Tunevolution: Those Crazy Eyes

Composition, Education, Software, Songwriting, Synthesizers 1 Comment

Last week in Songwriting Workshop:Harmony, our assignment was to put together a progression with certain characteristics. For that I created a groove that goes from a Im IVm Aeolian “power progression” to a Im IV7 Dorian equivalent. This inspired some additional changes that ultimately turned into a nice rumba thing:

Week 5 Assignment – MP3 – 160kBps – 1.7MB – 1:28 min.

This week was our midterm assignment and I chose to stick with that basic rumba groove and see what I could do with it. I didn’t like the G7sus4 G7 “resolution” because, well, it was just a little too “one-four-fivey” to go to CMaj after the very cool change to FmMaj7 and the other stuff that precedes it. I started fooling with it and hit upon a nice E7#5 which – immediately – struck a raw Steely Dan nerve that didn’t seem to want to settle back down. So I went with it.

The result – at least to me – is nothing short of astounding. That is, it doesn’t feel like I should have been capable of writing this – in three days, no less – but I did. I credit Shane Adams here, as his weekly class lectures on WebEx have been a true goldmine of information – and inspiration – for a harmony beginner like myself.

Anyway, I keep thinking this tune has to be a direct ripoff of some Steely Dan tune I can’t find, but so far it looks genuinely original. At this point there’s just a couple verses and a ‘chorus’ which, right now, sounds more like a bridge to me, but hey it’s a work in progress. This is transposed down a step from the earlier composition, mostly so I can ‘sort of’ sing it (getting some vocal chops back after not singing for so long is proving to be problematic). It’s also sped up a bit from a sleepy 94bpm to a more upbeat 110, which feels just about right. The drums here are Session Drummer 3 with tweaks to the stock rhythms by me. Everything else (but the vocal, of course) is the Kontakt 3.5 sampling synth, and I’m very happy to report that it works just fine with my x64 version of SONAR on Win 7. Nice NOT to have to spend money upgrading that just to get it to work.

When I redo this with a complete vocal and finish this I’ll post an update. It might be a while before I can hire the right horn section and female backup vocalists, but I’m already checking Craigslist…

Those Crazy Eyes (beta) – MP3 – 192kBps – 7MB – 5:07 min.

Those Crazy Eyes
© 2010 Ron Romano

[intro]

BbMaj7 Am7 Gm7 D7#5
Gm7 G#m7 Gm7 G#m7

[verse]

Gm7                          Cm7
Those foggy nights above the bay... so quiet

Gm7                         C7
Until we found each others' hand.

EbmMaj7               Eb°7     Dm7              Gm7     Gm7 Fm7
Three Rings and Garrapata: our private stomping grounds.

EbMaj7                          D7sus4            D7#5
We played the finest mind games  with the time we found.

Our steamy nights above the bay... on fire.
Long laughter. Short, white, sexy lies.
When all that high adventure was threatened by good-byes.
I couldn't look away from Those Crazy Eyes.


[chorus I]

Gm7
Temp-ta-tion lies in Those Crazy Eyes.

F6      Gm7
Walk a- way.

Gm7 Dm7 EbMaj7  Cm7      F7sus4 
Not for nuthin' does the Mother

F7       F6   Gm7
Warn the Son:

              Cm7             D7sus4
Don't talk to Strangers after school.

D7              Gm9       BbMaj7 Gm6/E (or C7)
Don't take that pill just to be  cool.

              Cm7                    Cm6
Look both ways when you step out

    Cm6add9    D7      
But don't look twice - 

         D7sus4 D7#5    Gm
at Those Cra-        zy Eyes.


[chorus II]

Temp-ta-tion lies
In Those Crazy Eyes. Walk away.
Not for nuthin' does the Mother
Warn the son:

Don't let this fall out of your wallet.
Don't be too quick to compro- mise.
Don't argue with Sicilians.
And don't look twice - at Those Crazy Eyes.


[bridge I]

EbMaj7 F7            Dm7  Gm7 Gm7 Fm7
Some   love, it's de-liri-um.

EbMaj7    F7                  Dm7  Gm7 Gm7 Fm7
Magic. Mystique. Slippery oblivi-  on.

EbMaj7                  F7
Cool champagne, diamond ring

F7       Dm7       Bb°Maj7
Might be just your thing.

        Cm7      C7                  EbMaj7
But for some the prize is What's be- hind

      D7sus4 D7#5  Gm7
Those Cra-    zy   Eyes.


[bridge II]

Some love, it's delirium.
Tragic. Intrigue. Aaron and Miriam.
Way too late you find Fate
But it's not the one
That you see there when you close
Those Crazy Eyes.

p.s. yeah, you know who you R__ 😉

Hard Road Down

Audio Recording, Composition, Guitar, Performance, Songwriting Comments Off on Hard Road Down

Been a while. I’ve been getting a handle on songwriting harmony in BerkleeMusic’s BMW-133 Songwriting Workshop: Harmony with (the awesome) Shane Adams. This week was the first I’d actually put something complete together. I’ve upgraded to Win 7, which meant saying good-bye to the Tascam FW-1804 and replacing it with a PreSonus FireStudio Mobile. This is the first stuff recorded with that unit, which – especially considering it’s about 1/10th the size and has almost the same capability – is pretty darned nice.

Harmonically, this tune stays primarily Ionian for the most part, but borrows the Lydian II and the Mixolydian bVIImaj7 at different points.

The verse section uses two distinct “power progressions”: I IV and I VIm IIm V, which are both in the list of Ionians in the book. The second pass through the verse replaces the Ionian IIm with the Lydian II – actually II7sus4 & II7, followed by a V with falling bass.

The chorus uses an idea that’s similar but not identical to the last Ionian power progression in the book – the one with the falling bass line, i.e., prosodically (Shane?) ‘going down’. The progression is IV IV/bIV IIm V I I/VII VIm VIm7, repeating, and ends with bVII IV V.

Sorry if the audio is a little hard to follow and the vocal is a bit strained. I literally wrote, threw it together and rough mixed it in about 4 hours – that’s two acoustic guitars, electric guitar, bass, electric solo, MIDI drum track and a vocal. *pant* It sounded incomplete without at least these parts. Strings and piano will be added later, I’m thinking, and of course this needs about two more verses, another chorus and maybe a modified repeat of the bridge. Right now I’m just trying to figure out where to go with the lyrics.

Hard Road Down – MP3 – 192kBps – 6.5MB – 4:31 min.