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Songwriting Tutorial

Songwriting with Vocal Acapellas

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29 Videos | Length: 3hr 5min 44sec
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Chapter 1 : The Song

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    Introduction

    Hear a before and after of the vocal acapella track, and the finished production that is built up in this series.

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    Lining Up the Vocals

    The original vocal files are brought into an empty project. The different sections are identified, edited, and aligned to the desired bar/beat positions in the time line.

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    Chords

    Follow along as chord progressions are developed to support the vocals in the different sections of the song.

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    Tuning the Lead Vocal

    Melodyne ARA is put to work on the lead vocal for some subtle pitch and vibrato editing.

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    Form

    The vocals are now rendered with Melodyne, and a rough form is set up. An extra bar is inserted at the end of the chorus, to be used for a build up into an instrumental section built on a repetition of the chorus chord progression.

Chapter 2 : Designing the Sounds

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    Guide Beat

    Here we?ll pencil in a simple beat that will serve as the basis for the drum parts.

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    Keyboard Sound

    A custom keyboard sound, created for this song by groove3 author Larry Holcombe, is analyzed and recreated.

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    Kick Drum

    To enhance the attack and body of the kick drum sound, three separate kick samples are processed and layered together.

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    Snare Sounds

    Three snare samples are selected, tuned, processed, and blended, to create a snappy and unique sounding backbeat.

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    Hi Hats

    The Note Repeat function in Logic Pro X is used to create a trap style hi-hat part.

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    Bass

    A preset from Air Instruments Hybrid is set up, and enhanced with some soft saturation from Logic?s Phat FX. A simple bass part is added to the arrangement to support the chords. An ES2 patch is then added to double the bass sound in specific sections.

Chapter 3 : The Arrangement

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    Starting the Arrangement

    With the basic sounds in place, the bass, keyboard, and drum parts are copied and pasted and edited as necessary for the different sections of the song.

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    Vocal Phrasing

    The timing of the supporting pre-chorus vocal is time stretched to better match the timing of the lead, and the phrase ?It?s just a matter of time? is stretched, to create a lazy behind the beat kind of feel. The vocals are sub grouped to a bus and a plate reverb is set up.

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    First Verse

    See how an Omnisphere patch is modified to create a staccato sounding arpeggiated patch with different accents burbling and popping through on top of the sustained chords during the first verse.

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    Chorus

    To thicken the texture during the chorus, two Omnisphere patches are set up to double the existing chords. One is created from scratch using raw waveforms, the other is an existing sample based patch that is modified.

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    Lead Line

    A simple melodic line is penciled in using an Omnisphere patch with a rhythmic envelope in place. Using the Waves Renaissance Compressor, side chain compression is set up so the melodic rhythms dip with the kick drum accents.

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    Layering the Lead

    Two additional sounds are set up to layer the lead sound. They are side chained with the original, in order to track the original?s volume envelope.

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    Second Verse & Bridge

    Some existing elements are copy/pasted and new ones added for use in these sections of the song.

Chapter 4 : Transitions

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    Transition Into Pre-Chorus Pt. 1

    See how a short vocal phrase is reversed, run through a long reverb, then reversed again, to create a reverse vocal reverb swell leading into the new section.

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    Transition Into Pre-Chorus Pt. 2

    White noise is now set up and filtered to thicken the reverse vocal reverb swell.

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    Transition Into Chorus - Snare Roll

    The custom layered snare sound is sampled and turned into an instrument. A two bar velocity based MIDI roll is created, accompanied by pitch, & filter modulation, plus some additional effects processing.

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    Transition Into Chorus - Reverse Reverb Swells

    Reverse vocal and instrumental reverb swells are created as a lead in to the chorus.

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    Transitions Enhanced

    The transitions into the chorus and break are now enhanced with side chain compression, an apple lop, additional instruments, and some automation.

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    Transition Into Verse 2

    See how a reverse reverb file based on the lead line is created to wash across the transition into the verse. The bass and chords entry is edited to start a beat early, with pitch bend added to create a scoop up into the new section.

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    Other Transitions

    Various elements and automation are copy/pasted for the remaining sections of the song.

Chapter 5 : Mixing

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    Sub Group Processing

    Effects processing is now added to each instrument section to help smooth out the overall blend.

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    Mixing the Vocals Pt. 1

    Vocal bus processing is put in place. A send/return quarter note delay is set up and automated. Compression is added and side chained to the lead vocal so the delays only ?bloom? at the ends of phrases.

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    Mixing the Vocals Pt. 2

    A vocal effects bus with Portal from Output is then set up and automated for a long spacey granular delay/reverb effect on the stretched out/slowed down vocal phrase ?matter of time?.

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    Final Play Through

    A fade out at the end of the song is created on the master bus track. And the mastering plug-in Elevate from Newfangled Audio is set up on the stereo output before final playback of the full production.

Product Overview


Eli Krantzberg presents detailed videos on songwriting with vocal acapellas! Learn how to take a vocal acapella, and create an entire production behind it, including editing the vocals, tuning them, writing the chords and other production elements, arrangement, mixing and much, much more. This series is shown in Logic Pro X, but anyone can benefit from the information and apply it to their own DAW. You also get the acapella tracks so you can follow along and write your own song.

Eli welcomes you and lets you hear a before and after of the vocal acapella track, as well as the finished production that is built up throughout this series. He then goes right into it, showing you how to align the vocal tracks to your DAW tempo and grid, develop chord progressions for the different sections, and then tune and edit the vocals so they feel and sound right for the groove.

Next, you'll see how to get a beat going, add some keyboard sounds, and then hone in the kick, snare, hats and bass parts so they are supporting the vocals just right. The arrangement is then focused on, and you'll discover how to support and enhance each section of the song, including adding in synth lead lines and more.

The always important transitions are then taken on, and Eli reveals how to make going from one section of the song to the next exciting, by building things up with reversed audio, snare rolls, pitch bend automation and other techniques. Mixing your masterpiece is then explained, and Eli guides you on how to use sub group processing, bus compression, granular effects and other tools to make the production sound great.

To see what these songwriting with vocal acapellas tutorials will teach you and how you'll be able to take an acapella and build an arrangement around it, see the individual songwriting tutorial descriptions on this page. If you're ready to write a song around a vocal acapella, this collection of songwriting videos are perfect for you. Create your first song around a vocal acapella now... watch “Songwriting with Vocal Acapellas" today!


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ruthers
Submitted 1 month ago

Very detailed and helpful video

So detailed and inventive it was full of things I can't wait to try.


Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

SteveJaxx
Submitted 2 months ago

Very very helpful

it´s exactly want i need as a songwriter AND producer and mixer...please please more videos like this...and please also in other kinds of music (Rock, etc.)


Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

Jools
Submitted 2 months ago

Enjoyable and Detailed Throughout

Eli does a very good job from start to finish, describing and explaining the detail of songwriting with acapella stems in these engrossing tutorials. This is a great step by step example of how a musician can use these acapellas to help with creativity, especially when faced with writer's block. Great practical examples of the use of Melodyne, timing placement, rhythm, resampling, soft synths, transition FX creation, automation, reverse reverb, mixing, organisation and arrangement.

I am a: Professional, Musician, Producer, Audio Engineer, Sound Designer, Pro Tools


Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

ruthers
Submitted 1 month ago

Very detailed and helpful video

So detailed and inventive it was full of things I can't wait to try.

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

SteveJaxx
Submitted 2 months ago

Very very helpful

it´s exactly want i need as a songwriter AND producer and mixer...please please more videos like this...and please also in other kinds of music (Rock, etc.)

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

Jools
Submitted 2 months ago

Enjoyable and Detailed Throughout

Eli does a very good job from start to finish, describing and explaining the detail of songwriting with acapella stems in these engrossing tutorials. This is a great step by step example of how a musician can use these acapellas to help with creativity, especially when faced with writer's block. Great practical examples of the use of Melodyne, timing placement, rhythm, resampling, soft synths, transition FX creation, automation, reverse reverb, mixing, organisation and arrangement.

I am a: Professional, Musician, Producer, Audio Engineer, Sound Designer, Pro Tools

Ease of Use
 
 
 
 
 
Quality of Videos
 
 
 
 
 
Value of Training
 
 
 
 
 
Access to Videos
 
 
 
 
 

1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I started playing drums in high school at age fourteen. Like most kids my age around then, I was into progressive rock. Genesis, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Yes. They rocked my world. A few short years later though, my musical life changed. While studying music in college I discovered Charlie Parker, Milt Jackson, Sonny Stitt, and John Coltrane. Milt Jackson spoke to me in such a profound way that it left me no choice but to take up vibraphone.

These great players, along with  drummers like Philly Joe Jones, Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Elvin Jones changed not only the way I thought about drumming, but also music - and by extension, life - as a whole. I realized life was meant to be a creative endeavor. The idea of improvising based on a loose set of guidelines and rules permeated into my psyche even when I wasn't holding a pair of drumsticks or mallets. But if I am going to be perfectly truthful, I have to hold Henry Miller and Woody Allen equally responsible for shaping the way I view and experience the world around me. 

2. What training have you had?

I am currently an Apple certified Logic Pro. Young and cocky, and armed with only a partial University degree, I dropped out of school and  began playing steady commercial hotel engagements and jazz gigs when I could. This went on for many years until I decided it was time to complete my degree - which I ultimately did with a major in Political Science and a minor in music. 

It was at this point that I formed my current band Nightshift. We are going in to our twenty third year now - playing commercial one nighters like weddings, corporate events, etc. Don't turn your nose up at it though - it has allowed me a wonderful quality of life. It gave me the freedom to go back to school and complete a post graduate degree in Communications Studies - all the while supporting myself by playing weddings.

3. When did you get into recording?

It was in this graduate program - in the early nineties - that I found myself drawn to the fledgling emerging universe of hard disc recording and midi sequencing. Based on nothing more than the recommendation of one of my band mates who had an old Atari, I jumped in head first and bought a Mac LC ll, along with a version 1.1 of what was then Notator Logic. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But, in hindsight, it was a decision of epic importance in my life - shaping my future as much as the music of Milt Jackson and Charlie Parker did fifteen years prior. 

I opened up my own commercial home studio in 1998 and began doing a variety of projects, working on radio jingles, artist CD projects, and whatever came my way. A couple of years later a colleague called me up - desperate. He was working at a post production house and one of the editors had just quit. They were doing audio post for a weekly TV series and needed a Pro Tools editor - and fast! And so, once again, I jumped in head first into what would ultimately open up my world even more - the world of Pro Tools. 

4. People you have worked with/for?

Focusing on Logic, I built up a small but loyal client base and my phone kept ringing for Logic tech support and instruction. Film composers and studio owners all over the city were calling me. Even the music stores were giving out my phone number at this point! This kind of stuff becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The more of it you do, the more calls you get to keep doing it. At least that's the way it should be!

As my Logic chops kept growing, I was hired by an old buddy of mine, Len Sasso, who was then an associate editor at Electronic Musician magazine, and began writing some columns for them. I had a blast doing them - and really learned to focus and express my thoughts in a concise and clear manner. This lead to a collaboration with LA based composer Terry Michael Huud on the 2006 film called Civic Duty - which was certainly one of the highlights of my professional life as a composer. 

5. Why are you so good at training people?

I wake up every day excited to boot up, and create. Whether it's instructional videos, creating music, working with a studio client, performing with my band, or teaching at the schools - my days are filled with what I love doing. Enriched by the stimulation and creative freedom this modern music making software brings to my life. I bring that excitement and passion to each and every training product I create. My years of experience both using and teaching these programs has taught me the best way to make the user comfortable with these complex programs.

Products by Eli

  • image description
    tutorial video

    AAS Chromaphone Explained

    Eli Krantzberg returns, this time showing you the incredible AAS Chromaphone creative percussive synthesizer. This synth is capable of creating incredibly expressive drum, percussion, string, and synth-like instruments, so hold the phone and check it out!

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    tutorial video

    AAS Strum GS-2 Explained

    In this FREE series commissioned by Applied Acoustic Systems, Eli Krantzberg covers the expansive performance library of electric and acoustic guitar strumming inside and out, and shows you how to make Strum GS-2 your new favorite session guitarist!

  • image description
    tutorial video

    AirEQ Explained

    Eli Krantzberg returns with an in-depth series on the amazing AirEQ by Eiosis, which was designed with a vision of achieving musical, technical and sonic excellence in equalization. This just might become your to go-to EQ!

  • image description
    tutorial video

    Alchemy 2 Explained

    Logic Pro X 10.2 integrated Alchemy 2, one of the most powerful virtual instruments ever made. In this three-hour video training tutorial series, Eli Krantzberg teaches you how to become a Alchemy wizard and unleash all of its power on your music!

  • image description
    tutorial video

    Ample Sound Super Jumbo Explained

    Eli Krantzberg presents a detailed series of Super Jumbo tutorials! Learn Super Jumbo, Ample Sounds’s incredibly realistic virtual acoustic guitar instrument inside and out, as well as how to use it creatively.

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Songwriting with Vocal Acapellas is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 3 .
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very detailed and helpful video So detailed and inventive it was full of things I can't wait to try.
Date published: 2019-09-12
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very very helpful it´s exactly want i need as a songwriter AND producer and mixer...please please more videos like this...and please also in other kinds of music (Rock, etc.)
Date published: 2019-09-03
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Enjoyable and Detailed Throughout Eli does a very good job from start to finish, describing and explaining the detail of songwriting with acapella stems in these engrossing tutorials. This is a great step by step example of how a musician can use these acapellas to help with creativity, especially when faced with writer's block. Great practical examples of the use of Melodyne, timing placement, rhythm, resampling, soft synths, transition FX creation, automation, reverse reverb, mixing, organisation and arrangement.
Date published: 2019-08-31
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