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“But Carter, you said E♭ major and C minor share a key signature and there is definitely a C minor chord in this song. Isn’t this song then in C minor?”

An instrument’s strings are never perfectly in tune, and even the best violinists don’t place their fingers on the exact right place on the fingerboard. By alternating these two wonky A’s, Bach is drawing our attention to the physicality of the instrument, and to the way that the subtle microtones you get from physically playing it rub uncomfortably against each other. Guitarists use this same technique all the time, and it’s no big surprise that the chaconne sounds so great on guitar.

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Although most of these modes have been used quite sparsely in Western popular music (and mostly in jazz-fusion), some of them have been used more. The mode built on the fifth degree of a Harmonic minor scale, Phrygian (Major third), for example, has been used in heavy metal by guitarists such as Yngwie Malmsteen or Ritchie Blackmore, while the mode built on the seventh degree of the Melodic Minor scale is commonly used in jazz over altered dominant chords (for example, try to use G# Superlocrian on a G#7(♭13) and unleash its altered, dissonant character).

Once hip-hop artists started making money, they were met by an influx of copyright suits. Such harsh court decisions and the constant threat of legal suits inhibited the creativity of hip-hop artists. This case reflects the legal reaction to hip-hop: in the eyes of the court, hip-hop and sampling were not art, but pure theft. Courts labeled samplers criminals, and the art form itself was forced to change.

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This post is part of Flypaper’s Home Recording Week, where we’re sharing tips and insights from our community on home recording and production workflow. Read our featured articles here, or sign up for our weekly newsletter to make sure you never miss a beat!

We briefly mentioned “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen earlier. Aside from the religious references, it was also originally a poem Cohen wrote and published before the song was ever recorded. Try writing a poem purely on pen and paper, without worrying about melody or rhythm at all. Once you’ve got a solid draft, try setting it to music. Ultimately, you might need to be inventive or make some changes to make everything flow nicely, but this can produce good results.

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The same note, one octave up, appears in Fret 11 on the 1st string, but in order to get back to the previous D#/E♭, we have to skip one string and go back three frets this time (follow the top-right green arrow). This happens every time we cross the 2nd string, because of the tuning alteration. Obviously, we could have used another reference point, the note E an octave up, which appears in Fret 12 of the 1st string, but it helps to understand the relationship between the strings that cross the 2nd string.

Another common issue is sibilance — or excessive “s,” “t,” and “z” sounds — often exacerbated by cheap condenser microphones. Sometimes this issue can be solved using an equalizer to remove the offensive frequencies in the 5-10 kHz range, but this approach often leaves the vocal sounding dull and flat. A much more effective solution is to use a de-esser to attenuate the specific frequencies causing the sibilance. This way, the frequency is only attenuated when it becomes excessive, leaving the vocal sounding bright and clear the rest of the time.

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A lot of pop, hip-hop, and electronic tracks are skipping the bridge these days. You can hear this song form or something similar in the following tracks:

In 2013, a 20-year-old Miley Cyrus was trying to shed her Hannah Montana good-girl youth image. Stuff like that can usually take an album or two, a couple promotion campaigns, and some time to sculpt, but not for Miley. Her image was resculpted in a matter of minutes with this viral good-girl-gone-bad performance at the the VMAs alongside the also-controversial Robin Thicke.

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In his case, that’s a lot of pop-punk and a variety of indie rock. Yes, Sawyer has developed a keen appreciation for The Gaslight Anthem, The Front Bottoms, and The Arkells. Never let it be said that he doesn’t have taste!

Melody isn’t made up of random notes anymore than speech uses random words. There’s as much grammar in a tune as there is in a paragraph. The notes in a well-written melody are organized into small groups called motifs. A motif is a group of 2, 3, 4 and not many more notes that played in that way, that are ordered together to make a tune easily identifiable — like a mugshot.