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The Time It Takes

I've spent too many nights alone
crying in the dark
wondered how I'd live without you (Live without you)
alone (Alone)
all alone
with nothing but these memories (Alone with memories)

But now
Every day
I smile a little more
I see the light that shines (Light shines through the door)
through a slowly opening door
feels like someone
finally let in the sun (Let in the sun)
and a new day's begun

I can breathe again
I'm coming out of Nowhere Land (Nowhere Land)
didn't think I'd ever find (Think I'd find)
the strength to start (To start)

I'm on my way back (On my way back)
'Cause I can understand (I understand)
the time that it takes (Time it takes to mend my heart)
to mend a broken heart

Something's changing in my heart (Something is changing)
I'm safe here in the dark
I know that I can live without you
Alone (Alone)
all alone (Alone)
You're nothing but a memory

I've closed this chapter in the book (Closed this book)
my future lies before me
I'll write a different story (Stories change, so do you)
without you
without you (Without you)

I can breathe again (Breathe again)
I'm coming out from Nowhere Land (Nowhere Land)
Didn't think I'd ever make (Make a start)
a brand new start

I am letting you go (I let you go)
Now that I understand (I understand)
the time that it takes (Time it takes)
to mend a broken heart (To mend my heart)

Finally let you go (let you go)
Now I understand (understand)
The time that it takes (The time it takes)
to mend a broken heart (To mend my heart)

The Instruments
Bass, Electric FunkHalfNotePulseSync Ev16 100
Piano, Acoustic, Rhythm Soul60sHeld Ev 110
Drums, FunkHalfNotePulse
Piano, Acoustic, Rhythm Soul60sHeld Ev 110
Loop, HipHop\Old School - ush105c drums ev8
Guitar, Electric, Rhythm JazzFunkGroovinChords Ev16 110
Guitar, Electric, Rhythm Soul70sWarmA-B Ev16 100
Guitar, Acoustic, Strumming Syncopated Sugar Ev 102
Piano, Acoustic, Rhythm Soul70sHeld Ev16 100
Guitar, 12-String Acoustic, Fingerpicking FolkRock Ev 100
Piano, Electric, Rhythm, SmoothPoppy Ev16 090 (Held Chords)
Piano, SynthLayer, Rhythm Soul70sA-B Ev16 100 (Held Chords)
Piano, Electric, Rhythm JazzRockHeld Ev16 100.WAV (Held Chords)


The Signal Chain
Lead Vocal: Synthesizer V - Eleanor Forte Lite -> Vulf Compressor -> Neutron 3 -> VoiceCentric -> Spitfish De-esser
Lead Vocal Ambience: EZ Mix (Studio B Reverb)
Harmony: Synthesizer V - Eleanor Forte Lite -> VoiceCentric -> Sunset Sound Studio (Studio 3 Chamber)
Bass: BootEQMkII EQ ->ReaComp Compressor
Drums: Vulf Compressor (2 Bus Glue) -> Sunset Sound Studio (Live Room Studio 3) -> Vulf Compressor (Old School Crunch) -> BootEQMkII -> ReaEQ
Drum FX: Raum Reverb (Clap Raum)
Loop: Vulf Compressor
Rhythm Electric: None
Strummed Ac. Gtr: EZMix2 (Guitar 2 compressor/EQ)
Piano: JS Tremolo
12 String Gtr: EZMix2 (Guitar - EQ shape)

Short Version
Comments welcome! laugh

Way Too Many Words
I thought that I'd have a go at a J-Pop sort of song. I'm not really that familiar with the style, so I did some research via Google. I found a number of YouTube videos, and among other things, they suggested chord progressions along the lines of:

  • IVmaj7 V/IV iii7 vi7
  • IV V7 III vi
  • IV III vi ii V
  • IV V7 vi

Armed with this information, I searched through the BiaB demo styles until I found the style _KPJAZZY Demo - Jazzy Soul K-Pop. I suspect that the drum loop was one of the main reasons I picked the style, although I didn't really notice there was a loop at the time.

I was hoping to find something a bit more electronic pop in the styles, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of that - even in the MIDI section.

I remember one interview I read where the author said that JPop had long chord progressions, which is pretty much what I do anyway. But with virtually no listening done for research, I can guarantee that this will not sound like authentic JPop. wink

With a basic backing track, I opened up SynthV and put together a melody. It didn't really have a strong chorus, and it ended in on a minor, but I figured I'd trust the process and go with it. Two times through the song clocked in at a bit under 3 minutes, which was good because there were already a lot of notes to be given lyrics, and I didn't relish the idea of an extra-long song with a weak chorus.

Then... no inspiration for lyrics. Zip, nil, nada, nothing. It was too cheerful to be a sad song, but to slow and lacking hooks to be the dancey sort of fluff I had hoped for.

Over a week of failing to make any progress, I was feeling pretty desperate. But that's how it typically worked, so I kept at it.

Finally, I listened to chulaivet1966's "Stranger in a Strange Land", and started thinking: What if instead of time that caused everything to change, how about a failed relationship where you found yourself single again? And that got me writing something, which is a lot more than nothing. Not that the final lyric was anything like the original idea, of course. Planning will only get me so far.

I've said before that it's best to have a chorus in mind when writing a song. But again, I found myself linearly writing the song from the beginning, and only getting to the chorus when I discovered what it was.

Once the first half of the song was written, it occurred to me that, similar to some other songs I'd written, the second half could basically be an answer to the first half. Getting it to work seemed much more difficult that it should have been, but eventually fell into place.

Honestly, this whole song feels hackneyed - nothing terribly original here, and most of the rhymes have been used a bazillion times already. But despite this, I think it's fairly solid write, and I'm happy with how it turned out. Or that it turned out at all! smile

Once the lyrics were done, it was time to create some sort of arrangement. So I auditioned a whole bunch of RealTracks, and then generated a version of the song with holds and auditioned some more tracks. I also created a version of the song with only held chords, and rendered a bunch of instruments for that. Most of the instruments didn't make it into the final mix, but it was good to have them available.

I also edited the loop so there were three versions - just the kick, one with everything but the claps, and then the regular loop. That gave me some room to build. I mean, if Bud can edit the drum parts in his song, who am I to do otherwise? wink

I'd gotten used to the song as a solo vocal, but wrote a counter-line for it anyway. I ended up writing way too much and having to scale it back quite a bit. All those lovely competing lines lost to posterity for the sake of clarity.

The main problem with counter-lines is that they need some level of independence. But if you overlap consonants, suddenly the lyrics aren't understandable. Change the melody and forget to change the counter-line? Oooops!

So I open SynthV, edit the lyric, re-render, listen again... And then find another issue. It seems to be a never-ending cycle. Sigh.

Once that was done, it was time to pare things down so it sounded like an arrangement. Once that was done, I handed it over to my son, who trimmed it down even more, and did some magic to the signal chain to clean it up.

One of my goals with my mixes is to try to get a fair amount of clarity. That mostly happens when less instruments are playing. Although there are a good number of instruments on the track, they generally don't play together. For example, while there are several piano tracks, the piano that plays in the intro only appears there.

Then it was time to listen, find more issues with the vocal, fix them, listen again... lather rinse and repeat.

Again... thanks for reading (and hopefully listening)! wink

Comments welcome! 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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David (& Son)...

These get better with each new offering. (or maybe I'm just getting used to the vocaloid thing smile ).

I like the song. A good write. (Although...I think there are too many words/new ideas as the song progresses... my "Pop expectations" is for far more repetition of catch phrases...)

The secondary/background vocaloid sounds REAL. Impressive. (nice counterlines, again).

Really nice arrangement. I'm not really familiar with J-Pop, so I can't speak to that... Good mix - it "sat on the ear" nicely - nothing stood out, everything in the right space...

I'm enjoying your journey.

fj

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David,
I like the shiny optimism in the write and Eleanor`s so-human vocal.
Good changes ( from whatever genre)- you have a talent for flowing melodies.
Excellent production as usual; those counterpoint bgv`s are beautifully timed.
Much more enjoyable than K-Pop!

Robert

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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: floyd jane
These get better with each new offering. (or maybe I'm just getting used to the vocaloid thing smile ).

Thanks! It's a work in progress, but hopefully I'm getting better with this tool. laugh

Quote:
I like the song. A good write. (Although...I think there are too many words/new ideas as the song progresses... my "Pop expectations" is for far more repetition of catch phrases...)

I agree - that's something that impresses me with Bob Dean's songs. I figured that with the long progression I'd run into this kind of problem this was likely to be an issue.

I'll keep this in mind doing forward.

Quote:
The secondary/background vocaloid sounds REAL. Impressive. (nice counterlines, again).

I had trouble getting the background vocal to sit well in the mix. In general, I think I put them too far forward in the mix. I think the proper reverb helped it sit in the background so it could finally do the job of supporting instead of competing with the man vocal.

Quote:
Really nice arrangement. I'm not really familiar with J-Pop, so I can't speak to that... Good mix - it "sat on the ear" nicely - nothing stood out, everything in the right space...

Honestly, I can't claim that this is even close to J-Pop, just that I pilfered harmonic ideas. wink

I'm really happy with the arrangement and mix - especially the first half. It's tough for me to get clarity because I usually overstuff the arrangement, so I'm happy to hear that's not the case here.

Quote:
I'm enjoying your journey.

I keep having to remind myself that patience is the key to this. It's not something that comes naturally (any more, anyway), but it's really cool when all the pieces finally come together at the end.

I appreciate the positive feedback! 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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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Robertkc
David,
I like the shiny optimism in the write and Eleanor`s so-human vocal.

Thanks! I do try to keep things upbeat, even if the topic is depressing.

Quote:
Good changes ( from whatever genre)- you have a talent for flowing melodies.
Excellent production as usual; those counterpoint bgv`s are beautifully timed.
Much more enjoyable than K-Pop!

I'm a sucker for interesting chord changes, often to the detriment of my songs. It's good to hear the melodies work. The counter-lines are fun, even if I get a bit grumbly about them sometimes. It's nice to have singers who can don't complain that they're stuck doing background vocals, don't need to be pitch corrected, and don't complain when I keep rewriting parts!

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! 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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David, you have mastered that vocaloid. It sounds like a real person singing. Outstanding work!

I also like different and interesting chord changes and you did a fantastic job on this one.

You have come a long way with the vocaloid.


Me, it's not about how many times you fail, it's about how many times you get back up.
Cop, that's not how field sobriety tests work.

64 bit Win 10 Pro, the latest BiaB/RB, Roland Octa-Capture audio interface, a ton of software/hardware
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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: MarioD
David, you have mastered that vocaloid. It sounds like a real person singing. Outstanding work!

Thanks!

Quote:
I also like different and interesting chord changes and you did a fantastic job on this one.

I appreciate that!

Thanks for stopping to comment! 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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David

I'll admit I find myself listening to the vocalist more than the song to see how the technology is progressing.

The backing vocals sound excellent and the lead vocal is clear and melodic, but more synthetic than the backing vocal sound.

Good mix and a nice overall listen.

Peter

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David,
Fun piece of music. Hooks upon hooks smile Mix is one of your best. You made it way too easy for human singer, all he/she has to do is follow your robo girl. Thank you for sharing.

Misha.

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Another very cool song. Excellent backtrack and well laid out. Vocaloid and harmonies are very cool. Excellent lyric..


Scott Collingwood
https://soundcloud.com/scottt709
https://soundcloud.com/spiritlevel-ca
https://www.youtube.com/@SpiritLevel-ge3hm/
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"She" sounds to me much more like an FX'ed human than a virtual singer.

The only J-pop I've listened to in any quantity is over opening/closing credits in Anime. This is very much along those lines. Hat's off to you for sheer perseverance. Hat's off to me for actually reading all o' that. smile

Much enjoyed.


BIAB 2021 Audiophile. Windows 10 64bit. Songwriter, lyricist, composer(?) loving all styles. Some pre-BIAB music from Farfetched Tangmo Band's first CD. https://alonetone.com/tangmo/playlists/close-to-the-ground
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Hi David,

Listened to this a couple of days ago but didn't have time to comment.

I think this has to be the best you have done so far with the vocaloid, not bad! Especially the harmonies.

But most of all, a really good song. Good mix also!

Good stuff, keep them coming! wink

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Originally Posted By: PeterF
I'll admit I find myself listening to the vocalist more than the song to see how the technology is progressing.

That's as valid a reason as any! laugh

Quote:
The backing vocals sound excellent and the lead vocal is clear and melodic, but more synthetic than the backing vocal sound.

That seems to be the general consensus. I'm guessing that it's partly because the background vocal is pushed further to the back and has more reverb.

There's also more processing on the lead vocal, and it's a push a bit further from the default timbre of the voice. I've removed some of the processing and it's a bit less harsh, but not enough to really explain the difference. Just something for me to work on in the future, I guess.

Quote:
Good mix and a nice overall listen.

Thanks, Peter. I appreciate your feedback. 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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WOW David super job on this peace really great mix and great use of the V awesome stuff thanks for sharing Eric


AMD (TM) 5950 4.9 GHz 16Core Processor 64 bit 32 bits of ram windows 10 pro 64 bit os. sound card Antelope ZenQ guitars Ibanez 2202a 1968 les Paul Custom and Cavin ae 185 Guitar boss Gt-100,GT1000 pedal Yamaha HS8 studio monitors
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Originally Posted By: Rustyspoon#
David,
Fun piece of music. Hooks upon hooks smile Mix is one of your best. You made it way too easy for human singer, all he/she has to do is follow your robo girl.

Hi, Misha.

Glad to hear you liked it.

Of course, the risk of producing it fully like this is when the singer says "Great guide vocal... but it's a terrible key for me!" cry

Of course, BiaB makes it relatively easy to change keys, so.. wink

Thanks for the feedback!


-- 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: Scott C
Another very cool song. Excellent backtrack and well laid out. Vocaloid and harmonies are very cool. Excellent lyric..

Hi, Scott.

Thanks for mentioning the lyric - for me, that's the hardest part!


-- 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: Tangmo
"She" sounds to me much more like an FX'ed human than a virtual singer.

Excellent! smile

Quote:
The only J-pop I've listened to in any quantity is over opening/closing credits in Anime. This is very much along those lines. Hat's off to you for sheer perseverance. Hat's off to me for actually reading all o' that.

My hat is indeed off to you, kind sir! That missive is far too much to expect anyone to read! wink

I'm glad you enjoyed the song!


-- 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: BlueAttitude
I think this has to be the best you have done so far with the vocaloid, not bad! Especially the harmonies.

I'm happy to hear that. It's always good to hear I'm making progress.

Quote:
But most of all, a really good song. Good mix also!

Good stuff, keep them coming! wink

Thanks, I appreciate the kind words!

I'll keep plugging away! 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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Originally Posted By: F.M.M.
WOW David super job on this peace really great mix and great use of the V awesome stuff thanks for sharing

Hi, Eric.

laugh Thanks for listening and posting positive feedback - I appreciate it!


-- 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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Another fine recording. I love how your lyrics match the vocal deliveries. The two voices harmonize nicely. Well done.


My music can be heard at: The Cracks
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