Morgan McIlvain

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!



Groove Pizza

This was my first time using Groove Pizza, and must say, I quite enjoyed using the app. I really liked how the app combined mathematics and music in one. I can see this app resonating with many different types of learners (through the visual aspect, listening aspect, ability for creativity, logical/mathematics aspect), and I will definitely be using this app in my own classroom.

I started by own beat by choosing the “Hip Hop” option (I did not feel ambitious enough to start with a blank canvas). From there, I just experimented by adding and taking away the “instruments” at different times using the bottom “chart.” I tried moving the shapes in the “pizza” but found this to be difficult for me to create something that I enjoyed. I found it easier for me to look at the beats at the bottom of the page; I felt that the bottom chart provided (visually) a more systematic/straightforward way to create a beat. This also shows how diverse the app is, due to the fact that their are multiple ways to create a beat for different types of learners.  I can definitely see how other people would find moving the shapes of the pizza as an easier and more approachable way of creating music, rather than the chart.



Loop Song Process


I didn’t know what I was doing, but I did have a lot of fun trying. I started by adding a drum kit loop. Thought it sounded cool, and then I decided to add acoustic guitar; I was honestly thinking of what instruments made up a “typical” band, and I went from there. I proceeded to add electric bass, electric piano, a synthesizer, and a conga. I added the synthesizer and conga to try to add a “twist” to the “classic band” instruments.

I started by adding one loop at a time (beginning with the bass, adding conga, guitar, piano, and then drum kit), and I had my synthesizer as the “base” of every chorus. I was constantly adding and taking away instruments, trying to make the song feel like a rollercoaster (building and falling, and building and falling). I ended the song by taking away one instrument at a time, and ending with the synthesizer playing alone.

Like I said, I really wasn’t sure what I was doing, and I felt very out of my element, and I really just added or took away whatever I felt like would result in a semi-cool sound.

I definitely believe this is a legitimate way of creativity. In my opinion, music creativity is a way someone can personally express themselves through music (whether it’s performing, or creating). There is so much creativity involved in creating a loop track; you are picking loops of your choice, putting them in the order of your choice, which then result in your own composition. Composing whether it be writing on a score, or spicing loops together, is most DEFINITELY a legitimate way of music creativity.

Once again, I repeat, I have SO MUCH RESPECT for people that can do this.

Song Structure Analysis

I quite like the song “Take Me To Church” by Hozier, so I thought, “this would be a good song to analyze (I think).”

From measure 1-9, (0.00-0:27), verse 1 begins, with instrumentation consisting of a piano and voice. While measure 10-15 (0:27-0:45) is also part of verse one, the instrumentation changes with an addition of backup vocals and percussion (heavy bass drum), giving strength and momentum to the piece.

The pre-chorus begins begins at measure 15, and ends at measure 19, consisting of him singing “Amen” over and over (0:46-0:56). The back up vocals and percussion stop during the pre-chorus, and the listener is left with (once again) Hozier’s voice and piano. Resembling a gentle but pleading prayer.

The chorus plays from measure 19- 27, and it repeats twice (0:57-1:28). During the chorus the percussion, back up vocalists, guitar and bass join the piano and lead vocals.

Verse 2 begins at measure 28 and ends at measure 38, this time consisting complete of full instrumentation, and not breaking off to just vocals and piano (1:28-2:00). He does not return to the pre-chorus after this verse (unlike what he did after verse 1).

The chorus begins again from 2:00-2:31 (going back to measure 19-27, at coda), repeating twice, and consisting of the same instrumentation when the chorus played after verse 1.

During the bridge (measure 39-46, 2:32-3:01), Hozier references Romeo and Juliet, and discussed the difficulty of struggling to find identity while in the Catholic Church. He brings back the “Amen” prechorus, in a stronger way (higher vocals) from measure 39-45. The piano is also playing more than just block chords, but has a little bit more of a moving bass line. This “Amen” sounding less like a gentle plea, but more like a cry of agony, for someone to hear.

For the last time, Hozier returns to the repeating chorus from 3:01-4:01 (measure 19-27), ending the phrase with the feeling of incompleteness and suspense, ending on measure 48.

Favorite/Least Favorite Songs

This is probably one of the hardest assignments I’ve ever had to do while here at NYU. Considering that I am a music student, one might assume that I have listened to a fair share of music over the years. Well, you’re correct, I have, and narrowing down all the music that I have heard over my entire life to one favorite and one least favorite was very difficult for me to do. After much consideration (and a solid hour of scrolling through my Spodify), I finally picked “Wake Me Up” by Ed Sheeran as my favorite song. (Live, acoustic guitar version, a little more playful) (Album recording, piano version)

If I could pick the entire album as my “favorite song,” I would, because I think this album is pure gold/genius. I came across this album while in middle school, and I fell in love instantly. “Wake Me Up” has always been one of my favorite songs, because of how sappy and simple the melody and lyrics are. The song makes me think of love and innocence, themes that have always captured my interest. On the album, the song consists of just him and a piano playing simple chords. Being such a simple/raw and intimate song, I would always feel like he was singing it to me (a little cheesy I suppose), which also made me fall in love with the song. Another part of me probably fell in love with song because the entire instrumentation consisted of a piano (I’m a pianist), so how could I not fall in love?

Now, my least favorite song. This was equally as hard for me to pick, but after much thought, I decided that All About That Bass by Megan Trainer was probably my least favorite song. My issue with the song isn’t so much the instrumentation/melody (not a big fan of, but not horrible), but falls with the message of the song. I love that she is singing a half way body positive song, yet I don’t like how she “bashes” skinny body types. For example, referring to thinner people as “skinny bitches,” and “stick figures,” is something I don’t find to be promoting body positivity. I believe body acceptance is very important, and I appreciate that she is promoting one body type. However, I don’t believe it is right to bring up one body type while bringing down another. I believe every body type should be loved and accepted, and one shouldn’t be considered better than the other.

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