Friday, December 25, 2009

Have a "Killer" Christmas Guys !

Here's wishing everyone a Merry Christmas ! Have a great weekend with your loved ones!


Here's a nice song by "The Killers":


Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Technical Magic in Music: The ADSR envelope

Hey guys ! I got my friend vocalist, who had earlier written the post : "Analog and Digital Recordings: Views, Misuses and The Present Context " , to write another one for me. And here it is! It might be a little bit technical stuff, but there's something for everyone to read on.

Rock singer Ian Gillan performing live with De...Image via Wikipedia

This content is basically for all the musicians but especially for the vocalists out there. I'm going to discuss about the sound envelope i.e. the modulation and various changes a sound faces while traveling . The sound envelope contains 4 major components, which are-

1. Attack
2. Decay
3. Sustain
4. Release

1. Attack- A Sound starts from attack. The attack time is very quick and It is the time when the amplitude of the sound reaches the peak level.

2. Decay- During decay time, the amplitude of the sound drops quickly.

3. Sustain-Its the time when the amplitude and the harmonics of a sound are maintained. This is the time where you get to hear the actual depth of the sound.

4. Release- During release time, the harmonics and the amplitude gradually decrease and audibility is lost.

Well, now that were just the technical parts.

Now just take out your guitar and play any open string once. You will observe that the note stays for a time and then it gradually decreases. In technical terms, an open string has greater sustain and release time. Similarly if you play a muted guitar you will find that the attack time is greater than the sustain time.

Now its time to give some advice to the vocalists.
Just make your mind clear with the ADSR envelope first. Now when you are singing, just increase your attack time and decrease you sustain time. This is how a vocalist shows his skills !

Let me tell you some songs which have got a high attack time. Listen to "Victim Of Changes" of Judas Priest. In the last part when he screams thrice, in that case the attack time is more than the sustain time and finally when he screams continuously for 5 seconds, in that case it has got high attack and sustain time but a very short release time.

One more song in which you have a similar attack and sustain time and less release time is "Child In Time" of Deep Purple. Basically attack time is more in high pitch screams.

Now its your time to do experiments with ADSR. Try to make various changes with your vocals by increasing or decreasing the time limit of any of these four components. Its really easy ! Just changing a fraction of a second of any of these components will bring out something new and this is how you can show your skills and create your own style of Vocals !

My best wishes to all budding Vocalists! Keep singing guys !

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Stairway To Heaven, but A Highway To Hell !

Guys, Notice the irony here ! Rock gave us just a stairway to reach heaven, and a lot easier and faster highway to reach hell !

Well, that's what's life is about too ! Ending up your life doing miserable, ugly things is a lot easier, but being noble and a nice human being is actually difficult, because you have to bear everything really patiently, and never commit a mistake or else you'll fall down all the stairs that Led Zeppelin gave us to reach heaven, and you would be accelerating on AC/DC's Highway to Hell!. AC/DC= Anti Christ/Devil's Children. The way towards heaven is long but the way towards hell is very easy. Rock music is not all about doing anti social things. Rock is the only genre of music where you get every kind of feel. Rock includes everything, from social issues to antichrist songs, from love to family disputes and inspiring songs which sometimes boosts up your mind so much, encourages you and gives you strength to achieve your hardest dream. Rock influences a lot and makes your mind to work appropriately if you are seriously following it.

Hope you gave out a small little laugh reading another of my rather silly random thoughts, did you ?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Analog and Digital Recordings: Views, Misuses and The Present Context

Well, guys, I got a really great friend of mine, who's also a vocalist and is pursuing a course in Sound Recording, to write down a short post for my blog, and he very kindly agreed. This is a Must read for anyone who listens to music, or even still, is A Vocalist himself ! The present generation seems to be really scarce of pure talented musicians, most of whom are just there for money and fame, unlike what used to be the Driving force decades ago !

My friend has given some useful information about recordings and has also penned down his really worthy views about this, that I'm presenting to you all. He also agreed to write more about Sound Recordings and related technical stuff too, that may appear in my future posts on this blog ! So, stay tuned !

Here's what he said:

During the 70's era there were some of the finest rock bands in action. Bands Like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath came out with new kind of sounds. The most amazing thing about these bands was they were so skilled in their instruments that during that time we had no advanced technologies for recordings but still their music sounded pleasant to our ears. Well this shows how talented these musicians were. During the 70's era, Analog recording was most prominent. Gradually, digital music came into existence. Albums like 'Appetite for Destruction' of the Guns N' Roses is an example of digital recording.

Digital recordings can give you a much better quality. Through Digital Recording, you can put various sound effects and can increase the loudness of a song, or some parts of it too. The loudness war has become a major reason for the decrease of skilled musicians in the current generation. Nowadays in most of the albums, the Dynamics (i.e., the range from the low sound to the high sound) of a song is controlled and the loudness is increased which means that there is a little difference between the quiet and the louder sections, overall snatching the emotional power of the song. That is the reason why most of today's songs have a rather dominating effect even if a vocalist is hitting an E4 note. This didn't happen in the 70's or 60's as during that time vocalists like Plant, Gillan and Daltrey used to hit really high notes but just because the amplitude was not raised much, youngsters now feel that they are hitting quite normal notes in their songs. During that time, the dynamics were not touched so much and putting in an effect in a song was quite difficult. In the song Bohemian Rhapsody of Queen, there had been about 170 times overdubbing for the intro vocal part! This could have been easily done, with just the click of a button if we had digital recording at that time!

Well, we are misusing digital recording to a large extent today. If the story continues like this, then we may not even be able to make out a talented band as all of the recordings will be done digitally and the musicians would be doing nothing at all ! Anyone with even a croaking voice would be An Idol for musicians yet to come, and this might be the end of a Genuine talented, hard working era of vocalists after all ! And even today, much of it is clearly visible in most of the bands that we hear out, who are just puppets of a Recording Master, who transforms their worthless 'talent' , though unfortunately, into a great voice !


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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Greatest Rock Frontmen

This list has been the toughest one for me to select and sort out the best amongst the best. Me being a vocalist too, feel that without a great frontman in a band a live performance cannot live up to the expectations of the crowd. Though how much good the music is but if the frontman is poor the crowd will hesitate to indulge themselves with the band. The list basically focuses on the stage performances done by these great vocalists and not on their vocal abilities.

I have also attached some of their live performances for all you rock fans to get some glimpses of some of these immortal artists who taught us How To Rock !

6. Roger Daltrey ( The Who) - Till date people want to rush to a concert of The Who not because of their music( no doubt about their music, Its legendary) but because of Daltrey's Stage performance which is still the same as it was during the 60's. He had been an icon for many modern rockstars and classic rockstars like Bono, Steven Tyler etc.

5. Bono (U2), Jimi Hendrix - I am compelled to put these rockers together because it was very difficult for me to exclude one frontman from these 6 sorted out vocalists. Coming to hendrix, he had been an on stage legendary rocker. People preferred to listen his live performances rather than his studio recordings because of his crazy and wild acts of guitaring on stage. When it comes to Bono, there is only one thing that is ignited in a concert of U2 among of all ages and that's: Emotions. Every concert of U2 has got an emotional touch. Bono is the man who can easily bring out tears in eyes of each of his fans.

4. Bruce Springsteen- Well, I earlier had completely forgot "The Boss", but my really kind friends notified me in the "Comments Section" below. Well, any such list without Bruce Springsteen would never be complete and creditable, and I honestly agree to that too. Bruce has been a great entertainer on stage, and he seems to have such ounces of energy , that its really difficult to get your eyes off him for even a moment. He bangs on his guitar so hard, and the audience is simply dancing to his tunes all the time ! The guy is simply a GOD on stage. What a pity I forgot to mention him !

3. Jim Morrison ( The Dorrs)- The poet, the legend, the icon and the greatest star. I think this man was the most weird performer and it was his weirdness only that became an acclaimed style. Girls were fond of his doped behavior and his hairstyle and his high IQ level. He was a versatile man and every kind of person adored him. Some liked him for his intelligence, some for his high doping attitude and some for his weird and censored acts on stage.

2. Freddie Mercury ( Queen) - What more a crowd would want if the vocalist himself is singing " we will rock you" for them. He had a unique quality of charging up the crowd and compelling them to sing with him. Definitely there had been a huge loss in the entire rock history by losing a man who had so much of versatility in music and frontmenship.

1. Elvis Presley / Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones
)- No comparisons with any other frontmen for these two rockers! They deserve this position For sure.

About Mick Jagger, I know he is not a great vocalist like Freddie Mercury and Roger Daltrey but when it comes to performance, then he is a God. The toughest job in a concert of The rolling Stones to handle the crowd. The crowd in their concert has always been huge and each person in the crowd had only one desire : to jump onto the stage and hug Mick Jagger!!

And Finally, about Elvis Presley : The King of Rock n Roll ! The man who started it all ! He had a really versatile voice and left his mark on almost all genres known, notably Rock n Roll, Blues, Pop, Country and Ballads. Right from his start, He has created innumerable records in terms of Concert Audience, Album Sales and Ratings. Not only as a Rock n Roll frontman, He is also known for his enchanting personality and has been honored with various Lifetime Achievement Awards too. He Set The Trend That Others Now Follow !
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