1 What is the title of your track? What is your artist/band/musical identify/name?
The tune is “Blue Goodbye”. I go by the name of B. Skaigh (pron. “sky”). My first name is Bob and my last name in Italian means “of the heavens” or “from the sky”.
2 What type of musical genre does this track fall in?
I like to think of it as jazz but I do that with any tune that has a sax in the mix. So, maybe it’s a smooth jazz ballad. Or some might say it’s a jazzy pop ballad.
3 Tell us a bit about you recording setup. Is it all iOS or do you combine iOS with other recording technology in some way?
Right now I do everything with iOS.
4 What was the key equipment – software and hardware – that you used to create this particular track?
5 How did you start to build the track? What was the first element you created and how?
I started with Suggester. It’s a freemium app that will suggest chords based on the key and scale selected. I simply chose a C Major scale.
6 How did you build from that point? What elements came next and how were they created?
I settled on the chords and their progression and entered them in Chordion (see pic). Well, almost. The last chord in the progression (G#mMaj7) I added myself after some trial and error.
Using Chordion as a virtual midi controller to GarageBand, I selected the Classical Grand Piano instrument under Keyboards in GB. I then just fiddled around with chords and single notes of the chords, something that Chordion does extremely well. Once I came upon something that sounded good I recorded it in GB and quantized the notes.
I then fired up SampleTank and selected the alto sax. Now, using Chordion again, I changed the midi setting for the chords so they would not be recognized by the app (set chord midi out to network session) and then played only the notes of the chords on the auto scale function (see pic). By touching the chord area while following the chords in the song and then touching the horizontal bars in the scale area, I’m playing the notes of the chords only. After numerous iterations, I used Audiobus to record the melody in GB.
7 Were there particular parts/instruments that you feel are critical to the finished piece? Was there a particular iOS app (or apps) that you used to achieve this?
I probably could not have created this tune without Chordion. The ability to play notes of the chords without playing the chord itself was critical to the melody.
8 Having created the arrangement/individual tracks, how did you go about mixing and/or mastering the track to produce the finished audio file?
I’m new to mastering and, although I do have the Audio Mastering app, I found it can be overused. So, this is just the raw GB file.
9 In producing this particular track, what elements of your workflow do you think were particularly effective? Equally, are their limitations (particularly with any iOS element of the workflow) that you found you had to work around?
Have to fess up here. If I had to do it over again (and I probably will) I’d lessen the reverb. Also, I tried to get cute and added a track of a string pad instrument. I don’t like the way it sounds. To compound matters, I thought I had the file saved to iCloud and mistakenly deleted the it. So, I have to start the tune over again.
The feature I keep hoping for is midi record in Chordion. With that I can try the chord phrasing and note selection with different apps. The developer stated in an email reply that it may come in Ver. 2.0. I suppose there’s a work around but I haven’t looked for one.
10 Tell us a little about yourself and your musical interests/background.
Nosey aren’t you? ;>) The bulk of my residence has been in Chicago and Kansas City; both strong jazz and blues towns. I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was about 12. I’m getting a bit long in the tooth so that was some time ago. I’ve played on and off, mostly for my own enjoyment.
While I did have my rocker days (still can get enough of Led Zep) I got into jazz when I was about 20 after hearing Take Five. It’s been my favourite genre since although I do enjoy blues, old school funk, jazz fusion, classic soul, some progressive rock and classical.
Sadly, it looks like the best days of jazz are behind us. I’m not discovering of plethora of artists that could contend with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Joe Pass, and the angelic voice of Ella Fitzgerald.
But we still have the standards of Porter and Gershwin.