Before I begin this particular post, I want to show what the usual process is for a project as it is being created.
Project Phase 1 – (yyyy.mm.dd-beat_name):
A beat has been made, and there are no concepts or anything yet; just a beat loop or an instrumental.
Project Phase 2 – (alpha):
The beat has been chosen for a possible song, with preliminary ideas for a concept, instrumental structured according to those ideas
Project Phase 3 – (beta):
Vocals have been recorded
Project Phase 4 – (release candidate):
All the vocals have been recorded; final mixing and mastering begins
Project Phase 5 – Final Release
Just to show you where we’re at, Bomb Squad is on Beta 14, which means that since the first vocals have been dropped, the song has gone through 13 subsequent mixes, including each mix where an added vocalist was recorded. At this point, only two have not recorded anything yet (Harmony Speaks and I) and one (Destiny Soprano) needs to re-record.
I made a few miscalculations and the lyrics I wrote down for Speaks’s part (now looking in retrospect) were definitely subpar. We ran through it yesterday, and we came down to the conclusion that what was originally planned wasn’t going to work.
The song is in Eb minor, and on the first bar (an Eb minor chord), the melody leads off with a Bb5. Speaks finds that hitting a B5 is pushing, so even a half step lower would sound slightly strained. The first half of the verse stays within a few notes below it, which is at the very higher end of Speaks’s range.
For those who are lost, the note C4 would be middle C. If you look at a piano, the C that’s in the direct middle of the piano is Middle C, or C4. From there, you would count up through the notes. C4, C#4, D4, D#4, etc. until you hit C5, then continue the trend upward. Going down would be the opposite. C4, B3, Bb3, A3, etc.
Speaks’s range, I guess, would be classified as a mezzosoprano, which would be from A3 to A5. That’s about right, since A5 would be a full step below the note that I guess would be the mezzo-soprano singer’s equivalent of what people call a “max” in lifting.
This was the first issue with the draft we tried yesterday. The second were the lyrics and rhythm; neither of which were to par. Since her part is pretty much expository, some of the words needed for it sound really unnatural for a singer. The flow also wasn’t natural and it was choppy because of the words needed. Substituting different words took away from the exposition. The exposition is needed because it would cover a plot hole.
Basically, regrouping was necessary.
My thought now is that Speaks’s part can’t be a singing part, since specific things about the situation need to be said. Since I’ve concluded that using some of those words needed sound very unnatural (or like some Broadway Action Musical of some sort, for example, “defuse the bomb”), she’ll need to speak what needs to said.
Since ADM and I are speaking in two different parts of the song, it would help if there was a break in the action for further exposition at a midway point between the introduction when we first bust in the door, and the other part recorded where we discuss defusing the bomb. It would be expo-verse-verse-expo-verse-verse-expo.
I have no problem with her speaking the part, but I do want Speaks to sing in some way.
I’m starting to think: what if she naturally did choir oohs or ahhs, in three part harmony in the back during the exposition? We strip the original instrumentation from those 8 bars, and she can do the backing in three part vocal harmony.
Right now this seems like a good idea. I’ll post results later on.