Vocal Turned Instrumental Version

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 2.49.33 PMI’m a newbie at music technology.  I just got Logic Pro X, Apple’s professional music recording digital audio workstation.  I’ve been a bit hesitant to open it, as technology is not my forte.  But I finally started it today by transferring this song I composed from GarageBand music software to LPX.  This original song is actually a vocal tune I’ll be using in a musical I’m writing, but since I haven’t yet written the lyrics, and I always need an instrumental version of a vocal song, I made an instrumental version with this song.

This is my first attempt at using Logic Pro X music software.  This is my first vocal tune turned instrumental version.  I used strings, french horns, trombones, and a clean guitar to cover all the vocal melodic lines as well as add some harmonic support.  I added bass, drums and piano for the basic underlying accompaniment.

I was aiming a little bit for a ‘Belle and Sebastian’ instrumentation and mood simulation.  The song will be used for a darker character and mood within the storyline.

What do you think?  Anything stand out as needing improvement?  Please be candid!
Thanks for listening:

2 thoughts on “Vocal Turned Instrumental Version

  1. Really nice for a first foray!

    Friendly Advice:

    1) Work more with the sampled instruments and find clever ways to make them sound more real. Especially the orchestral instruments. Most of Logic’s included instruments and samples are excellent, but not so much the strings and horns. I would augment the software with Vienna or Eastwest orchestral instruments to dial these in. They aren’t cheap, but I think they’re necessary to the professional.

    2) Work on tricks to make the drums sound more live. I often combine snare and kick sounds (sometimes offset from each other), because I often find the combined sounds are more authentic sounding. It’s also VERY hard to make sampled recordings sound natural if the rhythm swings. Vary the velocities of high hat and ride hits to make them sound more human.

    3) I always mix in at least one live instrument to add life to the recording. In my case, it’s usually guitar, since I’m a guitar player. Whatever your instrument, I recommend including it and with minimal edits, since the idiosyncratic “mistakes” are what makes it sound human.

    4) Learn mixing 101, especially pragmatic use of EQ and compression to get each instrument to sit nicely in the mix. There is way more to mixing than just choosing levels, and it makes a HUGE difference if you know how to do it right.

    5) Feel free to ask questions. I’ve been through the same learning curve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eric, THANK YOU for this invaluable feedback! Yes, I see your point about the orchestral instruments I used. I’ll be working on that. (Though I just got LPX and am told that it HAS ‘alchemy’–a bunch of good samples…I just haven’t found that yet. NEWBIE ALERT)

      Drums are HARD for me. I don’t have a clue how to mess with those. I’ll have to look for some online tutorials about your suggestions there. I DO know how to deal with velocities, and have been working on those already with the other instruments. But drums are a challenge for me.

      Yes, the live instrument is my instrument, piano. And of course, when I add my vocals. I agree with the need for the human mistakes as a musical ‘touch’.

      Your number 4 comment hits the nail on the head of my weakest link! I know nothing about EQ or compression. Ugh. I’d rather focus on composing music but I DO know I’ll have to improve the mixing skills…

      I’m finally on spring break so will listen to your music…

      Thanks again for such an enormously thoughtful and helpful response. –Jenny.


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