At the start of term 2, we were asked to recreate a John Lennon Song called Mother, in any genre we preferred. We couldn’t change the lyrical content, but we could change the instruments, tempo and time signature of the song.
Took a listen and I decided straight away, I would recreate this song as a faster more upbeat version, with over driven guitars, and a faster pace. I just wasn’t sure how to do what I intended on doing. So full feet in, I decided to get to work. The end result of this piece of music is an electronic punk/rock version of Mother.
First things first, I imported the song into Protools, as a reference, so I could listen to the track, make an accurate tempo map and decide where to place the notes in the midi version.
We needed to do a tempo map for the original song, which I had no clue you could do this in Protools. So something learned. As I said I didn’t even know what an actual tempo map looked like, and had great difficulty creating one. The time signature is 4/4 and I found out the tempo was 67 bpm throughout the whole song. I noticed the chord structure was in C but it had a minor kind of feel to the song, which would make it A minor key. The chord progression was only the chords of C G F.
With the Tempo/Meter Map and the Markers and Memory Locators selected. I could move on to the next step of creating a chord map.
Below is the final version, chord map, tempo map with the midi files in place, matching the original.
With the foundations being laid, I could move on recreating the song, with a punk/rock composition.
A lot of trial and error went into recreating this song.
Importingthe guitar samples
I recorded a short C chord onto an audio track with my acoustic guitar. I also recorded the F and the G but didn’t need those chords, as the C chord was sufficient.
Then consolidated it to file
I added an instrument track to the session, so I could import the chord into structure free
Now in structure free, I imported the C chord, so that it was in midi format, and could play the short guitar chord on the keyboard.
I made another sample of a long C guitar chord and added it to structure free the same way I did for the short C chord.
I added the bluecat patchwork plugin that allows VST’s to be inserted into Protools, from there I went for Waves GTR Amp, added some overdrive to give it that realistic guitar rock sound for the over driven sound of the guitar.
I wanted a fast tempo drum track and tried structure free, but with two other structure free tracks, I only had two left, as structure free only allows 4 different tracks per session. So I then tried slate trigger 2 only to find that you can’t use midi with that plugin. Because Boom didn’t work at college, I didn’t think it would work on my protools. But I gave it a go, and it worked perfectly.
For the kick drum I only wanted a tiny section that was at the start of one of the Boom presets The Big Tom 080 on the urban 1 kit
For the snare I took the sample from the beginning of the default preset on the urban 1 kit.
To add the Boom plugin to a protools session there is a certain procedure you have to take
- Add the Boom plugin to the selected instrument track.
- Make sure the midi node on Boom correlates with the midi output selector on the track. In the example below it would be Boom 3.
- Open the midi editor by pressing start + on a PC. Now your ready to insert the notes needed for the track.
Tempo of the song
I added the piano notes of the song to the session from the chord map I created. I first went from 67 bpm to 100 bpm but it didn’t quite fit to the grid and didn’t sound that great either. So I made a choice to go at a higher BPM, 120BPM, as if by magic the whole song fitted to the grid perfectly.
To change the tempo of the song, click on where I have circled on the red arrow. That would bring up…
to change the BPM.
Again at the start of a new session I added the John Lennon Mother track as a reference. I created the intro in short guitar midi notes as I thought it better suited the song rather than long notes, if they were long notes there would have been that space in between, the ADSR, the sustain of the notes would’ve been too long which would need filling, and I would’ve been compelled to add a lead guitar part. I kept them short and to the point, upbeat and colourful.
The verse was tricky to recreate, and took the longest, to decide what to do, but I think it’s simple but effective, and really grooves along with the drum track. The song itself has a weird structure to it. The way it drops to a G chord on the forth beat of the second bar.
As this was a formative assessment, Glenn took a listen to a previous version and gave me some advice as to dynamics on the track. So I changed the track slightly and added the chorus after the verses of the song. So when we do record the track the vocalist can belt his heart out on the choruses and then do a different vocal part for the verse.
The benefits of playing this version would be I can record the song with just a drummer, guitarist and vocalist in 4 sessions. It’s simple to play and doesn’t require anything out of the ordinary.
I will be recording the session in studio 2. I would need to mic up the drum kit, the guitar amp and a mic for the vocalist. The band would need time to practice the song so 4 sessions for rehearsals, just to be on the safe side and the band know their parts perfectly. If the rehearsals go well, we can get into the studio sooner to record.
So four weeks, rehearsals and recording would be enough time for me and the band to finish and then a week to complete the mix.
Mics needed: D112 Bass Drum – SM57 Snare – C1000’s O/H’s with the selector switch to cardioid so it only picks up whats in front of the mics.
2 Roommics to create ambience. Pair of CO2’s because of their super cardioid pattern, to capture the whole performance.
Mics Needed: 2 SM57’s 1 close miced and another SM57 at a distance to create ambience around the guitar, and get that fuller bodied over driven guitar sound.
Mics Needed: 1 Shure SM58
Week 1 – Session 1 + 2 – Rehearsals
Week 2 Session 3 + 4 – Rehearsals
Week 3 Session 5 + 6 – Recording
Week 4 Session 7 + 8 – Recording any overdubs
Week 5 Session 9 + 10 Mix
The song recorded and the midi version ideally wont be the same, but it will be a close match up and at the same tempo 120 bpm. Because I have used boom plugin as my drums in the midi track, the drums in the recorded version will be modified a little.