: Synthesizer V (Eleanor Forte Lite) -> ReaEQ-> Greg Wells VoiceCentric
Bass: ReaEQ -> Waves Renaissance Bass -> Scheps Omni Channel
Drums: Sunset Sound Studio -> ReaEQ -> Ghz Vulf Compressor
Guitar1: EZMix -> ReaEQ -> BlockFish compressor
Guitar2: EZMix -> ReaEQ -> BlockFish compressor
Piano: EZMix
String Quartet: ReaEQ -> SketchCassette -> Raum -> BlockFish compressor

Short Version
I apologize in advance for using a synthetic voice. My goal here is to get more songs written, and using the Synthesizer V is just a means for speeding up my workflow. If I was singing on these, they'd take much longer to finish!

As usual, all comments welcome! laugh

The Backstory
This was built aroung the demo song for _GETAMP.STY. It caught my ear because it a sort of '70s Los Angeles sound, so I figured I could do something in the vein of Jackson Browne/Warren Zevon sound. That's one of the reasons I put in the diminished chords I'd pilfered from Browne's "Sleep's Dark And Silent Gate". (Spoiler: This song is nothing like something Jackson Browne or Warren Zevon would write. Maybe next time... in my dreams).

It's also mostly in a minor key, which has a really nice sound - to my ears, anyway - but combined with the slow tempo, I had some misgivings. But it was too late to change, because I'd already committed to the track.

Once I built the backing tracks in BiaB, I brought that into Synthesizer V and started working out the melody line. Recalling prior songs that didn't seem to have any internal consistency, I tried to repeat melodic elements.

"None But The Wind" was the working title, which seemed like a cool title. Prior experience told me that there was zero chance of that happening, but hey... hope springs eternal. (Spoiler: that's not the song title).

The song was basically three repetitions, clocking in at 4:55, which was way too long. I added a climb to the final verse, and listened a couple more times, and then cut out the middle verse. Shorter, and far less words I'd need to write. Great success!

I'd been listening to my prior songs, and wasn't terribly happy with the intros. I decided to give this one a short two bar intro, but ended up cutting that out as well. Another win!

Then came the hard part - lyrics. I listened to some Jackson Browne and Warren Zevon, and then wrote a bunch of derivative and dodgy lyrics.

Lather, rinse and repeat. This repeated for about a week and a half - lots of lyrics but no idea behind them.

I finally wrote a few lines that seemed to stick to the notes I'd written. From there, I was "inspired" to borrow heavily from the following books in the public domain. Bonus points if you noticed!

  • Peter Pan
  • Alice In Wonderland
  • 1 Corinthians
  • The Velveteen Rabbit

Before anyone says otherwise, the opening line from the song is from the book "Peter Pan", and not the Disney film. Yes, I'm that scared of Disney's laywers. And yes, although "Peter Pan" is granted a permanent copyright in England, that's not the case in the United States. wink

Everything went into the DAW at this point, and I try to make some sort of arrangement. The backing track I've been listening to has the piano placed prominently in the foreground. It's a cool part, but by the time I've settled with which instrument gets to be heard, the piano gets few parts. (Shed a tear of the poor piano player - it really was a lovely part).

When it was time to add the harmonies, I'd come to rather like the solo voice. But there were some places at the end that were crying out for some echoes, so I figured I'd add them and see what happened. But of course, I started adding harmonies at the beginning and moving forward. I'm glad I did, as I'm overly pleased with the results.

I had always intended to do a string fade outro, but using the Jubal Flute meant less work. laugh

My son helped a lot with the final mix. One thing new is the use of Renaissance Bass from Waves. My son always complains that the BiaB basses are too low and lack midrange. As a result, mixes don't always translate well. In theory, it should add a bit of midrange and work better on smaller speakers.

(He also complains that BiaB puts in too many tom fills, but I didn't do anything about that).

The vocal is a bit compressed, and perhaps a bit loud at the top of the climb. But it's time to post it and get some feedback.

And yes, the mismatch of number is intentional here. I may rewrite in the future:

An old stuffed rabbit in a field <-- Singular
Telling others he is real
Although not flesh and blood
Become real because they are loved
<- Plural

Thanks for reading this far! Now I can get back to listening to what other people have written! laugh


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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First of all, a very good song!

I enjoyed the lyrics, and the music sounds great too. Vocal's are mixed well.

Nice arrangement, I especially like it when you bring in the second voice, very effective.

Enjoyed, listened a few times.

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It's well worked out, David. Good melody.

Vic

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Ditto what Dave said. Very cool song. That vocaloid just blows my mind. Cool and lyric and the bass lines was very cool as well


Scott Collingwood
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https://soundcloud.com/spiritlevel-ca
https://www.youtube.com/@SpiritLevel-ge3hm/
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Another very cool production. Your stable of talent hasn't let you down yet. Very soon we won't be able to distinguish between AI and human voices, I suspect. You are on the cutting edge. The lyrics are out of this world. For example, the chorus:

"But like the sea sings out softly to the sand (Softly to the sand)
"I still hear the call of Neverland (I still hear the call "Neverland")"

That's beautiful imagery. Bravo!

"An old stuffed rabbit in a field
"Telling others he is real
"Although not flesh and blood
"Become real because they are loved (Loved, they are loved)"

That's almost as if it's the AI vocalist telling us about herself - "hey, if you love me then aren't I real?" Very cool, a little bit scary, but it is the future coming our way.


My music can be heard at: The Cracks
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I personally think (and this is just an opinion) that if you're going to go for a synthesized voice you might was well go full fledged and go with the DAFT PUNK or Autotune sound. I think it will give your song more presence and make it more commercially viable. I think the songs are very very good and have a nice glide but the artificial voice throws it off because it's too obvious and almost doesn't sound intended. :-) I hope that doesn't sound too crazy.

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Our two immediate impressions...

- That is one cool thought provoking write ... so many great lines.

- The harmony and call/response vocals are your best.

Upon several listens...

As Janice said, "that is a really good melody!"

All of the band components sound excellent and very cohesive. The mix is spot on.

Thanks for the processing chain. We like to read them.

And your backstory of the trials, tribulations and celebrations of the production journey are always an interesting read!

J&B

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David,

This is an absolute treat . . . love the write, accentuated by a lovely melody. Just a really cool and interesting listen—so much going on here melodically and harmonically that grabs the ears. The song would soar that much higher with a true vocal . . . but impressive nonetheless what you do with the synth voices. Great work on this, David. Sweet sounding!

Kindest regards,

Deej

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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: BlueAttitude
First of all, a very good song!

I enjoyed the lyrics, and the music sounds great too. Vocal's are mixed well.

Hi, Dave.

Thanks! laugh

I'm getting used to the idea that it's OK for songwriting to hard work.

I'm glad you liked the song! Mixing harmonies is still new to me, as I end up liking the counterpoint that I sometimes forget that it's not the lead. So I've got a ways to go here.


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: vicarn
It's well worked out, David. Good melody.

Thanks, Vic!

I appreciate you taking time to listen and comment.


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Scott C
Ditto what Dave said. Very cool song. That vocaloid just blows my mind.

Hi, Scott.

Yeah, it's not quite ready to replace people, but for the purpose of demoing the song, it's pretty awesome. I really do wish there were a male English voice available, but I guess I can always put my work into my own vocal synthesis project if I really want an English male vocal.

Oh, the things I do to avoid hearing myself sing! wink

Quote:
Cool and lyric and the bass lines was very cool as well.

Thanks!

And thanks for noticing the bass - there's a lot of stepwise motion for the bass, and I think it worked out well.

Honestly, I didn't really hear the details of how BiaB embellished the bass until it got into the DAW and my son (a bass player) worked on the mix. Of course, the first thing he did was crank up the bass, which led me to do something I don't do often enough: compare it with an actual reference track. wink

Glad you enjoyed listening!


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: jptjptjpt
Another very cool production. Your stable of talent hasn't let you down yet. Very soon we won't be able to distinguish between AI and human voices, I suspect. You are on the cutting edge.

Hi, Sean.

Thanks! I think the Synthesizer V is certainly a step up from Vocaloid. I've heard some very good tech demos of singing synthesis, but I'm not sure how far from the commercial market they are.

I suspect that the voice I'm using here is actually more a beta version of the voicebank. I think it was the first one that was released. Kanru, the developer, had initially focused on creating an English voicebank for the UTAU.

But since most of the money is in the Asian market, there hasn't been that much focus on getting additional English voicebanks completed. That's a smart marketing move, but a bit of a bummer.

There's an update to this voice scheduled for this Summer. I'm looking forward to hearing it.

Quote:
The lyrics are out of this world. For example, the chorus:

"But like the sea sings out softly to the sand (Softly to the sand)
"I still hear the call of Neverland (I still hear the call "Neverland")"

That's beautiful imagery. Bravo!

Thanks! I've been promising myself that I'd use more alliteration in my songs, and I finally remembered to do it here. I can't take full credit though - I was thinking of Poe's "To One In Paradise" when I wrote that:

Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore


Quote:

That's almost as if it's the AI vocalist telling us about herself - "hey, if you love me then aren't I real?" Very cool, a little bit scary, but it is the future coming our way.

Yes, the irony of having a synthetic voice singing the line wasn't lost on me, either. wink

Thanks for you detailed comments!


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: Henry Clarke
I personally think (and this is just an opinion) that if you're going to go for a synthesized voice you might was well go full fledged and go with the DAFT PUNK or Autotune sound.

Hi, Henry.

You're right about that.

But I'm really just using the voices as a means to produce more demos songs. I wrote zero songs with lyrics last year, and my goal for this year was to write more songs. One of the sticking points is the amount of time I labor over lyrics, and the conditions in my house are less than ideal for recording.

I've updated my post to make that more clear.

Quote:

I think it will give your song more presence and make it more commercially viable. I think the songs are very very good and have a nice glide but the artificial voice throws it off because it's too obvious and almost doesn't sound intended. :-) I hope that doesn't sound too crazy.

I agree there are issues with using the synthetic voice with this type of song. By the nature of the singer that was chosen, as well as the resynthesis algorithm, the voice has particular tendencies, and working against a singer's strength (real or artificial) never gives the best results.

Plus, I also only have a passing familiarity with the genres that uses synthetic voices. I really should spend more time listening to contemporary styles and broadening my musical tastes.

I appreciate the positive words about the songs. Next year, I intend to revisit these songs and see how I feel about getting a real vocalist on them. I'm not after the commercial market, but I think there may be some songs that will deserve a remix.

And maybe my goal next year will be working on "real" vocals. laugh

Thanks!



-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
Our two immediate impressions...

- That is one cool thought provoking write ... so many great lines.

- The harmony and call/response vocals are your best.

Thanks! I'm very happy how this turned out. Then again, part of that is just relief that it finally got finished. crazy

One of my had habits is writing melodies that don't have room to breath. So one of the things I'm trying to do is add some more space in the melody.

Fortunately for me, I think that translated in spots to add the harmony when I finally got around to writing it.

Quote:
Upon several listens...

As Janice said, "that is a really good melody!"

Thanks! smile

The nice thing about starting with the melody first in Synthesizer V (or a DAW) is that you can run through it again and again, and edit it so it's got a nice flow. Most good songwriters just do this naturally, but honestly, I don't have the memory to hold all that in my head. So working it out by drawing notes and dragging them around on the piano roll editor works well.

When I play the melody in from the keyboard, I tend to "think" pianistically, if that makes sense. Not that I'm any good at playing piano, but piano idioms just sneak in when entering music that way. So drawing notes with my mouse is tedious, but it gives me time to think about what I'm doing.

Of course, the curse of doing it that way is that adding words to those notes can be stupid-hard to do if you're me. wink

Quote:
All of the band components sound excellent and very cohesive. The mix is spot on.

Thanks for the processing chain. We like to read them.

Yeah, I appreciate seeing what other people are doing as well.

I mean, I know the reasons your mixes are so good is because of your skills, but that doesn't stop me from wondering if I should perhaps pick up the CLA stuff and hear how it sounds on my drums.

Quote:
And your backstory of the trials, tribulations and celebrations of the production journey are always an interesting read!

And that's just the editing version!

Thanks for the positive comments! It's especially meaningful because Janice has great harmonies, and you've got stellar mixes.


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: Deej56
This is an absolute treat . . . love the write, accentuated by a lovely melody.

Hi, Deej.

Well, that's music to my ears. smile

Quote:
Just a really cool and interesting listen—so much going on here melodically and harmonically that grabs the ears. The song would soar that much higher with a true vocal . . . but impressive nonetheless what you do with the synth voices.

Thanks, I appreciate that.

At this point, I'm just trying to hone my songwriting skills. I would like to add real vocals to some of these at some point, but I realize that would require completely re-doing the songs, as they'd need to be pitched to the singer's range.

That's completely viable in BiaB. Plus, by the time I get back to the songs, I might have other ideas about how they could be arranged. wink

Glad you stopped by to comment!


-- David Cuny
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David,

This is a really good song. Love the backstory as well.

These voices are getting better and better with each tune. I admire your skills - really quite amazing.

Excellent work and progress.

Bob

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The lispy vocaloid returns! smile

I have this image in my mind of a band of primitive, not yet sophisticated, androids are playing this song in a bar. This song would work for that scene.

Lovely melody. Clean production.

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Hi dcuny,

I enjoyed your well-written lyrics. Very interesting this research in the double voice which goes wonderfully well. The singer's voice appears less synthetic than the singer. Nice demonstration through a nice melody. Well done.

Kindly regrd
Derochette
alias JanijackFlash


Kindly regards
Derochette
alias JaniJackFlash
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Originally Posted By: rsdean
This is a really good song. Love the backstory as well.

Thanks, Bob! smile

Quote:
These voices are getting better and better with each tune. I admire your skills - really quite amazing.

I appreciate the compliment, although I suspect that perhaps you're just a bit more acclimated to the synthetic voice. wink

Thanks for listening!


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: Ezekiel's Storm
The lispy vocaloid returns! smile

Only in some places, although I suspected you'd hear it!

Since the /S/ is one of those sounds that can be successfully grafted to the front or end of a word without much damage, I should probably get around to correcting that.

Quote:
I have this image in my mind of a band of primitive, not yet sophisticated, androids are playing this song in a bar. This song would work for that scene.

Sort of like the collection in the back of the Jawa's sandcrawler?

Quote:
Lovely melody. Clean production.

Thanks! smile


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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