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I was hoping to get feedback while I was still inspired enough to work on the piece. Fortunately, I've found another couple places that've helped out some.

Maybe I'll try posting the next version, if things pick up a bit here :)


Kawai GS-40 grand & other keys
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Hey Vic, I finally got a chance to hear your stuff. Lots to choose from, so I just picked two: Unsafe and You Already Are. I'm at work, so I'll just give some first impressions.


I played Unsafe first. I was surprised because I've been smitten with writing triple-feel songs lately, and then here comes another. ;) So, anyway, it seems to flow well, nice arrangement and use of instruments/vocals. (Yeah, as a bass player I really appreciate the little fill to give the bass some "face time".) On the whole it's a good song on my first listen. On second listen, what I like is the movement of the "interesting part" from instrument to instrument; kind of like how the melody shifts around in a symphony orchestra. Nice emotional ups and downs. The only thing negative I'd say at this point is it's 5:30-ish, and the last 1:30-ish is just guitar solo; not quite commercial, but at least radio can easily cut it down to just under 4 minutes. I'd probably like the solo better if it expressed more of the themes sung earlier in the song. OTOH, I recently attended a master class with Chick Corea, and he briefly mentioned that one thing he learned from Miles Davis was that you should make music the way you feel it should be done and don't worry about validation from others. So, as a songwriter, if you feel this song needs to be 5:30, that the guitar solo is essential, then so be it.


You Already Are. Nice moody opening sets the scene; restrained, not over done. The vocals seem to be in a lower range but they come through nicely; that may be more of an engineering feat than compositional. Chorus is slightly brighter to contrast to the darker verse; nice. Short solo keys break adds to dynamics, makes following transition more dramatic. When I heard the instrumental break from roughly 3:00-3:30, I thought you were building to something different; was a little disappointed when it didn't. Another over-5-minute song, but this one makes more sense to me from a compositional standpoint (sorry, I'm not much for analyzing lyrical content). You start with a light moody feeling, then you leave it briefly and come back to it; works for me. So, again, overall it sounds good. For negatives, is it necessary to repeat the opening chords before the singing starts? (From a commercial standpoint, some may ask if the intro is necessary at all; this would cut out about 0:30.) IMO the instrumental break doesn't transition well back to the chorus, although upon second listen (now that I know what to expect) it's not as bad as I first thought.


Both songs are pretty good, and I can imagine hearing them in smaller more intimate settings, like a coffee shop or restaurant or something. Not a biker bar where they play loud metal every night, you know what I mean?


Just a note on the intro criticism, because I found myself doing this a lot, too. Music should communicate. From a communication standpoint, what does the intro from You Already Are say? If you were talking to someone, it's roughly the equivalent of starting a conversation by saying "Hi, how are you, my name is Vic. Hi, how are you, my name is Vic." Sure, in music repetition is a key ingredient, but sometimes (as in this case) I don't feel it's working from a communication standpoint. Besides, you're going to repeat it again under the verse anyway, right?


In Unsafe, the intro is repeated, but you don't get that same sense of (pardon me) boring repetition because the first time it's just guitar, and the second time the keys add something new to the conversation. Variation. Now you're starting that conversation with "Hi, how are you, my name is Vic. What's your name, are you from around here?"


Anyway, that's my take on it. I haven't sold a million copies of anything, so take my advice with a grain of salt. Or listen to Miles and in the words of Fleetwood Mac, "go your own way".

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hey ric. i forgot i even added this post and just came back, so haven't your stuff or anybody else's. i'll try to tonight (parents are staying with me this week).


i appreciate your time going through both songs so thouroghly. at this point i am basically writing and recording my songs for me, so while i know that songs that are too long don't get played on the radio, i'm not really shooting for that. i have edited stuff in the past for radio, and have no problem in doing that. the end of "unsafe" i think of as a coda, like the end of layla. it was meant to be shorter but ideas started flowing and the lead guitarist and i started building this new melodic idea,and what can i say.....i'm a sucker for operatic solos. :)


"you already are" . the long intro is something i had noted and almost cut, but everytime i was preparing to do so i was wrapped up in the mood that it creates (you know, self stroking) and kept it. i felt that the song needed to stay restrained, kind of like bubbling under the surface, even in the instrumental portion, where i feel i did manage to build the tension with different layers, but no real "solo".


thanks, conincidentally you did choose the 2 slowest songs on the site, but they are 2 of my favorites. i'll give you feedback on your stuff as soon as i get a chance.

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Hey nice to be here! I'm a songwriter not a pro player or producer and DEFINITELY not a singer, (LOL)-but I CAN write! I recently posted a song, (Daddy-o) taken from a 1 track tape rec. (don't ask) It's a workfile. If you get a chance I'd appreciate a listen.




In the meantime this is the first song I saw here:


To me a lot of synthesizer material works because the actual sounds used are intriguing to the ear; and the sound, (and note) choices in Learmont work very well. I liked this; it reminds me of background music in a movie. (that's a good thing)

I didn't care for the intro-it sounded like a slowed down recording and didn't add anything to the tune. One other thing that bothered me was the repetitive keyboard figure; (Rhodes sounding?) not the E-F notes but the sound used. I wanted to hear those notes slid up to and then slid down as a bass player would play it. Well played and well done David!


Anyone else wants a critique, let me know!

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Welcome aboard 9NE! I'm sure Learmont will appreciate yet another opinion on his piece.


Vic, I think someone said you have to download my link (right-click, blahblahblah) in order to hear it on some systems. But if you're itching to review something maybe you can give 9NE a listen instead? My little diddy has already been discussed.

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Really good stuff! I enjoyed it, and saved it too. Overall it reminds me of Billy Idol meets John Lennon, if you don't mind a rough analogy.


My one suggestion, given that this is a workfile, is a change as you hit the verse "Tomorrow always brings a brand new day". My thought is that a change is needed at this point just to keep the momentum rolling. Whether that's simply a mix change or whatever I'd leave to your more than capable hands.


Wish I could give you a more in-depth critique, but I'm just enjoying listening :)



Kawai GS-40 grand & other keys
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Hey Ric! Thanks for the welcome!


Hugo: Thanks for the listen and the like; I appreciate it. I can see that Idol-Lennon thing (the style of course!) I get a lot of "sounds like Beatles" comments, (can't escape your influences I guess) and I take it as a compliment. Certainly something to strive for; I'll work on your suggestion and Thanks again!

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  • 1 month later...

Hello, all.

This is a great thread. I've only had a chance to listen in to the first one so far (Learmont). I really like that kind of ambient music. I hear it as movie or t.v. soundtrack type of stuff. The composition was interesting, but I'm not sure I got a hook out of it that I would remember after one listen (not that that's what you have to be going for). Overall, I liked it quite a bit.


I'll throw in my link and get that ball rolling and in the meantime, I'll try to listen and weigh in on the other stuff.


Just follow the link below and click on 'Sample Tunes'. There are 3 originals to choose from. "Camp Song" is an early demo multitracked on Cubasis in my basement. "Chron-fusion" and "Trust Me" are more recent compostions recorded live at the Rose & Crown in Banff, Alberta.

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Sorry it took so long to get back to you, Greg!


Taking a listen to "Chron-fusion" right now. It reminds me a bit of a local group here called The Brothers Groove . Ok, just checked the time, looks like about 3:30; actually not bad from a commercial standpoint, but I get the feeling this is more of a jam song (due to the limited amount of vocals) so I think it would work better as a longer piece with some smokin' solos.


Ok, let's take a look under the hood. You've got a catchy guitar riff, a verse-like part (with the riff interspersed -- that's the way I'm calling it), a chorus-like part (the part where guitar/bass leave a lot of space), and a quieter, bass-lead bridge.


The riff is catchy. I especially like the way the bass isn't just doubling the guitar. I didn't read your website, but it sounds like the arrangement is for a trio or standard quartet (a la Led Zep, where the singer usually doesn't play an instrument). Speaking of Zep, they had a lot of riff-based songs. Take "Heartbreaker" for example. The intro of the song consists of the riff repeated 4 times starting on A, 2x on B, then 2x again on A for 8x total. On "Immigrant Song", the riff is a lot shorter and is probably repeated more times before the first verse, but you don't notice it so much because of Plant's viking war cries. For "Chron-fusion", the riff is repeated 10x -- 2x just guitar then 8x everybody -- before things get started, and there's not a whole lot of variety going on there. Even a dance song with a monotonous droning bass/rhythm "THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP" throughout the whole piece is going to vary the higher-pitched instruments over the 5-minute aerobic workout, right? ;)


A 2nd guitar would come in real handy, but Zep managed well enough for live shows with just one guitar, so you should be able to, too. How did they do it? Well, part of it was Plant's strong vocals that put a melody on top of a lot of riffs. (He could add harmonica at just the right times, too.) If you're just a trio this might be hard to pull off. The other magic ingredient was Jones' amazing ability to make you believe you weren't missing the multi-tracked guitar parts during a live show. And, of course, the phenominal John Bonham ('nuff said). (Ok, I got carried away here; what was my point?)


From a compositional standpoint, you could either shorten "Chron-fusion"'s intro (2x guitar, 2x band) or try to vary it somehow. Starting the riff on another note is probably an easy, safe bet. If you don't want to give away the move from I to IV at the beginning of the first verse (by taking the riff up a 4th), try taking it up a minor 3rd instead. This should fit since you're already in a blues scale and there's no strong harmonic content during the riff that would make that modulation feel out of place. Take it back to the original before moving on to the verse.


From an arrangement standpoint, you can have the bass pick up the whole riff after a time and free up the guitar to do some lead work. I'd like to hear some less-distorted jangly/funky chords myself, maybe wah'd, but that's just me.


For the verse, I would shorten the first riff interlude to only 2x instead of 4x. The rest of the verse works for me. (I can't quite make out the lyrics, but I'm not a good judge of those anyway.)


The chorus gives the drummer a chance to shine. Rhythmically this is a great contrast to the straight-forward riff. Nice use of chromatics. It ends with the same rhythm as the end of the verse, but the chords move up this time instead of down to build some nice tension to lead back to the riff.


The bridge is a nice dynamic contrast with a mellower feel, but it seems to come out of no where. I think I'd like it better if there were some signal, either from the drums (full stop on beat 4 preceding) and/or guitar (maybe sliding the last chord down on beat 4, optionally with some echo/delay).


Once the bridge starts, the bass gets a chance to shine. (It should be obvious that I'd like that. ;) ) I like the fact that it sounds like a variation/cross between the riff (rhythm) and the chorus (descending pitches). I may have miscounted, but it sounds like 2x bass and 6x band. Unfortunately, it has the same problem as the riff, in that there's a lack of variation. The soft, sustained chords on guitar are a great accompaniment that don't cover up the bass, but after 2x I'm ready for something more. (If you had a 2nd guitar, they could play that part throughout.)


The bridge is probably the best place to jam this song out. After the first 4x the way it is, launch into a guitar solo. You're only a trio, so the bass should have carte blanche to play a little more aggressively, adding slight variation (especially to the ends of his phrases) with support from the drums to really drive the solo. If you don't feel comfortable with a long guitar solo and the bass is up to it, have the bass solo for a ride, too (go back to chords, but maybe add some rhythm to help drive the bass solo). Drum solo? Sure, why not, it's a jam. When the solos are done, come back in together and finish the song the way it is now.


Yeah, I know, instrumental solos are so yesterday in the world of modern rock. Keep 'em short and simple and I don't think anyone will mind. There's just not a lot of melodic/lyric content for people to latch on to as is. It's not punk like "Rock Lobster" (B-52s). Even modern rockers White Stripes put out a lot more vocals, and they're only a duo! Your band's strength seems to be in the instrumental department, so go with that.


Overall I liked "Chron-fusion". It has a good groove and enough variety between the different parts to keep the listener interested. It's probably not commercial enough for a couple of reasons, but I don't think it should be limited in that way. I'm sure your hometown fans would agree. I'm also sure it works as is and you should follow your instincts as songwriters.


Thanks for sharing!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Ric,

Thanks for the detailed critique (really above and beyond the call of duty and very much appreciated). You are right about the jam-oriented nature of the song. As we play it more and more, I'm sure those parts that are sort of stagnant will evolve into something else. I sent this link to the rest of the band and I'm sure we'll examine some of your suggestions.


9NE, I liked the Daddy-O tune. I do agree that it is Beatle-esque, but that's not a bad thing. I'd like to see a band playing this in a bar somewhere. Very enjoyable.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Sorry I haven't been able to give you a critique on this so far; life's a little busy this time of year. I did a quick listen and you've obviously put a lot of work in on this. Is there any chance you could post the lyrics?


Kawai GS-40 grand & other keys
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i liked it..nice flow, nice sound and slow groove.



Originally posted by David Holloway:

Originally posted by Tedster:

You mean, you want us to bare our asses for a collective laugh at our expense? :eek::D

Exactly ;)


Ok I'll start off - though it is an instrumental.


The song is called Learmont


Critique away ;)


P.S. Welcome Chris! :thu:

Artis7, S90ES, X50, SSV3
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Originally posted by BlueAndGreen:

kind of a 'nin inspired' thing..




web page

Hey BlueAndGreen, welcome to Songwriting and Composition! :wave:


There are others here more versed in the genre you posted, but I'll do my best to give you some feedback.


"Sundays" is a pretty brief 2:24, especially for something I feel isn't necessarily "punk". (Then again, I may be off base here.) I like the way things build by adding layers: short percussion intro, main harmonic theme, counter harmonic theme, melodic theme. Each layer adds to the excitement and drives the song forward. Unfortunately, just when we reach the top of the hill, the song ends abruptly and we fall off the edge of a cliff. (Not sure if that was intentional or not.) It's fine to end on a climax like that, but maybe some sort of ending cadence would be nice to signal to the listener that "the show is over", imo.


I'm a little puzzled why the percussion intro is only 4 beats long when the rest of the song relies on an 8-beat phrase. (Yes, the underlying percussion goes into more of a 16-beat phrase, but that would probably be too long for an intro.) Maybe try 8 beats here, and use the 2nd 4 beats to really drive into the song?


I lost count, but it seemed like each layer had 8 phrases before the next layer was added. There may have been some subtleties during each layer, but I found myself impatient for the song to move on sometimes. I'd be interested to hear it with only 4 phrases per layer. In order to maintain song length -- and to create some more ups and downs -- it might be interesting to peel layers off and then reapply them later. Just an idea.


Adding a stronger melodic element throughout would help, too, imo. (Again, this may not fit the genre.) I could easily listen to the long 8-phrase layers if there were a melody riding them. Even adding some industrial "noise" elements would be helpful, imo.


As is, I can hear it being used in some sort of background situation such as film: slowly driving the plot forward to a climax and then an abrupt scene change. However, I can't help but think of it as being incomplete. It could easily accommodate some lyrics or remain instrumental by adding something melodic. (As a bassist, I wouldn't mind a more moving bass line, but as is it is very effective so I would be hesitant to change it.)


This is probably a stretch, but to me the title evokes either a day where you have time to slowly get up and get going, or maybe even taking that long Sunday drive without any particular destination in mind. Without lyrical content, a more provocative title might be nice. (A friend of mine once won an art show with an abstract painting he titled "Woman Weeping at Well" that I'm sure had more to do with the title than the actual work.)


Overall "Sundays" has a cool hypnotic quality, and unending movement, like climbing a set of M.C. Escher stairs or an endless highway drive, where the scenery keeps changing slightly but has a sense of sameness, too. The synths sound good and at least to me they work together well. I'm a big fan of layering, so that works for me.


It was a fun listen. Thanks for sharing!

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Originally posted by Mickael:

Well...great musicians here! ;)

Here is the link to my song called "I'm going out"



Hope you like it! LOTSSS of work in this one!



Hey Mickael, I finally got a chance to listen to this at home. Nicely done! From a compositional point of view, I thought you did a great job of holding my attention for all 3:39. The music is simple but works well to support the singing. Like BlueAndGreen, you used some nice layering to help build the song.


From an arrangement point of view, it's really tough to work with vocals in a lower register. I think everything turned out fine, but make sure the distorted guitar isn't masking them too much when it's pounding away.


The vocals really grabbed my attention. I'm with Hugo; I'd like to see the lyrics, too.


All in all this was really nice to listen to. Thanks for posting! :thu:

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Originally posted by ChrisValenti:

Hi all,


I'm new to this forum. I look forward to checking in from time to time.


:wave: Chris Valenti

Hey I'm new here too. I'm a keyboard player in a band named Rage we're coming out in May on a 5 city tour...small but a start
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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

This will probably interrupt the flow of all the rock in here so far (nice job, everybody...I've been listening!) but here are some original piano pieces I've just finished. It's my first piano opus (10 pieces) but you can, of course listen to whichever of them you wish. You can find them here ->



Enjoy, and don't be shy with the feedback.

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Greetings all!

I'm a songwriter seeking feedback. My 4 latest offerings can be found at the website below. In turn, I will review others' work as well. Any advice is welcome. Thanks in advance!




Compaq Presario PC

512 RAM

Celleron processor (would a Pentium make a noticeable difference, anyone?)

Terratec Phase 22 Soundcard

Cakewalk Guitar Tracks 2 software

Real instruments, except for Yamaha DTXpress II electronic drum set

Guitars run through Digitech RP200 modeling guitar processor

All vocals and instruments pre-amped w/Sony MDM-X4 4-track mini-disc recorder/mixer




Originally posted by David Holloway:

The other "check out my recording" threads in other forums tend to either emphasize performance or recording techniques; this is the forum for discussing the songwriting and composition of a recording.


Music is subjective, so it's hard to give / receive good feedback around here and keep the convivial atmosphere we all love. It's tough when all you see is "cool" and "well done" (although those are nice to see), but is it too brutal to suggest something like "the bridge doesn't work for me"? The point is not to offend, but to offer opinion (everyone's will be different) and perhaps educate.


So jump on in :thu:


(This intro text is an alteration of a post RicBassGuy made) ;)

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Oh, and i'll give you guys my take of your stuff when I get some time. All I had time to listen to was Nursers' Learmont, which is by the way, excellent. The synth is mesmorizing, then the beat comes in and you expect a funky 5 note syncopated riff...could be an idea? =)



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  • 2 months later...
Originally posted by G String:

Hey all,


I'm quite new to 'the game'. I have been writing songs for about 3 years now. Here is a link to a website which has a handful of my recordings. They are a bit sloppy, but let me know what you think. Any input would be gratly appreciated, good or bad.




THanks guys



Hi Mac,

There doesn't seem to be much activity here on this thread, which is disappointing. I've been away for awhile myself. I figured I'd jump in and start reviewing some stuff in hopes of stimulating some more reviewing activity on the forum, so I'll start with your stuff.


Song 1: Well, this song sounds like it could be a real crowd pleaser, especially performed live before a young, stoner-type audience. I found it hard to decipher some of the lyrics in the verse sections because the guitar seemed to be louder than the voice in the mix. The song has a nice, laid-back groove to it that I'm sure a band could have fun with. And I like the dynamic lift the song gets when it goes to the chorus and your voice gets stronger in the mix, making it easier to hear the words.


On the down side, I found the profanity to be a little gratuitous sounding, but I understand that that's the way many young people express themselves nowadays. I just think that you might be able to broaden the appeal of the song to a wider audience by substituting something else for the profanity, imho.


I won't comment on the production quality since this was obviously made just for demo purposes and you admitted that it was a bit sloppy.


Structurally, I felt that the intro was a little too long -- maybe cut it in half to get to the vocal sooner. Also, coming out of the second chorus I thought it would sound really cool if you introduced some different chords there and made that the bridge, leading into the vocals "I know that I'll remember my youth...." If you were to make that whole part where the guitar drops out become part of the bridge I think that could sound pretty cool. Just a suggestion though.


You have a good voice and a good sense of rhythmic phrasing of your lyrics. There's maybe a couple of spots where the rhythmic phrasing falters, but it's only a rough demo, so it's all good.


Overall impression -- not bad for someone just starting out.


Song 2:Another cool laid-back groove. Like the first song, your voice is passionate and full of conviction. I could hear the words a little better on this one, but I would still mix the guitar down just a hair more. I can't decide if I like the line "We flow like Niagara, glow(?) like Viagra." It came off a little forced to me, but it might be brilliant for all I know. I liked the lyrics, though. It had a stream-of-consciousness quality (if that's the right term for what I mean) in the sense that it came off like someone was just saying what they felt at that moment in time with a purposeful sincerity. Very appealing


Overall impression: another good song with potential.


I'll try to listen to some more of your tunes another time. If you get a chance, you can check mine out at www.tributerrysam.com.


Like me, I hope you keep on goin' and growin', dude. Take care.



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