Set task 5 – Write a 500 word reflection on the composition and production of your track, focusing on the creative and technical aspects of your production methodology.

Throughout this whole process I felt like I never stopped learning as there were constant  questions that I had to ask; I made mistakes which led to being corrected and I researched methods. I always had an idea in my head of how I wanted my music to sound, but always thought it was too straight forward and minimal, in fact mixing just a piano and vocal track was truly gruelling, as the levels had to be perfect as theres nothing to hide behind.

Booking the amount of sessions I did gave me time to find my way around protools and also the way in which each microphone can be used, thus giving me valuable knowledge that I went on to use in my final track.

I resulted in using the following sets ups in my final recording:

Upright Piano

  • A B set up – Rode NT3

This being positioned more to the left (Players perspective) of the piano as I didn’t use the higher range so I felt that this placement was preferred.

  • X Y set up – Neumann KM 184
  • Mid Side – AKG C414 (one cardioid and the other figure of 8)

These Set ups shown in pictures here – Plug and Play Sm2; Practice in the Studio

I found during my practice sessions that these two microphone set ups gave me a realistic, natural, rounded sound, where as the Mid Side sounded to close and created to much bass which was not the sound I wanted.

For the vocals I found that the U87 captured the rawness in my voice as it carried a clean stripped back tone where as the others I tried had a more synthetic sound to them.

This stripped back authentic sound was what I was striving for when creating the track, this all being reflected through the instrumentation, structure and even then lyrics. The emotion in the song was my main focus, I wanted the listener to feel the pain and confusion in the mind of someone experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Using the object writing technique created many starting points and ideas for the lyrics, this resulted in me settling on the Sea being my object and this theme carried throughout. The sea and suicide gelled together well for obvious reasons, this allowing me to create sense filled but not to obvious lyrics. These lyrics, my own accompaniment and harmonies helped with the personal feeling of the track, creating this vulnerable, exposed sound that I was aiming for.

When it came to the mix and master I had the same intentions, I didn’t want it to take this natural, raw sound away, ‘less is more’ was the phrase I referred to. Touches of compression, a little EQ and a splash of reverb was all that the track needed; The reverb bringing the vocals to life and gave the song that overall pop.

On reflection I am very happy with how my track turned out but the whole process had opened my eyes to what is possible for future tracks. I will definitely carry on experimenting with mic set ups and possibly do something more out of my comfort zone.