To meet LO.06 I will be focusing on our group’s production of the ‘James Blunt song’ (as we refer to it). This is actually a replication of James Blunt’s Stay The Night and was the first song we began production on. I also feel it’s the one we’ve put the most effort into. This blog will discuss some of the fundamental musical concepts we’ve applied to our recreation of the song (view/hear the original track here)
Bars, Beats and Song Structure
Prior to our first studio session, we each did a rough analysis of the original track, focusing first on song structure. The song’s structure is very consistent and typical of a pop song i.e. verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus (millenial, 2012). The song features an 8 bar intro, 8 bar verses, 8 bar chorus’ and 8 bar bridge as well as a 4 bar pre and post chorus and a 4 bar outro. We figured out the tempo by using the ‘tap out’ website all8.com.
The tempo turned out to be 96BPM which is rather slow for the typical pop song though I feel the particular story or emotion Blunt is trying to convey in this piece is better suited to the slower 96BPM than the typical 128BPM of today’s average pop song (Davids, 2012).
The total length of the song is approximately 3:31. This could be a problem for us as we’re trying to accurately replicate the song’s structure and a part of the brief we’re trying to meet is to provide three, three minute songs (as well as shorter edits of each). Knowing that this song follows the common four beats per bar formula I used the following equation to figure out how I could edit the song structure to make it easier for us to record and edit the parts we needed to make a very similar 3 minute song:
96BPM / 4 beats per bar = 24 bars per minute.
Through my previous analysis of how many beats were in each section of the song (verse, chorus, pre-chorus etc) I could figure out where the relevant cut off times were throughout the song (as seen in the audio timeline screenshots below).
As seen above, the 3:00 mark is at the end of the third chorus which means we would have to omit the fourth, repeated chorus and outro from our final edits. I don’t see this as being a problem as without these last two sections of the song, it still keeps a contemporary pop song format. Not only that but the songs we’re submitting for assessment are for contribution to a library of production music where I don’t believe the exclusion of this 0:30 would be noticed or objected to.
About half way through the trimester we were informed that in order to avoid copyright issues, we must alter the melody of Stay The Night. Neither Ananda nor myself are musicians so we were unsure of how we’d actually go about doing this without painstakingly figuring out the notes of the original melody and then changing them around and waiting till we find something that sounds good. Fortunately, facilitator Dylan was able to help us out. After some Internet research we found out that Stay The Night is in the key of D major. Dylan then told us which particular notes are in the scale of D major and that we could then easily find a new melody to accompany our version of the original song. In any case, the melody would complement the chord progressions being played underneath it because they’re part of the D major scale and the chords featured in the song are all made up of combinations of notes from the D major scale.
Note: artefactual evidence of the aforementioned knowledge of fundamental music theory can be witnessed in DAW sessions and upon hearing final product.
– millenial. (2012). The Elements of a Great Pop Song. Retrieved from https://www.gearslutz.com/board/songwriting/685816-elements-great-pop-song.html
– Davids, B. (2012). Creating a Pop Song Part 2: Tempo. Retrieved from http://music.tutsplus.com/articles/creating-a-pop-song-part-2-tempo–audio-15790