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The intricacies of modern music production

Most people have no idea how much is involved in producing music, and that includes the artists and musicians themselves. That’s right, most professional artists don’t really realize what goes on behind the scenes in producing their music. They leave it up to a professional like myself, a producer (if they want it done right).
The idea of sculpting a bass sound on repeat for 4 hours is just beyond their comprehension, but that is the kind of thing that goes on amongst mixing together many competing elements so it all blends perfectly.

Today was an example of that in recording the last of the Cello parts for Elika Mahony’s album which will be completed this month. I’ll tell you more about that 3 year project soon.
It was very cool to hear someone play something I composed on keyboard on the cello, but professional players aren’t fond of working with non professional composers (ie: composers that don’t write out scores for performers to play). Even though I had the parts professionally scored, the timing didn’t match up with the parts I composed because the piano wasn’t played strictly with a metronome. This means that when the parts are scored, it is very difficult to figure out the beats and bars. There are ways around this but they require a lot of work like creating tempo maps which I won’t get into now.

Basically what it comes down to is that since artists don’t know what’s involved with these kinds of production details, it is hard for them to know how to prepare for them. Generally, if you want to add any instrumentation, music needs to be played perfectly to a click when it is first started, if it isn’t, it will require a lot more time and money.

It’s all part of the many intricacies of professional music production. It’s hard to believe how much goes into a song sometimes, even for myself. But when it’s done right, it sure sounds amazing. It can capture the heart and stir your very soul.

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5 Responses to “The intricacies of modern music production”

  1. Laura Says:

    What a great description of your work! It really is astounding when you realize what actually goes into making music. That is why I’m always telling you that you are one of the most patient people I know. I cringe to think about the things I’ve done when working together out of ignorance that made your job harder. Oops. But, the good thing is you help your artists and session players learn so they can streamline next time. And I can’t wait to hear Elika’s album—it is going to be amazing—just think of all that you 2 have put into it!

  2. jarome Says:

    Thanks Laura, I would never bring it up because I certainly don’t expect those I am working with to know any of this stuff, but this was a very bad case of things gone wrong due to ignorance…

    But the only thing the session players learned from this is how annoying it is to work with ‘non professional’ composers/musicians!

  3. Darrell Says:

    Well, I’m one “non-professional composer/musician” who attests to the truth of your words. As a “do-it-yourself-er” trying to produce my own stuff, I’ve discovered what a PAIN I AM to work with!

    But, armed with the confirmation of your words, and the admonitions of my bride and several other “fans”, I just made TWO decisions:

    1) I decided to go “minimalist” in my own self recordings. That is, add only bass and perhaps some limited percussion back-up. No more trying to make a “big sound” that I can’t reproduce well playing live anyway. AND (none the less),

    2) ALWAYS Record to a BEAT track.

    (you see, I can learn from you Jarome!)


    Darrell Rodgers
    Singer, Songwriter, Performer, Humorist

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