Sunday, July 31, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Role of a Lead Guitarist in Music Production

The Mind of a songwriter is often wired differently than that of a guitarist.

Though the two cross paths often, it's rare to see a pro-level guitar player (particularly a lead guitarist) and a successful songwriter embodying the same human being.  But if you're that guitar player, the guy or gal whose expertise is wrapped up in solos, arpeggios and all the technical abilities thereof, how do you approach the songwriting process?  What's your role?

If you're good, you'll find yourself getting invitations for session work and opportunities to contribute to other people's music.  When that time comes, here's what your job description will entail.

1.  To Increase the Originality of the Music

A chord progression by itself doesn't make a song.

In fact, there are only a few commonly used chord progressions for the most of the primary music genres and a ton of music that's derived from them.

The  melody and layering, whether it comes from a vocalist or a guitar player, are the primary ways one piece of music can be differentiated from another.  It makes music better by increasing the quality and originality of the end product.

When it comes to songwriting, it's your job to make sure you increase a song's quality by using melody and layering

2.  To Add Melody and Melodic Accents

Melody is one of the most crucial parts of a lead guitarist's job description, especially when you're talking about songwriting.  If you're working with a songwriter, they've likely already come up with the lyrics and a chord progression, so melody will build on that material.

Loosely, this is the process you'll follow:

  • Learn the chord progression
  • Memorize the melody of the lyric line
  • Accent either or both with a secondary melody from your guitar

Though the more functional solution is to reference the chord progression.  One of the simplest ways to do that is to create an arpeggiated version of the bass line.  So keep in mind that anytime you're adding a short fill or a solo, you're creating some kind of melody.

In that instance you're sharing just as much responsibility as a vocalist.  Thus it becomes more important for you to be musical, melodic and complimentary with your guitar than it does to be technical and fun to watch.

3.  To Develop and Add Layering

Though it can involve melody, the practice of layering is an altogether different discipline and an equally important part of a guitar player's role in the songwriting process. 

While contributing melody requires a certain level of creative input, layering is a matter of adding something to a vocal line or guitar track that's already in place.  It can even be a guitar part you came up with.

Whatever the case may be, it's assumed you're layering over something that's already recorded.  Layering can involve one or more of the following practices.

  • Simply duplicating a chord progression or lead pattern
  • Adding an effect layer to a chord progression or lead pattern
  • Recording separate guitar tracks for the left and right channels

The details are largely up to the songwriter, though most people who hire a session guitarist will accept ideas and input in this area.  If you've got session work in your future, reading up on layering guitars in the studio would be a practical way to prepare.

How to sum it all up?

If you had to condense the answer to this question, you might say your role is to invoke an emotional response from those who might listen to the music you're creating.  

Adding melody, layering, effects and harmony are all about increasing the song's ability to appeal to someone's emotions.

That's your job, not just a guitar player, but as a musician.

So sure, your mind might bend a completely different way than those who compose and writer music, but you both share a common mission.  Different roles, with the same destination.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Enlightening Artists: Kalya Scintilla

Welcome Guitar Stream Fans to a new exciting look at this incredible talent that will mark a new series of blog articles,"Enlightening Artists".

We're taking a break from our standard Guitar Stream topics and focusing on spiritual representative music groups and artists.  Talking about not only the awesome music, but we'll be featuring music related digital imaging artists, (i.e. Alex Grey, Jacob Avanzato, Merkaba Music and more!).  The article topic here is about, "Kalya Scintilla".

"Kalya Scintilla is a hyperdimensional being on a mission to enlighten minds and alter consciousness"
- Paraphrasing the fans

Listen to the Trees EP

One of the most enjoyable tracks is, "Acacia" - running 6:56 min.  So many things Kalya Scintilla incorporates within their tracks that range: trip hop, Egyptian-like tones, and brilliantly transitioned melodies that is good listening for any occasion.  This album is mostly instrumental aside from a few vocal lines.  The album features 4 tracks, which is a little less than the previous albums, but the sheer production and composition value makes this affordable album worth adding to your collection.

Check out the link on Bandcamp here for more tracks outside of my YouTube playlist.

Dance the Spiral Never Ending

Every song by Kalya Scintilla in all the albums is an epic journey of intuitive experience.  Ignoring the many sub genres, Kalya Scintilla is fusion-blend of many different music elements, inspirations, worldwide styles and sounds.  

Dance the Spiral Never Ending can be found here.

Open Ancient Eyes

This album includes 15 tracks and the last track is an album mix running a little over 1 hr.  Two very good tracks (outside the entire album) features Deya Dova and Eve Olution.

"These dynamic duos set the stage for an future ancient ritual with mythic expression to create a kinesthetic tapestry to scintillate your being awake." - paraphrasing Kalya Scintilla

Eloquent Expansion

A more psychedelic mix with what you can expect from the funky rhythms within this album.  Open Chanel has a contribution from an incredible photographer and video editor, Jacob Avanzato.  Check out his video featuring this track here.

Watch them live at the Sun Festival in July 2016 in Budapest Hungary.  Line up featuring: Kalya Scintilla, Desert Dwellers, White Bear and more!  For more information click here.

Kalya Scintilla's album art is nothing short of amazing.  The symbology includes: Eye of Horus, Eye of Ra, Star of David, Indigo Lotus - Ajna chakra, Kundalini, Tree of life, Neolithic Symbols, Art of Alchemy and overall representations of higher consciousness and mysticism.  Regardless if you're spiritual or religious, Kalya Scintilla's music is one group I highly recommend for your collection.

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