Writing Your Own Music: Sound and Lyrics

Writing Your Own Music: A My Blog Guest Post on Composition in Sound, Lyric and Musical Endeavors

An Intriguing and Impressive Guest Post from rising star in creative writingNicola Winters 

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Writing Your Own Music by Nicola Winters

(on behalf of Phoenix Software, a student store that provides software for students)

What happens to your musical skills when you leave school for university?  You may have spent years practising your scales on whichever instrument you chose to play when you first started secondary school.  Your parents probably forked out a small fortune in lessons and there have probably been hours spent arguing and nagging about not practising enough to warrant the expense and threats of sanctions unless more practise is done.

You’re probably glad to get away from it all, but, once you’ve got yourself established at university you may surprise yourself by missing the playing of an instrument.  It’s at times like these that you may find the urge to write some music of your own and this, in turn, leads to finding like-minded people, forming a band and dreaming of making it rich without the necessity to study and hand in that next assignment!

Whilst some people are quite self-contained, apparently needing no other collaboration and relying simply on their own creativity to write music; others benefit greatly from other people’s input and welcome constructive criticism from family and friends.

People often find it relaxing to write music simply because there’s no right or wrong way to do it.  Unless you’re a student studying music composition and are following a specific curriculum; you can never really make a mistake – a refreshing change!  Collaborating with others brings so much more to the completed product in terms of originality – no other band would have that same mix of minds so you could end up with a completely unique sound.

Involving a mix of people who have skills with different instruments can also help you create your own individual sound, and if you feel you’re not making progress or you’ve hit a rough spot, perhaps consider introducing a new instrument into the mix which will change the dynamics and may help you out of the rut.

If writing music is something you’d like to do but struggle to actually put into practice, then perhaps choosing specific music composition software would be the right option for you.  An example would be Sibelius 7 Academic Student Edition which is sophisticated enough for top composers but simple enough for beginners and students.  This software is described as being ‘the easiest way to write music’ – and if you’re unsure that you’ll be able to operate it you have the peace of mind knowing it comes with 90 days of complimentary assisted support.

Writing lyrics is a totally different skill – some artists prefer to start with the lyrics and compose the music around them while others work in reverse.  You may find that, whilst you have the talent to write a great melody, you lack the ability to actually put words to your music.  Working in collaboration with a wordsmith is a pretty good idea – famous collaborations like Elton John and Bernie Taupin who worked separately with little interaction still managed to write masterpieces which remain popular today.

Whatever you choose – remember to have fun – you’re doing this because you want to – not because you have to!

This is a guest post by Nicola Winters on behalf of Phoenix Software, a student store that provides software for students.

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Guitars and the Science of Making Music

Behind The Music: A Gulkin Gazette My Blog Guest Exclusive

Profound Insights on the Science of Sound from Stephanie at My Blog Guest

From the delicate jangle of indie pop to the screaming sound of a heavy metal solo, what is it that turns the simple striking of strings into an amplifies sound like no other? While there are a lot of different things that make up the sound of a guitar, it is the instrument’s pickups that make that all important link between the strings and the electronics.

So how do guitar pickups work?

The basic principle behind electric and acoustic guitar pickups is the science of magnetism. Pickups are magnets that ‘pick up’ the vibration of the guitar strings and convert them into an electical signal that is fed through the guitar’s tone and volume controls. This signal is directed through to the audio output to a processor, effects pedals or directly to an amplifier.

A pickup is built around an actual magnet, which are now mostly made from ceramic or alnico. Each of these magnets have their own benefits; ceramic can give a greater punch to a guitar’s sound, which is ideal for hard rock and metal music. Alnico seems to offer a more delicate tone, making it ideal for jazz guitars and as acoustic guitar pickups. Alnico isn’t actually an element in its own right and the name is an acronym of aluminium, nickel and cobalt.

The Physics of Sound

The magnetic core is then wrapped in very thin copper wire. The wire is enamelled, giving it the magnetic properties it needs. The wire is wound around the magnet thousands of times. This means that when the guitar is played, the vibration affects the coil’s magnetic flux, and the coil of wire creates an alternating current. From here, the signal travel’s to the guitar’s output.

Some guitar pickups have their own preamplifiers. Preamplifiers, or preamps, provides sound processing, acting as a middleman for the raw signal of an instrument. In guitars, especially in acoustic guitar preamps, a preamp will require a battery to help process the sound. These are particularly handy to manage the frequencies and tones of the guitar, reducing interference from external signals and other noise.

There are different styles of pick up too, the basic of which are single coil pick ups and humbuckers. You’ll find variations on these styles, such as lipstick pickups and soap bars pickups, but these are the two main versions found in the majority of guitars. These different pickups were developed as the older single coils could also pick up lots of electromagnetic interference.

This was combated by adding a second single coil and putting the two together. Modern single coil pickups don’t suffer the same problems with interference. There’s a notable difference in tone between humbuckers and single coils, the former able to offer a ‘beefier’ sound.

GJs Guitars sell a great range of guitars and equipment such as acoustic guitar pickups

-Thank You to Stephanie at MyBlogGuest.com for this awesome ‘Behind The Music’ Entry.

Rock On, My Lady! 

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