SONIC VISTA INSIGHTS
Music is born when you hit a note and it also exists when you don’t. Perceivable qualities, like groove, feel, and vibe; these are all elements that have an impact on the way music is created and experienced. At Sonic Vista Studios, we like to call them invisible diamonds of music, because they are as precious as the golden cornerstones of notes that create the music we love to hear. When we play an instrument, be it a guitar or a MIDI keyboard, there are components that shape the way music is performed (live, or on a record), the most popular being notes, chords, melodies, and rhythm. However, there are other elements that play a crucial part in the performance of music, and that’s what we will be focusing on today.
Groove Described as an unspecifiable but ordered sense of something that is sustained in a distinctive, regular, and attractive way, working to draw the listener in. Musicologists have argued that a groove is an understanding of a rhythmic pattern and an intuitive sense of motion that stimulates dancing or foot tapping on the part
of the listeners. Emotion (AKA feel) Bass legend Victor Wooten wrote a book called The Music Lesson, a wonderful chef d’oeuvre about music that illustrates the equal importance of notes, articulation, technique, dynamics, rhythm, tone, phrasing, space, and feel. He describes feel as ‘the musician’s capacity to communicate a musical phrase into an emotion’. If the listener is able to grasp the message that is being conveyed, we can rightfully say that the musician was able to get across the right feel. Vibe A distinctive emotional atmosphere. The word is short for vibration, and can be explained as an emotional reaction to the aura felt to belong to a person, place, or thing. When a song has vibe, it means that the music is able to transport the listener into a specific place in his or her mind. Vibe highlights the familiar and nostalgic element of music, which helps the listener identify with the song. Energy A combination of movement and
tensions. In music, energy is an intangible element that causes a stimulus within the listener. When a piece of music is said to have energy, it means that it’s able to create a physical reaction to the listener. Essential to the existence of groove, the energy of a song is what causes the listeners to simply want to move. This movement can manifest itself through behaviours such as dancing, jumping, or even moshing. Understanding energy is vital because it allows the musician to understand the dynamics of a song, which consequently allows the composer to control the listening experience for the end consumer. Balance When all the pieces of a song work in harmony, and the musical experience sounds effortless. For art to be considered beautiful, there needs to be some form of symmetry, therefore all the parts must flow together harmoniously. It’s true that ‘simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication’ (Da Vinci), but sometimes, ‘simple can be harder than complex’ (Steve Jobs). Quality is born out of hard work.
Audio Effects Tools used by musicians; the lifeline of a great mix. Mixing is the process of blending all the individual tracks in a recording to create a version of the song that sounds as good as possible. Like a painter will use colours to create an illustration, the mix engineer will use effects (and other tools) to create depth, width, and harmony within a song. Mixing is an art form in its own right, and should be understood by every music creator in order to create the best recording possible. Technically, music is an invisible experience, because we are entertained by something we cannot see, touch, taste, or smell - only hear. Music itself is an invisible treasure, and if we think about it, these invisible diamonds are actually quite visible to the human ear. At Sonic Vista Studios, we believe that acknowledging the existence of these elements will help any music maker become a more sensitive creator, a better performer; but more importantly, it will help them increase the quality of music they offer to their audience. www.sonicvistastudios.com