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Djembe players use three basic sounds to get an array of different rhythms and feels — bass, tone, and slap, which have low, medium, and high pitches respectively. You get the different sounds by hitting the drum in different places and with different parts of your hands. Here’s our quick rundown to get you started.

If you sample someone else’s music, make sure you’ve covered all your bases too. Reach out to the original songwriter to discuss splits and obtain a mechanical license to use their sample in your music, and then register and administer the percentage that you both agree upon. Don’t find yourself in a sticky situation — do your homework and know how to properly go about using samples.

Next, I’m raising the white flag at these two choruses. At first I just wanted to label them “title refrains” because there’s different material happening after them, but on the other hand, the second half of the choruses are the same, so you kinda have to go back to chorus over refrain.

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With the advent of systems like the Kemper Profiler and Fractal Audio AX-8, many guitarists are making use of amp simulators instead of using the real thing. Even some of the most well known bands are using them live and in the studio.

Old clothes, accessories, furniture, and junk can be fascinatingly different from city to city. Scouring the local Goodwills or thrift shops is super entertaining, affordable, and fun.  Plus it’s a great way to add to your show wardrobe.

There are a ton of pitch corrector plugins out there to make sure you’re fully in tune and sounding great — and no, you don’t need to go full Auto-Tune. If you’re a bit of a perfectionist though, you may want to hand tune them yourself. Head into the Audio Editor to find an option called Flex. From there, you’ll be able to tune any of your vocals by dragging them up or down to the correct note or fine pitch, or even flatten out the vibrato.

Knowing your audience is a crucial aspect of marketing your music, but it is also important to consider your audience when writing your music. What kind of people (outside of your friends and family) do you want your music to appeal to? What artists do people in your target audience listen to? Which moods and lyrics does your audience relate to?

Earlier this year, we launched a collection with the INA (the National Audiovisual Institute of France), entitled 33 Tours avec l’INA. This collection includes three projects from singers Ray Charles, Serge Gainsbourg, and Dalida. All three projects saw a successful pre-order run, and we’ve just launched the production of 500 copies for each project!

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When Shimkovitz launched Awesome Tapes as a record label in 2011, he started tracking down Ata Kak, but after years of searching he kept coming up empty. After four years though, he finally tracked down the man behind the mysteriously amazing music, Yaw Atta-Owusu. Yaw Atta-Owusu has been touring live ever since being discovered and is finally getting the international recognition he deserves.

If you already have some lyrics written, really think about how a motif would work with your most important words or phrase. Start by saying them out loud in a few different ways. This will give you a really basic idea of the rhythm you might use and an inclination of where the pitch naturally rises and falls. Use your phone to record yourself.

Phase also operates more deeply within the architecture of signal processing, itself. A vintage analog EQ unit uses capacitors and inductors to shift the phase of the signal passing through it. And the same goes for most digital equalizers, many of which are designed to model the distinct and desirable characteristics of those good ol’ analog boxes. There are linear phase EQs available digitally that do not function using phase shifting, but they are a relatively special case.

Whether you’re a vocalist learning to sight sing from sheet music or an instrumentalist working on transcribing songs, arranging for an ensemble, or even composing new musical material, learning to identify intervals by ear can be useful across almost any situation. Plus, if you can identify intervals by ear, who needs perfect pitch?

Modes and Key Signatures have a variety of different characteristics and are great for outside-the-box songwriting. Here’s a cheat sheet to remember them!