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Mengyuan Xu is an electronic music artist from China who really leans into the musical aesthetic of traditional Chinese musical instrumentation. His heavy use of zithers and flutes gives his music a unique feel. I think it’s a really wonderful mix of old and new sounds to create something catchy and unique. A recent song of his, “Flame,” is more firmly rooted in the contemporary EDM pop sound, however it still has that Chinese opera influenced flavor that is undeniable.

Sometimes, I’ll mention “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and someone in the room will just start singing the chorus immediately. Part of that has to do with this melodic context stuff and the tonal hierarchy of certain notes that dominate that section, but it also has to do with other stuff like lyrical repetition in the chorus, tonal resolution, the rhythm and meter, and even with personal memories we might attribute to that song. Cognitive science can explain a portion of this, but not all of it, as Cui is sure to mention.

Soundfly’s The Creative Power of Advanced Harmony takes you beyond cliché chord progressions and patterns, giving you an understanding of how to apply more complex harmonic concepts to your music while retaining a strong emotional core. Moving outside the boundaries of predictable chord progressions is what gives D’Angelo his swagger, Grizzly Bear their sophistication, and Erykah Badu her sense of ethereal other-worldliness.

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And so now we come to the theory that Bach’s chaconne is about the death of his wife, as explained in the tin-foil-hatted liner notes to Morimur. Loopy though the theory is, it’s popular for a reason. Music is abstract, and it helps to have a narrative to hang onto when we listen. Even professional musicians like the hidden message idea. Markham quotes his students:

With overwhelmingly positive results, we’re happy to share a few select testimonials of Soundfly’s Modern Mix Techniques course directly from our students.

From contemplative songwriting, to epic beats, to carefully crafted orchestrations, September’s student artists have created some memorable pieces in their Mainstage courses. Over several weeks of detailed content, constrained prompts, and personal feedback and support from a Soundfly Mentor, these students were able to explore and develop musical skills in areas like production, composition, and performance. Here are a few highlights:

However, from an opposing perspective, we could also raise the following question: What’s the point of building technological tools that merely mimic what we’d otherwise be able to do manually, or at least through existing musical technology (i.e., instruments)? Instead we should be pushing the envelope and introducing tools into our learning practice that expand our potential for expression and leave preconceived boundaries behind. Or, we should be looking to change our educational curriculums to incorporate software that opens up new worlds for students to dive into.

Or you can divert expectations by dropping out most of the instruments right before the chorus, creating the illusion that we’re about to hear an explosive chorus, only to find a mellow one instead. When done right, this is a technique that can lead to some unpredictably climactic aural experiences, but it’s less formulaic compared to the other methods, and therefore it takes practice to get it right.

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In case you’re new to Soundfly, every one of our mentored online courses comes with ongoing 1-on-1 guidance and feedback on your work from a professional musician, composer, producer, singing actor, or industry insider working in the field. It’s like having a personal trainer, but for music! As you make your way through the high-quality, in-depth course materials, your Soundfly Mentor will help you work out your musical goals and keep you on pace to reaching them, every step of the way.

These classic music videos feature thought-provoking concepts and communicate the message of their song perfectly, in ways that we can borrow ourselves.

Found Sound Nation leverages mobile technology to create opportunities for youth and underrepresented communities to record and produce high quality music worldwide. Found Sound Nation utilizes a grassroots partnership model with local organizations and has developed work with artists and communities in Senegal, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.

Carter Lee is a bassist/educator/producer. He is originally from Edmonton, Canada and now resides in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to leading the hip-hop group, Tiger Speak, Lee is the music director for the bands of both Shea Rose and Moruf. He is also a sideman for countless other artists. Carter brings his wealth of experience in many different musical situations to the Soundfly team and is eager to help any musician who is hoping to better their band. Check out his course Building a Better Band on Soundfly today!

Most commonly seen in classical music, the “Verse-Refrain” is one of the simplest song structures. It consists of verses followed by a short refrain that sums the song’s message up quickly and easily (functioning somewhat like a chorus). The Beatles wrote many successful verse refrain songs throughout their career. Though the verse-refrain has almost completely disappeared from modern music, it is still an effective tool for certain songs. And as it is important to always keep in mind, history has a tendency to repeat itself!

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