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#712522 04/08/22 08:02 PM
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Nobody Knows

Winter is gone
Spring's come along
Sunshine follows the rain

Kids mowing lawns
Life's moving on
But still it all feels the same

Watching the world spin round
Counting the hours run down
Feeling like one more day is slipping away

Somewhere down the road
Somewhere down the line
I hope that there's something left to find

      In the blink of an eye love can go away
      No one can say if it will come again

Searching around all over town
Lost like a leaf in the wind
Once I belonged; now it's all gone
I'm back on the outside looking in

Watching my world burn down
Seeing it all fall down
I couldn't stop you from walking away

I'd make a new start
But you've taken my heart

      Nobody knows why love goes away
      No one can say if it will come again (No one can say)
      No one can say when love will come again



Instruments
3501:Bass, Electric, NashvilleRadioBalladAB Ev16 075
3654:Guitar, Acoustic, Fingerpicking IndiePickingBright Ev16 075
3655:Guitar, Acoustic, Fingerpicking IndiePickingSoft Ev16 075
624:Fiddle, Soloist George Ev 085
1856:Cello, Background PopCountry Ev 085
3182:Guitar, Acoustic, Rhythm GrungeUnpluggedQuinn Ev16 090
3656:Guitar, Acoustic, Rhythm IndieGentlePush Ev16 080
2024:Piano, Acoustic, Rhythm CountryJohn Ev 085
~593:Fiddle, Rhythm Bluegrass Doc Ev 100
RealDrums:AmericanaRoots16th^01-a:Toms, b:Snare

SynthesizerV: Qing Su (lead and backing vocals)

Effects Chain

Mix Bus: Sunset Sound Studio (Studio 2), Lurssen Mastering Console (Americana Tight, Less Glue)
Main Vocal: Sunset Sound Studio (ISO Room, Studio 3), Sunset Sound Studio (Chamber, Studio 1)
Backing Vocal: Finisher Retro (Double Tracker), Greg Wells VoiceCentric (Factory Default), Sunset Sound Studio (Chamber, Studio 2)
Drums: Finisher Retro (Too Old Tube), EZMix2 (Drum Enhancer), TrackSpacer, Sunset Sound Studio (Live Room, Studio 3), Izotope Imager, ReaEQ (low end cut)
Bass: Neutron Elements (bass)
Cello: TrackSpacer, ReaEQ (low end cut)
Fiddle: TrackSpacer, LX480 (Small Hall)
FP Guitars: EZMix2 (Acoustic Guitar with Reverb)
Piano: Finisher Retro (Dreamer)


Errata

  • Boosted the high end on the guitars, as suggested by floyd jane.
  • Modified "Watching my world burn down" to get rid of that crunchy minor second in the harmony, as suggested by Mark Hayes. Modified the melody on Seeing it all fall down to make it a bit less dissonant.
  • Minor adjustments to plosives and sibilants, suggested by rayc. Lowered drum volume, added TrackSpacer to drums.

Short Blah Blah Blah
All comments welcome!

Longer - But Not Necessarily Better - Blah Blah Blah
I started out by browsing through the demos, and found _SALLY Demo - Sally Fingerpicking Guitars.

I went through it and altered a bunch of chords in an attempt to make it more interesting - IV/V, descending bass lines, that sort of thing. The result was a pretty backing track, but a bit slow. I bumped the tempo up to 85 BPM, but figured in order to have the song fit in less than 3:30, it would need to only repeat once.

I exported a backing track and loaded that into SynthesizerV. The melody was pretty easy to write, but the chorus didn't really sound like a strong chorus. Sigh... another one of those "not gonna have a catchy chorus" sorts of songs.

The lyrics on this took a stupid long time. Usually I put together some "dummy" lyrics, in hopes that something would click. I got the usual unhelpful "The wind is blowing through the trees" sort of uninteresting lyric drivel that comes out when I lack any sort of inspiration.

That continued for about a week. In desperation for some sort of inspiration, I read through The Waste Land - isn't that what everyone turns to for inspiration? - and read the first few lines:

     April is the cruellest month, breeding
      Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
      Memory and desire, stirring
      Dull roots with spring rain.


Stealing that idea got the first few lines written, up to the pre-chorus. At that point I once again noticed that despite all the syllables being devilishly tricky to fill in, I was starting to run out of room to actually say something.

I had no idea what the chorus was going to be, and all I had written was some light "I'm sad" sort of lyrics.

Plus, it read a lot like a cliches from a sad teenager's poem. At least I was getting that part right! smile

I had watched a video on the travails John Fogerty had with his record label. The narrator related that after coming up with a cool guitar lick, John went searching through his notebook of song titles to see if he could find and idea he could build the lyrics around. He ended up choosing the title "Somewhere Down the Road", which became "The Old Man Down the Road".

I ended up using that for the pre-chorus, and what I had previously written in the pre-chorus moved to the second verse.

In the process of working on the lyrics, I'd changed the voice from Kevin to Qing Su. I'd not actually tried her out in the upper range, where she had a sort of airy Suzanne Vega sound.

Yes, she sounds a bit hoarse in places. I'm probably overly fond of this breathy performance style. What's a bit ironic is that I got Qing Su because she's got an impressive "belting" voice.

I eventually wrote something for the chorus, and noticed again there was nothing in the first half of the song that remotely looked like a song title. I wouldn't have had this problem if I'd followed John Fogerty's example!

Since the song is pretty much symmetric, writing the second half was less time consuming than the first.

Once the song was done, I resisted adding a harmony part because I was tired. But I eventually added bits on the end. I had a lot of trouble making it fit, until I got the obvious idea to drop it down an octave. As usual, the harmony added a lot to the song, and I was glad I'd done it.

Mixing was the usual process of cutting out parts to so not everything happens at once. TrackSpacer was helpful in keeping the fiddle and cello from getting in the way of the voice.

The hardest bit of the vocal was getting the lyric "I'd make a new start" to sound right. Qing Su really didn't want to put the /d/ in "I'd", so I ended up cutting and pasting it from a different word.

I cut and pasted the drums as well, mostly to get rid of a lot of cymbal crashes. I was too lazy to remove them all, but I might go back and do that.

One of the fingerpicked guitars had a lot of squeaks. I ended up reducing the volume at those parts, and hopefully it doesn't detract too much.

My son doesn't get any blame on this one - the mix is all mine. wink

Next time, I promise... I'll try to write something with a chorus.


Since I have a habit of tweaking songs long after they're posting, all suggestions are appreciated! Heck, I just changed the title of the song.


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
dcuny #712551 04/09/22 03:40 AM
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David,

LOVE the BAND!
Those drums are SO interesting.

Your singer sounds great! Harmonies are really nice, too.

A good write.
"Once I belonged; now it's all gone
I'm back on the outside looking in"
Nice!!

Cool melody. (at "blink of an eye" it "lost me" for a moment).

I really like what you've done with the piano.
I wanted the acoustic guitars to have a bit more high-end EQ to cut through the mix more.
(the rest of the mix is good).

Always enjoy reading your writing notes...

Good stuff.

fj

dcuny #712561 04/09/22 04:58 AM
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Man, that singer is the best yet I think, David, although I suspect some of it is because you know how to get the most out of them.

The phrasing used in

"Watching the world spin round
Counting the hours run down
Feeling like one more day is slipping away"

with the pauses is a good example, very realistic.

Nicely done!

dcuny #712562 04/09/22 05:01 AM
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Things were going along smoothly and pleasantly enough... then came 1:50 *

I'm open to the possibility this is intentional, but would need to hear that from the author. =8^)

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

* Disregard, piece has since been changed!

Last edited by Mark Hayes; 04/09/22 09:26 AM.
dcuny #712587 04/09/22 07:45 AM
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Hi David.
Amazing synth vocal again.
Instrument wise I think the drums maybe a little busy for this lyric.

Vic

floyd jane #712588 04/09/22 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted By: floyd jane
LOVE the BAND!
Those drums are SO interesting.

There are a lot of songs where, once I actually pay attention to the drums, they're not doing what I expect them to do. I wasn't enamored with the drums, but I figured I'd give them a chance.

You might have noticed that there was a lot of processing on them to get them tonally where I wanted them to be.

The biggest issue - to me - was how it changed from a cajon to a more full kit. The crash cymbal is an example of that. Plus, the cajon was also lower. I think removing a number of crashes and cutting the low end helped balance the two parts out.

Quote:
Your singer sounds great! Harmonies are really nice, too.

Thanks! I was really on the fence about adding harmonies, and this is one of the first songs where I've almost put the harmony softer than the melody. wink

Quote:
A good write.

Thanks! I'm glad that it finally (mostly) came together in them.

Quote:
Cool melody. (at "blink of an eye" it "lost me" for a moment).

Was is the dissonance in the melody, or the change in the feel? I know that the "pre-chorus" isn't that strong, so when this part comes in, you're probably expecting a return to the verse, and not a second pre-chorus. frown

Quote:
I really like what you've done with the piano.

This is one of the few songs where I'm not using an electric piano. It's probably the second-most processed instrument here to help give it a bit more "grit" in the few places where it gets to punch in.

Quote:
I wanted the acoustic guitars to have a bit more high-end EQ to cut through the mix more.

Good idea! I mostly did volume changes on the guitars, but the fingerpicking (which is why I chose the style in the first place) is a bit understated and lacks the "sparkle" it should have.

Quote:
Always enjoy reading your writing notes...

smile

Thanks again for your support!


-- 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

Man, that singer is the best yet I think, David, although I suspect some of it is because you know how to get the most out of them.

Thanks!

I suspect you're partly right! wink

But although they're still robots, I think each release is able to capture more of the singer's actual personality.

Quote:
The phrasing used in

"Watching the world spin round
Counting the hours run down
Feeling like one more day is slipping away"

with the pauses is a good example, very realistic.

And it's also necessary, to avoid the lyric sounding robotic.

These are the sorts of decisions a good singer brings to a song that don't make it to the sheet music. Which is fine, until you get a choir director who insists singing what's written and it kills the feel.

Ooops, did I get on a soapbox again? Hehehehe.

Quote:
Nicely done!

Thanks again. I appreciate you stopping by to comment! laugh


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
Mark Hayes #712590 04/09/22 08:06 AM
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Hi, Mark.
Originally Posted By: Mark Hayes
Things were going along smoothly and pleasantly enough... then came 1:50.

There's so many things that could be wrong here, could you be a bit more specific? wink

I take it you're not a fan of the harmony? That clash on the first note in the melody? Or the breaks between in the phrases?

Inquiring minds want to know!


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
dcuny #712591 04/09/22 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted By: dcuny
Hi, Mark.
Originally Posted By: Mark Hayes
Things were going along smoothly and pleasantly enough... then came 1:50.

There's so many things that could be wrong here, could you be a bit more specific? wink
I take it you're not a fan of the harmony? Or the breaks in the phrases?
Inquiring minds want to know!

Yes, the vocal harmony at that particular moment, on the word “down”.

Last edited by Mark Hayes; 04/09/22 08:15 AM.
Mark Hayes #712593 04/09/22 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted By: Mark Hayes
Yes, the vocal harmony at that particular moment, on the word “down”.

Interesting, since "All" is more of a clash - and a mistake, at that! smile

In any event, I'll work on it and post a corrected version.

Funny how, after hearing stuff for so long, you stop hearing things.

Thanks!


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
dcuny #712595 04/09/22 08:26 AM
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Hey David, great to hear from you again. I really like the voice you chose for this song...amazing. And the writing throughout is fantastic. I especially loved that line "Lost like a leaf in the wind."

vicarn #712599 04/09/22 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted By: vicarn
Instrument wise I think the drums maybe a little busy for this lyric.

Hi, Vic.

You could easily be right. I suspect that I'm too lazy to make a major change to that track, but I'll keep it in mind in case I ever do.

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it! 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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Originally Posted By: Brad Williams
Hey David, great to hear from you again.

Hi, Brad!

Likewise! I hope you're enjoying the summer-like we're having.

Quote:
I really like the voice you chose for this song...amazing.

Yes. She's actually a Chinese voice that's been trained (via a neural network) to sing in English, so it's even a bit more amazing than you might think.

Quote:
And the writing throughout is fantastic. I especially loved that line "Lost like a leaf in the wind."

I appreciate you noticing my one use of alliteration in the song!

Thanks for stopping by to listen! smile


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
dcuny #712604 04/09/22 09:32 AM
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A very sweet song, David!
And we like this somewhat "breathy" voice. Works fine here.
The music suits the springtime very well.
Enjoyed.

Rob and Anne-Marie


We are Rob Meulman and Anne-Marie Bovenkamp from The Netherlands.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1gsdNLE7_Gy8qavoOplQow/videos
http://rnam.net/


dcuny #712619 04/09/22 11:37 AM
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For a singer without a soul, this singer sure sounds soulful...

I loved your song and really enjoyed the vocal magic...


Bandcamp
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Win-11; BiaB-2024-latest Beta;
Cakewalk; Melodyne-5; Scaler 2; NI Komplete:
Focusrite Scarlett 18i20



dcuny #712630 04/09/22 12:44 PM
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David, you've always commented on my songs but I haven't heard many of yours until today. I love this, it's mellow, and the vocals are breath taking...

dcuny #712652 04/09/22 04:58 PM
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Nice one...a very cool example of the synth vocal sitting in a good song.
There're a few sibilant thngs that could be addressed...most particularly in the 1st Sunshine.


Cheers
rayc
"What's so funny about peace, love & understanding?" - N.Lowe
dcuny #712656 04/09/22 05:21 PM
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Very nice. Well done.

The vocals had a really jazzy feel right there in the middle just before the drums kick in.

Wait! The vocals are fake? I tell you, they actually sound more real than some of the auto-tuned vocals from actual humans that I've heard.


Byron Dickens

BIAB. CbB. Mixbus 32C 8 HP Envy. Intel core i7. 16GB RAM W10. Focusrite Scarlett 18i 20. Various instruments played with varying degrees of proficiency.

https://soundcloud.com/athanorsoundlabs
RnAM #712659 04/09/22 06:31 PM
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Hi, Rob and Anne-Marie!

Originally Posted By: RnAM
A very sweet song, David!

Thanks! smile

Quote:
And we like this somewhat "breathy" voice. Works fine here.
The music suits the springtime very well.
Enjoyed.

Glad you liked the voice. I have a tendency to lean toward "soft" instead of "rock", and this seemed a good match.

Thanks for stopping by to comment!


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
bloc-head #712660 04/09/22 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted By: bloc-head
For a singer without a soul, this singer sure sounds soulful...

I loved your song and really enjoyed the vocal magic...

Thanks for the kind words about the song and vocals! 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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