Morgan McIlvain

Mobile Song

To create my mobile song, I downloaded the GarageBand app on my phone and began by listening to a bunch of the apps loops. I chose a lot of different synthesizers and beats, and included some vocal loops as well. I didn’t know how to copy/paste and manipulate each individual sound, so as I recorded the song, I just manually started/stoped the sounds in real time. Kinda just added and took away what I saw fit as the song progressed. I recorded multiple versions, each different (because with each new recorded, I had to erase the entire thing, and just started again) and decided that this one was the winner! I’m not sure if I did this correctly, and I feel like I made this harder than it had to be, but oh well!

I really enjoyed doing this activity, as it showed me you really can create a song wherever you are. Definitely will come in handy in future teaching endeavors!


Peer Remix

I decided to remix Madison Boyce’s first project, “Loop Song #1 – Hourglass.” I chose it because I thought it was a relatively straightforward song (nothing to crazy in regards to instrumentation, tempo, structure), and I thought because of it’s relatively “simple” nature, I could successfully manipulate it.

I added a bunch of loops (specifically a bunch of beats). Before I remixed it, the instrumentation wasn’t too “technology” sounding (she used sounds like saxophone, piano). So, I thought it would be a cool contrast to add a bunch of tech/digital beats. I followed a similar contour to her song, and tried to build or take away loops depending on what she did throughout.

I actually think it sounds really cool! 🙂

Sample Genealogy

Kendrick Lamar used a sample from “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars in his song, “Loyalty.” The intro of the song (“Loyalty”) is a sped up, chopped up, and reversed sample of Mr. Talkbox’s intro of “24K Magic.” I believe I could hear the same sample throughout, but I’m not 100% positive. I’m in love with Lamar’s album, DNA, and I never put 2 and 2 together, so I was pretty mind blown when I listened to “24K Magic,” and then “Loyalty” immediately after. I wonder why he wanted to sample this song specifically…
“24K Magic”
Panic! At the Disco released two new songs on a new album, Pray For The Wicked. On the song, “(F*** A) Silver Lining,” Brendon Urie references the song “Lemonade” by BeyoncĂ©. In the Bridge, Urie sings “When you gonna say my name? Quick charade, BeyoncĂ©, Lemonade.” Not really sure why, but he included it.
“(F*** A) Silver Lining”

Sampling Ethics

I believe it depends on a case by case circumstance when it comes to sampling without permission. In some cases, I’d say no it’s not acceptable, and some others, I’d say it’s okay.

For example, if you sampled a song from a very small artist, used their song as a sample, didn’t credit them, and then made millions off of the song, then it would be COMPLETELY WRONG. But, let’s say you use a sample of a very well known song, this person is already famous and you credit the original artist (and obviously can’t ask them for permission), and you (as a very small artist making no profit) use a sample of their song for (let’s say) a school project, then I don’t see anything wrong with it. I also believe that we talked about this in class, but I also feel like a lot of artists enjoy people that take samples of their songs (and credit them), or use their song as background music or for a cover, because it gives them, the artist, more exposure (basically a marketing tool for the artist).

Self Remix: “I Can’t Think of a Title”

This assignment was a STRUGGLE. Little back story on why this remix barely sounds any different than the original…

So, all of my music tech assignments have been done on an NYU computer (either in LaGuardia Co-Op, or the NYU Library), and none of my assignments were saved after I uploaded them on SoundCloud. Because of this, I couldn’t go back and change any of the individual instruments, and every change that I would make had to be done to the entire track; I couldn’t pick and chose what parts of my song wanted to change/keep. (if that makes sense) I mean, maybe there’s a way to edit the individual instruments but I am not that skilled, therefore I did not do it. I wanted to delete and move around specific instruments, and play around with morphing different (specific) sounds, and all this other stuff, BUT I was unable to and couldn’t figure out how to do it, so here we are.

All I did, was add random loops using SoundTrap (not garage band), so I could save my work on my account and revisit it later if needed (learning from my mistakes). Because I’m not a premium member, I was very limited in features and loops, so I did what I could with what little I had and what little experience I had. (I think I’m going to invest in the premium features, because it was very difficult trying to create something with only a handful of different loops and settings).  But that’s all I did….add some loops, and I faded my original track out at the end. I wish I could’ve done more to the song itself rather than just added loops, but I did not know how to do that without seeing the layout of every specific instrument, and I WISH I DID.


Realistic vs. Hyperrealistic vs. Surrealist

Realistic: Kendrick Lamar Humble (Has Entire Arena Rap Humble for Him)

Need I say more? I’ve listened to the recording of this song on his album, and while it sounds amazing, it does sound like it was obviously worked on in a studio. Here, Kendrick just sounds raw, and even though it doesn’t sound “perfect” (like the album recording) it seems more intimate. This is Kendrick in his pure performing form, no studio effects, just his raw voice.


Hyperrealistic: Migraine by Twenty One Pilots (Captured in The Live Room)

I mean, besides the fact that I can see someone in the back siting outside of the recording room (someone that is most likely mixing the song as they perform), the recording just sounds almost too perfect. His voice also sounds auto-tuned, especially during the singing chorus part, his voice is doubled and effects are placed on his voice so he can harmonize with himself. While I definitely believe they are doing everything live (they are performing in The Live Room ha), I just believe their recording is also being adjusted as they perform.


Surrealist: Fireflies by Owl City

The instrumentation (especially at the beginning), sounds very digital, like something only a computer could produce. If this were created live with acoustic instruments, I’m not even sure if it would sound like the song. It would almost feel like it’s lacking if it didn’t have the digital sound that everyone knows and likes? loves? hates? (at least in my opinion).

Production Analysis

The song “Stronger” by Kanye West was written in 2007, the second single released from his album Graduation. Both Kanye West and Mike Dead co-produced this track (however the final version of this song is credited to producer Manny Marroquin). Throughout the song, West uses the vocal sample “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by French house/Daft Punk. West also paraphrases Frederich Nietzsche in the refrain, and his quote, “What does not kill him, makes him stronger.” The track was mixed by his team over 75 times, working with 8 different audio engineers, 11 different mix engineers, and had Timbaland redo the drum programming. The song was also recording in 3 different studios around the world, including Tokyo, New York City’s Sony Music Studios, and Los Angeles The Record Plant (I wonder why, is it because each studio has something new to offer, or was it because this is where other engineers resided?).

The song itself is in Eb minor, and revolves around the French house/Daft Punk vocal sample. After the introduction (vocal sample is repeated in the background at a decreased tempo), West raps the song’s refrain over a “four-to-the-floor” rhythmic pattern. West repeats this process three more times. West injects a “me likey” ad-lib after the hook, he then repeats a line within the verse six times on the third, and recites the hook four times on the fourth. At its close, the track enters an extended outro containing a synthesizer, that is replete with operatic vocal harmonies and electric guitars that play in unison. The kick drums used is a mix of three different kick drums. The song’s final arrangement in Pro Tools included over 100 different layers, and uses a re-worked version of Edwin Birdsong’s “Cola Bottle Baby” (keyboard).

Creation of “I Can’t Think of a Title”

Wow, I actually didn’t struggle to badly with this one. I’ve surprised myself, and everyone else.
To create this track, I began by listening to my colleagues phone sounds on SoundCloud. I decided to use Qiongyue’s sound, “book-flipping” almost as a drone sound throughout the entirety of the track. I’m not sure why I was drawn to it, but perhaps because I thought it was a really crisp and almost ASMR-y sound. I took the entire recording and put it in GarageBand, and decided to use only a snippet of the recording.
I then proceeded to add a “disco” beat, “Wild West” beat, a shaker, koto guitar, electric piano, and a drone synthesizer (for the second half of the song). I started with filling 60 measures of every instrument, and just deleted (or added) where I saw fit. I’m not sure if I really had a method to my “madness,” but really just deleted/kept things as I went along; literally did whatever I thought sounded somewhat enjoyable.
This was definitely easier than the MIDI song I attempted to create with SoundTrap (that was a nightmare). I think I’ve decided GarageBand and I fit better together (in contrast to SoundTrap), and will definitely be using this program from now on.


And I repeat…THIS WAS SO HARD TO DO (probably going to be a common theme in all of my posts).

This assignment literally took me FOUR HOURS to do because I am SO bad at this technology stuff. I did the majority of this song through GroovePizza and SoundTrap. One of my beats was an adaptation of my first GroovePizza beat (in my last post) by my Professor, Ethan Hein. I decided to use a MIDI track of Bach’s Prelude from his first Cello Suite as my base. After selecting my base, I continuously added beats on top of it (coming out with a total of five beats on top of the Bach Prelude. GroovePizza was honestly a life saver, and like I said, was used to create the majority of my song (4 beats out of the 5 were created via GroovePizza). I used GroovePizza because I felt comfortable using it, and thought it would be a quick and easy tool to use. I used the MIDI keyboard on SoundTrap once at the very end of the song (some strings) as a little “surprise.” This assignment was fun to do, but VERY challenging for me.

I don’t think the song is crazy horrible, but the idea definitely came out so much better when I was planning in my head. If I had more time, I would probably make the song the length of an actual normal song. I also might try to use GarageBand instead of SoundTrap, because I’ve used GarageBand before, but never used SoundTrap (could be a reason why it took me forever to figure out how to make things sound good). I would also like to add a more variety of instruments.

P.S. I apologize that my song is very short (if you can even call it that, probably more like a ringtone or something), but after four hours, I was ready to call it quits.

Try to enjoy!



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