MUSIC – The Ears Perspective (Making Better Music)

Posted: January 26, 2012 in Composing, General, Mixing
Tags: , , ,

after a long time that I couldn’t write anything, I happy to say again, Hello everybody and I ‘m happy to be back.

in this time that I didn’t write here, I was busy with lectures and lessons which made me realize a very disturbing phenomenon.
a lot of the new students that I was teaching and lecturing to use their visual sense to make critical decision about their sound in the studio,
which for me is very disturbing, because the most simple logic says :

Question : which sense is used to percieve music ?

Answer : Hearing

Question : which organ is serving this sense ?

Answer : the EARS.

We percieve music through our ears.


I am a true believer that MUSIC is the art of the EARS, and every decision that we want to be the right decision in the music world,
should be made with the best judge which in this case are the ears.

I know we live in a very visual world, and with all the plug-ins out there we can in some cases lose ourselves with all these visual beauty of the new spectrum analyzers,and digital buttons, and mouse clicks, and extraordinarily brilliant meters.
but with all that beauty we have to keep in mind that the listener, don’t see all the visual parts as a musician, he can’t see the computer screen,
and plug-ins with all their glory, and not the spectrum analyzer and the meters too… all they see is the dream/thoughts/feelings that our music is translated to, by their ears only.

of course we are excluding here the clips in today music, they are a nother subject for another post… here we talk about PURE MUSIC.

after being presented with this kind of problem, I am hoping you already understand that there is a need for a new strategy, in order to make our music SOUND better.
and of course this strategy involve using our ears and not only our eyes when making musical/productionals decision.
I know this sounds a little hard now to use the ears intead of the eyes with all the distractions around us,  and of course even harder,
after many of us used our eyes for so long…

But there are good news also.

this doesn’t have to be a hard process,
it can be very fun (in some cases funny), relaxing, emotional, and enlightening process as well.
and by that I mean playing musical challenges or may be games as my young students prefer to call it.

white noise = signal that contains equal power of all the frequencies within the sound spectrum.
take for instance a white noise track, and let your friend play with an equalizer, while you have to guess which frequencies he touched (of course with your eyes closed).

next try different equalizers and choose which equalizer you found more musical to your ears, and what characteristics it have.

now try this two games on drums and vocals tracks.

another great (and funny) example is to use pitch changing on a vocal track and trying to guess how how many semitones was it pitched by.
my favorite challenge is to take a new VST or Hardware (can be effect or an instrument) and try it for a little while,
then let someone else play with it while I am closing your eyes or turning around, and I have to tell what have been changed, which buttons have been pushed.

of course there a lot more challenges that can be used to heightening your sense of hearing to new levels that you didn’t even know you could,
try to make your own challenges and see where it takes you, this is the way you will reach higher goals with the help of yourself.

one last thing when you try thise challenges :

don’t be a perfectionist yet, don’t try to make all your answers correct at first, let yourself make mistakes,
and then try to adjust yourself, for example : if your friend touched the 3Khz frequency and you said it is 4Khz then just take a mental note that you thought a 3Khz frequncy sounds higher then what it really is, that way you will remember next time when you need to have a high frequency in your vocals.
or may be you when you want to raise some high frequencies in guitars but the 4Khz and 5Khz is governed by vocals and back vocals, now you remember that 3Khz are also high enough for your ears, you can try it and see if it helps solving the problem, or making it worse, and draw new conclusions from that too.

you know what is the best part here ?

doing this exercise/challenge even once!! will make your sense of hearing sharper for a long time, and it will be risig from there even if you will not exercise again, becuase from then on, everytime you touch an equalizer you will be noticing these little differences, as PRO MUSICIAN SHOULD.

enjoy making music, and share this enjoyment with others,
good luck and I hope this little piece of information helps to achieve the results you are wishing for.

thank you for reading and I hope you will help my blog to remain active by subscribing.

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