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The 808 might be the only real indication of the harmony for the track, so it’s important that it feels solid. If there are chords, stick to roots, and at most try fifths and octaves. The microphone that recorded my clapping hands is mimicking the action of our ears, registering the peaks and troughs through a physical diaphragm and converting these movements into an electrical signal. (*By the way, we have a whole article about how microphones work!)

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It’s really something, even in robotic MIDI form. The chromaticism leapt right out at me on first hearing. It’s worth going on a little journey so you understand what chromaticism is and why it’s a big deal. The chromatic scale is the one you get when you play all 12 notes in the Western tuning system, all the notes on the piano or guitar or whatever. The chromatic scale sounds pretty bad. It’s too much information. The notes don’t feel like they’re related in any particular way, like there’s any logic to them. It wasn’t until Breaking Bad that people finally realized

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The bottom line is, a lot of banks don’t know what to do with you if you’re a working-class songwriter. If you’re one of the few who has major hits on the radio right now with gold records and Grammys adorning your office, they’re a bit more comfortable loaning you money. But for the vast majority of us, it may be a struggle. So what can a songwriter in your position do? Based on my own experience, I’m here to help you with a few tips. It’s totally fair to assume this song is in C minor. Sure, C minor chords

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The first thing you’ll do is hop on the phone with your mentor so they can better understand what you’re hoping to accomplish and you can make sure you’re a good fit together. You can even do this right away, with no commitment to buy, by telling us about yourself so we can suggest a mentor. If you’re considering signing up but not sure if it’s right for you, give it a try! A woman composer of the 18th century? Blasphemy! Maria Teresa Agnesi was born in Milan in 1720 to Pietro Agnesi, a man of modest nobility. She received a wonderful liberal arts education with

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An interval is simply the distance between two notes. We classify intervals in two ways— by quantity and by quality. Quantity tells us roughly how far apart the notes are on the scale; and quality tells us more about the unique sound of the interval or which scale it’s pulling from. The Major Scale (also known as the Ionian Mode) is really common and often used as the scale all others are defined against. It’s the “Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do” of solfege fame. On the piano, the major scale is represented by playing all the white keys between C and

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Robinson McClellan is a composer, writer, and teacher. His music has been performed, commissioned, and published widely. He has done artist residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo and earned his doctorate in composition from Yale. He works in product development, user care/feeding, and instructional design for music and education companies. He founded and directs ComposerCraft, a workshop for young composers. If you’re a part-time musician, you know the struggle. You want to make music, but you run out of time in a day. Or you lose heart. Or your music time is not as efficient as you want it to be.

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