Monthly Archives: June 2017

Types of Written Music

TYPES OF CHARTS

Charts can be simple or elaborate according to the style of music and type of gig. Cover tunes are traditionally learned from recordings; classical and choral music can be found in sheet music stores as well as in various music catalogs; numerous tunes will be found in music books of all kinds; and many public libraries carry recordings and written music for your use. The word chart refers to any piece of written music or any arrangement of a tune. Decades ago it was strictly a cool slang term for a tune, but any piece of music could be called a chart these days, though a classical buff might not refer to a Mozart work as a chart.

As a musician has a responsibility to correctly play the chart before him, the supplier of the chart has the responsibility of providing an appropriate one. Without getting into too many music notation specifics, here are the different kinds of charts and when they are used:

1. CHORD CHARTS

This type of chart is primarily used when: 1. the specific musical parts are improvised or already known, but the form and chords need to be referred to, 2. to provide chords to improvise over, or 3. when a last-minute chart needs to be written, and there isn’t time for anything more elaborate. A chord chart does not contain the melody or any specific instrumental parts to be played. To play from simple chord charts a musician basically needs to have steady time, know the chords, and improvise his part in whatever style the tune is in.

2. SHEET MUSIC

Sheet music is a store-bought version of a song printed by a publisher, which contains the instrumental part, chords, lyrics, melody and form. An instrumental piece will, of course, have just the music. Sheet music is written for both piano and guitar. Guitar sheet music is in standard notation, as well as in TAB. A good piece of sheet music will always say whether it’s for piano or guitar. Most sheet music is not meant to be completely representative of the actual recording, and the actual arrangement that you’ve heard on a recording is seldom present.

3. SONGBOOKS

Songbooks are compilations of many tunes and often contain the same information that sheet music does, along with the chords and arrangement being different from the recording most of the time. Sheet music commonly has full introductions and endings, whereas songbook tunes are generally shortened to create space in the book for more tunes. Sheet music is generally written to be played on a keyboard, but songbooks come in different styles and for different instruments. They are compiled by artist, style, decade, and in various collections including movie themes, Broadway hits, etc. To play from songbooks and sheet music, a musician needs to be able to read the music notation, or at least improvise a part from the chord symbols, i.e., a guitar strum, bass groove, piano groove, etc., or better yet, both. A vocalist can sing the words if they know the melody, or be able to read the notated melody if they don’t know it.

4. LEAD SHEETS

Lead sheets contain the chords, lyrics and melody line of the song and are mainly used by singers, accompanists and arrangers, though they appear on the bandstand now and again. Songwriters use lead sheets to copyright their songs, and very often sheet music includes a lead sheet of the tune as a condensed version to use. Instead of having three to six pages of sheet music to turn, a lead sheet is usually one or two pages long. Lead sheets do not contain any music notation except the melody and chords, so a musician needs to know how to improvise when reading from one. A lead sheet is generally written out by a music copyist, who is someone who specializes in preparing written music. Playing from lead sheets minimally requires playing an accompaniment from the chords and understanding the form directions and symbols and maximally having excellent accompaniment skills and reading notation fluidly.

5. FAKE BOOKS

fake book is a large book of tunes that contain only the melody line, lyrics and chords. There’s no piano part, guitar part or bass part. That’s why they call it a fake book. You have to already know your parts, or improvise them in the style of the tune.

Music, Economics, and Beyond

The post-future, as many music pundits call it, does not really differ that much from the past. How and why folks obtain their music continues to reflect at least three related decision drivers. We can summarize the three most relevant as 1) Content, 2) Durability, and 3) Time-Cost. Let us explain further.

1) Content

When I started to record music in the early 1960s, the market was filled with “one-hit wonders.” It was the age of AM (amplitude modulation), DJ radio. It was also the age of the 45 RPM record with the hit on the A Side and usually some filler cut on the B Side. It was not uncommon for anyone with a 2-track reel-to-reel to “download” the one hit desired from their favorite radio station. There were few groups that offered entire twelve-inch LPs with mostly great songs. The first such LP that I purchased was Meet the Beatles by those four lads from Liverpool.

2) Durability

Why would someone buy a twelve-inch LP when they could borrow a copy and tape record the songs to a reel-to-reel or, later on, to a compact cassette? The answers at that time were simple. First, it was “cool” to have a great album collection, especially one that a member of the opposite gender could thumb through in one’s dorm room. Let us simply say that one’s album collection could inform another party about one’s tastes and possible sub-culture and personality. Therefore, an attractive collection provided a certain degree of social currency.

The second part of the equation came in the form of actual product durability. Like current downloads, self-recorded reel-to-reel and cassette tapes generally suffered from some loss of fidelity in the transition. More importantly, the integrity and permanence of the media also left something to be desired. Thirty to forty years ago, tape would flake, break, and tangle around the capston. Unless one backed up their collection to a second-generation tape, many of one’s favorite tunes could be lost.

3) Time-Cost

This third element basically reflects the old “tape is running/time-is-money” economic argument and may explain why younger music-listeners prefer to download songs either legally or illegally. It echoes the same economics that led listeners in the 1960s to record their favorite hits off of the radio. The substance of the argument has to do with how an individual values his/her time. If music-lovers works for a low hourly wage (or often no income at all), they will value the time spent downloading, backing up, and transferring cuts in terms of what they could be earning during the same time.

The bottom line of all of this debate rests in the fact that a consumer will choose the mode of deliverable that optimizes his/her bundle of values. This bundle includes quality and quantity of content, durability, and time-cost effectiveness. These remain the lessons that music makers and music deliverers must understand to survive. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

License Your Music

What is music licensing? Music licensing is the licensed used for copyrighted music. This allows the owner of the music to maintain the copyright of their original work. It also ensures the owner of the musical work to be compensated if their music is being used by others. The music licensing companies has limited rights to use the work without separate agreements. In music licensing, you could get your work licensed in the form of music, composition and songwriting.

During the music licensing process, there are terms that would be discussed by the groups involved. If you are an independent musician, you would be the licensor. You are the one responsible of the music created, thus you are the copyright owner of the licensed work. A licensee would be the music licensing company as they would be the one who will distribute your work to other industries. They will also collect the royalty fees as distribute them back to you if your music is included in live performances, TV shows, ads, campaigns, video games, etc.

There are also two kinds of contracts in music licensing, namely exclusive contract and non-exclusive contract. Exclusive contract means having your work licensed exclusively to a single music licensing company. Only a single company has the authority to distribute and market your work. If you signed an exclusive contract to your song or album, you cannot use the same music contents and get it signed by other music licensing companies. The agreement is exclusive and confidential to the licensor and the licensee.

Non-exclusive contract allows a second party to distribute your work and it doesn’t prohibit the licensor to sell their music to other music licensing companies or licensees. An independent musician can sign a non-exclusive contract to multiple companies using the same music content. Non-exclusive contracts are generally used to prevent an individual from being locked into a restrictive contract before their work gains popularity. This type of contract is designed to protect music artists from being taken advantage of in the early stages of their respective careers while on the process of getting their music out to larger audiences.

There are also cases which involves direct payment for used music content. This is called Sync Fees. Sync fee is a license granted by a holder of a copyrighted music to allow a licensee to synchronize music with visual media such as ads, films, TV shows, movie trailers, video games, etc. For example, a video producer is in dire need of music content for a certain project and is in a limited time of finding one.

Music Genres

This is a list of some of the world’s music genre and their definitions.

  • African Folk – Music held to be typical of a nation or ethnic group, known to all segments of its society, and preserved usually by oral tradition.
  • Afro jazz – Refers to jazz music which has been heavily influenced by African music. The music took elements of marabi, swing and American jazz and synthesized this into a unique fusion. The first band to really achieve this synthesis was the South African band Jazz Maniacs.
  • Bongo Flava – it has a mix of rap, hip hop, and R&B for starters but these labels don’t do it justice. It’s rap, hip hop and R&B Tanzanian style: a big melting pot of tastes, history, culture and identity.
  • Cadence – is a particular series of intervals or chords that ends a phrase, section, or piece of music.
  • Christian Rap – is a form of rap which uses Christian themes to express the songwriter’s faith.
  • Coladeira – is a form of music in Cape Verde. Its element ascends to funacola which is a mixture of funanáa and coladera. Famous coladera musicians includes Antoninho Travadinha.
  • Contemporary Christian – is a genre of popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith.
  • Country – is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. It has roots in traditional folk music, Celtic music, blues, gospel music, hokum, and old-time music and evolved rapidly in the 1920s.
  • Dance Hall – is a type of Jamaican popular music which developed in the late 1970s, with exponents such as Yellowman and Shabba Ranks. It is also known as bashment. The style is characterized by a deejay singing and toasting (or rapping) over raw and danceable music riddims.
  • Disco – is a genre of dance-oriented pop music that was popularized in dance clubs in the mid-1970s.
  • Folk – in the most basic sense of the term, is music by and for the common people.
  • Freestyle – is a form of electronic music that is heavily influenced by Latin American culture.
  • Gangsta rap – is a subgenre of hip-hop music which developed during the late 1980s. ‘Gangsta’ is a variation on the spelling of ‘gangster’. After the popularity of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic in 1992, gangsta rap became the most commercially lucrative subgenre of hip-hop.
  • Highlife – is a musical genre that originated in Ghana and spread to Sierra Leone and Nigeria in the 1920s and other West African countries.
  • Hip-Hop – is a style of popular music, typically consisting of a rhythmic, rhyming vocal style called rapping (also known as emceeing) over backing beats and scratching performed on a turntable by a DJ.
  • Indie – is a term used to describe genres, scenes, subcultures, styles and other cultural attributes in music, characterized by their independence from major commercial record labels and their autonomous, do-it-yourself approach to recording and publishing.
  • Instrumental – An instrumental is, in contrast to a song, a musical composition or recording without lyrics or any other sort of vocal music; all of the music is produced by musical instruments.
  • Jazz – is an original American musical art form which originated around the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States out of a confluence of African and European music traditions.